If you’ve recently passed the building at 1100 S 1st St., you may have noticed some changes to the facade of the former Don’s Diner, which has undergone a number of mysterious cosmetic adjustments (more on that later).
The good news is that the former diner, which transformed into Don's Grocery & Liquor in March, is here to stay. Thanks to a bit of rearranging, the community grocer has found a new home in what was once the Don’s Diner private dining room.
Inside the grocer, you’ll find walls covered in vintage sports magazine covers, a restored 1951-vintage jukebox stocked with a full playlist of tunes, and shelves stocked with beer, liquor, snacks and household supplies. They will also continue to offer curbside pick-up and delivery of burgers, milkshakes, cinnamon sugar doughnuts and Friday night fish fry. And, in the days ahead, guests will also see improvements to the grocer’s outside seating options.
But, there’s more good news. Beginning Thursday July 2, there will also be a brand new way to indulge in a liberal dose of retro-inspired relaxation.
Super secret news
If you’ve been worn down by the COVID-19 pandemic – and all the stressors that have come with it – your soul might be in need of some minor repairs. It could be that your antenna is no longer receiving the right signals. Your picture tube may have gone grey. Or maybe your capacitor has simply lost its capacity.
Welcome to Don’s TV & Repair shop, a vintage speakeasy that’s equipped with all the replacement parts you need to get your internal diode up and running again.
Maybe it’s an over-the-top boozy shake or a delicious Naughty Angel burger. Or maybe it’s a classic cocktail. You’ll find it all inside this hidden gem of a spot, which sports an old school feel thanks to dim red lighting, vintage electronics and plenty of nods to retro-brands.
Take a seat in one of the socially distanced, privately-walled booths and order up a Zenith, RCA or Admiral cocktail. Or indulge in an Atari, Nintendo or Sega Genesis Shake. No matter what you choose, it’s sure to deliver a burst of welcome normalcy for your weary spirit.
The capacity at Don’s TV & Repair Shop is very limited, so service appointments are highly recommended. In addition, you should keep in mind that groups are limited to parties of four or less.
To book your appointment, visit donsmke.com/tvrepair. Upon arrival, be sure to heed the super-secret entry requirements: Enter Don's Grocery & Liquor through the white 7up Door and ask the grocer on duty for an "ice cold 7-up."
Beginning July 2, Don's TV & Repairs Servicing hours are Thursday through Saturday from 5 p.m. to midnight.
Meanwhile, Don's Grocery & Liquor is open Sunday through Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to midnight.
Lori Fredrich (Lo) is an eater, writer, wonderer, bon vivante, traveler, cook, gardener and girlwonder. Born and raised in the Milwaukee area, she has tried to leave many times, but seems to be drawn to this quirky city that smells of beer and alewives.
Some might say that she is a little obsessed with food. Lo would say she is A LOT obsessed with food. After all, she has been cooking, eating and enjoying food for decades and has no plans to retire anytime soon.
Lo's recipes and writing have been featured in a variety of publications including GO: Airtran Inflight Magazine, Cheese Connoisseur, Cooking Light, Edible Milwaukee, Milwaukee Magazine and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, as well as on the blog Go Bold with Butter, the web site Wisconsin Cheese Talk, and in the quarterly online magazine Grate. Pair. Share.