By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Jul 07, 2020 at 8:45 AM

Thiensville-based Fiddleheads, announced Tuesday that it will open a new cafe by Dec. 1 in the lobby of the BMO Tower Downtown at 790 N. Water St.

The cafe will be located in the lobby facing the Water Street entrance of the building, developed by Irgens Partners. It will be in a space that connects the building with the adjacent office tower at 770 N. Water St.

It's the first Downtown Milwaukee location for the coffee roaster and local cafe chain, which was founded in 1996. In February Fiddleheads announced it would open a cafe on Oakland Avenue in Shorewood.

"We’ve been looking for the right opportunity in downtown Milwaukee for quite some time, but this opportunity found us, thanks to the folks at Irgens," said Ray Marcy, one of Fiddleheads’ owners.

"Since our first meeting with Mark Irgens, we believed it had the potential for a great partnership. First, the Tower redefines Class A space in Milwaukee. Then, our premium offerings as a café, match tenants like BMO, Michael Best, and others that we naturally serve in our other cafés. Lastly, the ground floor, retail space, open to the public checked all the boxes we were looking for in a downtown location. It’s truly extraordinary."

According to Marcy, the coronavirus outbreak actually accelerated the idea of the cafe.

"Leadership reached out to us just five weeks ago to discuss this opportunity, and we worked continuously with their executive team, to reach this long-term commitment.

"In our discussions with Irgens we quickly found we shared; common values, a long-term approach to business, sound financial resources, and a mutual ‘insistence on success.' The COVID world has created temporary uncertainty, but the certainty in our relationship with Irgens, made the decision easy and obvious for us. For Fiddleheads, we expect our BMO Tower café to be our crown jewel."

In addition to coffee, Fiddleheads cafes serve bakery items and full breakfast and lunch menus.

"Ray Marcy and his team at Fiddleheads are bringing their first-class experience downtown and this enhances the city as well as the project," said developer Mark F. Irgens.

"The commons between BMO Tower and the adjacent 770 building is planned to have a unique vibrancy. Fiddleheads is the perfect partner to help achieve this vibrancy."

Construction on the cafe is expected to begin soon and Fiddleheads says it expects to hire 20 people to work at the cafe.

The space is being designed by Wauwatosa-based Galbraith Carnahan Architects.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.