By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Aug 25, 2023 at 11:15 AM

Heirloom will officially opens its doors to the public on Saturday, Aug. 26 at 2378 S. Howell Ave. in Bay View. 

For food lovers in Milwaukee, the opening offers another worthy choice among the many restaurants that have opened, survived and shaped the city's dining landscape over the past two decades. But for owners Jess and Pete Ignatiev, the brick-and-mortar restaurant represents the fruition of a dream deferred. 

A journey that began in 2018 as the couple searched for a space the open a restaurant took a variety of wild turns, resulting in a successful mobile food operation, the creation of a loyal fan base and the establishment of a business that not only fed its customers, but the community surrounding it.

From day one, the Heirloom food truck was a bit different, and it wasn’t just their mission to serve local, seasonal fare while uplifting other local businesses. It was the chef-driven food they offered their guests, which went well beyond the usual with offerings like mussels, braised short ribs and a menu that was inclusive of both vegetarian and gluten-free diners.

And guests who visit the brick-and-mortar version of Heirloom will find more of the same... and then some.

The bar and front dining area at Heirloom
The bar and front dining area at Heirloom

That includes a full bar offering wine, beer and creative cocktails like a brown butter-washed bourbon old fashioned ($15), the remarkable CRG (cardamom-infused gin, grapefruit, rosemary, bitters, egg whites and sparkling, $15); and the cleverly named Reading Rainbow with basil-infused vodka, rainbow sorbet and prosecco ($15).

More to love

The menu at Heirloom pays homage to its food truck days with dishes like mussels steamed in white wine, cream and herbs ($15); panko breaded royal eggs ($10); and creamy, scratch-made burrata stretched from Crave Brothers mozzarella curd paired with a fresh seasonal heirloom tomato and arugula salad and grilled baguette ($15).

Seasonal burrataX

But it also stretches the boundaries with dishes like tender braised octopus that's been charred on the grill and served alongside blistered tomatoes, scallions, roasted red pepper puree and scallion oil ($16).

Braised octopusX

The sandwiches for which the truck became known are available, including the Heirloom Burger; the fried chicken and the tempeh reuben ($16 each; served with fries).  And yes, there are braised beef short ribs served with jalapeno masa cake, black bean and pepper slaw, chimichurri and lime crema ($26) or – in a new way – on top of housemade cavatappi macaroni and cheese with onion bbq sauce, chili crema and toasted bread crumbs ($22).

Guests will also find the popular grilled shrimp and polenta dish that was offered as a sell-out special on the truck.  And the roasted jalapeno and cheddar polenta tastes even better presented in a ceramic bowl with sauteed spinach, bacon, roasted red pepper butter sauce and pesto ($24).

Shrimp and polentaX

Guests will also find items like beautifully prepared porcini dusted bavette steak topped with Carr Valley blue cheese and caramelized cipollini onions and served with roasted garlic and rosemary potatoes, grilled asparagus ($38).

Bavette steakX

As for desserts, the selection changes daily and might include apple bourbon bread pudding served with ice cream, an inventive slice of cheesecake or a ramekin filled with some of the best amaretto creme brulee you've never had ($11).

Amaretto creme bruleeX

Hours and reservations

Guests are invited to make reservations online for dinner service at the new restaurant beginning today.

Opening weekend hours will be Saturday and Sunday from 4 to 10 p.m. with hours the following week Wednesday through Friday from 4 to 10 p.m. (closed Monday and Tuesday).

Beginning Saturday, Sept. 2, Heirloom will be open Wednesday through Friday from 4 to 10 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.  Heirloom will be closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Reservations will not be accepted for weekend lunch service.

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.