Walk through the west entrance of the Marcus Pavilion at the Harry and Rose Samson Jewish Community Center (JCC), 6255 N. Santa Monica Blvd. in Whitefish Bay, and it’s not difficult to smell your way directly to Hannah’s Kitchen at CafA B Data, a community-driven cafe which specializes in kosher fare.
It’s also not difficult to find something delicious to eat, thanks to a fairly wide-ranging menu that features housemade soups, deli-style sandwiches and salads to burgers, falafel, pitas stuffed with chicken shawarma and specials.
Behind the cafe is Hannah Sattler, an entrepreneur who built a second career nourishing people around her and helping them to celebrate occasions from weddings and birthdays to Bar/Bat Mitzvahs and corporate milestones.
She began her catering business in 2015, operating from a number of commercial kitchens over the years. In August of 2021, she moved into a space in the lower level of the JCC.
What started as a simple rental agreement soon became a partnership as she was asked to provide food for the Snack Shack at the Hy & Richard Smith Water Park on the JCC campus. When that project met with success, leadership approached her to take over operations at the CafA B Data (named for its funding from A.B. Data), a public-facing cafe which had been vacant for about two years.
The newly imagined cafe launched in January of 2023 with a small menu of deli sandwiches and soup. But it’s since been expanded to include a wider range of options from grilled chicken sandwiches and burgers to mezze platters (pita, falafel, kibbeh, hummus, tahini, olives and pickle) to stuffed pitas (chicken shawarma, portobello mushrooms, kafta or falafel) served with hummus or tahini and Israeli salad.
Comforting chicken soup is a staple, made in house with flavorful, long-simmering chicken bone broth and finished with guests’ choice of matzah balls, kreplach or gluten-free matzah balls ($5/$7). But guests can also order the soup of the day, which varies from split pea and minestrone to potato squash.
Customers will find favorite sandwiches like The Reubecca (named for Hannah’s oldest daughter) featuring freshly sliced corned beef piled on toasted housemade rye bread and topped with house coleslaw and Russian dressing ($15); or relish in the textures of the Moroccan Salad composed of mixed greens, shredded carrots, golden raisins, crispy fried chickpeas and pickled red onions with a Moroccan vinaigrette ($13.50).
But they can also indulge in offerings like Shawarma Fries: hot crisp battered French fries topped with flavorful chicken shawarma fresh, Israeli salad (petitely diced tomato, cucumber and onion dressed with lemon and olive oil), BBQ sauce and tahini ($13.50).
Weekly specials have included offerings like beef chili; specialty sandwiches like falafel burgers, chicken schnitzel sandwiches; wings and more. Specials this week (starting Nov. 13) will include Chinese beef and broccoli, egg drop soup and eggrolls.
On Mondays, guests will find rarities like housemade knishes, a comforting Ashkenazi Jewish street food featuring crisp pastry filled with potatoes and other items.
Hannah’s offers theirs filled with potatoes and caramelized onions, plus weekly specials like potato, sweet potato and beef; potato, roasted garlic and sundried tomato; potato stuffed pepper and potato mushroom herb. Knishes are $5 (vegetable) or $6 (meat fillings).
Speaking of delicious potatoes, Sattler says that housemade latkes will also be added as a regular item on the menu at least through Hannukah.
“This is an amazing location because it’s a place where people can naturally gather,” says Sattler. “Moms can bring their children here for lunch. Kids can grab snacks after school and families can come here and eat dinner together.”
Not only is there plenty of space for friends and family to gather, but a public play space geared toward children ages 3 to 8 is located just behind one of the cafe seating areas, allowing moms and caregivers to relax while their children burn off the calories from their lunch or dinner.
With 24 hours’ notice, guests are also welcome to order larger scale items from the cafe’s take-out menu to enjoy at home. Offerings include items like quarts of chicken soup; salads, hummus and chopped liver by the pound; main dishes like herb roasted chicken, meatloaf, teriyaki salmon and braised brisket; sides like mashed potatoes, mushroom and onion farfel, roasted vegetables and kugels; par-baked pizzas; challah loaves and rolls; rye bread and desserts including babkas, cookies, bars and cakes.
A Thanksgiving menu is also available for pre-order with offerings like biscuits, sliced roasted turkey, gravy, cranberry relish, challah stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole and desserts including pumpkin and pecan pie.
While you're there, pick up a delicious sugar cookie. They are just $4 each and all proceeds are donated to the Milwaukee Jewish Federation's Israel Emergency Fund.
Hannah’s Kitchen at CafA B Data is open Monday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. (offering the cafe’s full menu, plus breakfast offerings). Hannah's Kitchen is also available for catering all types of events, including events that require kosher fare.
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.