In August of 2020, we told you it was coming. But today's news makes it official: Heaven’s Table BBQ is almost ready for you at its brand new brick and mortar location in Uptown Crossing on Milwaukee's West Side.
The new restaurant, located at 5507 W. North Ave., will softly open to the public on Thursday, Dec. 23 (hours from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.) with an official opening on Wednesday, Dec. 29. Hours for Dec. 29 through Dec. 31 will be 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. (closed on Jan. 1).
In conjunction with the big move, the popular barbeque destination will also be wrapping up its time at Crossroads Collective, 2238 N. Farwell Ave. with its final service on Dec. 23.
Nearly a decade in the making
“It’s taken me almost ten years to get to the point where I am,” notes Alston, recalling his very first attempts at smoking meats. “My first grill didn’t even have any legs. It was a little Charbroil that I put up on bricks. I burned so much meat at first… and then I went to culinary school and I really started working on learning as much as I could.”
In many ways, the new restaurant is an homage to Alston's barbeque journey, as well as a manifestation of the vision he had when he began mastering the art of smoke years ago.
The interior of the new carry-out restaurant was designed in collaboration with 360, a local design and build firm which Alston credits with bringing his vision to life.
“360 did an amazing job," he says. "They literally took my idea, put it on paper and made it happen. And they gave really realistic timelines, so things got done when they were supposed to be done. I feel like they can make something out of any space they touch.”
Cases at the front of the shop will showcase the fresh, seasoned cuts of meats (prepared for smoking), while coolers along the side of the space will feature produce (including fruits and salads), milk, juice and (ultimately) take and bake items, including family style meals, all of which will be available for purchase.
“I wanted to design a carry-out only space," says Alston. "But I always wanted it to be designed so that people could see us at work from start to finish cutting and preparing meat to smoking it. The idea is to welcome everyone who comes through the door into my kitchen."
Alston says he also wanted to pay homage to his roots and those who piqued his interest in cooking.
To do so, he commissioned artist Stacey Williams-Ng to create two canvas murals which recreate photographs of Alston’s grandparents and his uncle. Once finished, those murals will hang on both the East and West walls in the shop.
“They taught me how to cook…how to barbecue,” he says. “My grandparents taught me how to make sides, and my uncle taught me how to smoke pork and chicken and soak beans. I wouldn't be here without them."
On the menu
On the menu, guests will find a variety of smoked meats including brisket, Alston’s creole-style sausage (custom made by Bunzel’s Meat Market), pulled pork, smoked chicken quarters, rib tips, turkey tips and full or half slabs of ribs. Sides will include macaroni and cheese, house baked beans, potato salad, coleslaw and dirty rice. Greens will also be available on weekends.
Both meats and sides can be purchased a la cart, with all meats available by the pound ($14-$30 per pound) ribs available by the half or full rack ($19/$30)and sides by the pint ($6-$8) or quart ($12-$16).
Signature barbeque platters made to feed a family (up to eight people) include The “Mosley” (named for municipal court judge Derek Mosley) featuring a choice of two meats (pork, sausage, chicken, rib tips) totalling 1.5 pounds, plus two pints of sides and bread (feeds three to four for $38). Guests can substitute brisket or ribs for one meat for +$5 or choose all brisket or ribs for +$10. The “Joe” (named for Joe Parajecki of Pritzlaff Meats) features 3.5 pounds of meat (choose three) plus three pints of sides and bread (feeds six to eight for $60). Guests can substitute brisket or ribs for one meat for +$5 or choose all brisket or ribs for +$20. Meanwhile, the “Alex” (named for Alex Obradovich of Firewise BBQ) features two full racks of ribs, three pints of sides and bread for $68 (feeds six to eight).
Dinners for one feature guests’ choice of meat (brisket, pork, sausage, chicken or rib tips) plus two sides ($18 for one meat; $21 for two; $25 for three). Meanwhile sandwiches (served with chips) will feature a choice of brisket ($14), pulled pork ($12), chicken ($12) or sausage ($12).
New items will include build-your-own bowls featuring dirty rice topped with guests’ choice of meat (brisket, pork, sausage or chicken for $14) or BBQ baskets featuring fries topped with guests’ choice of meat (brisket, pork, sausage or chicken) for $14.
Meanwhile, on weekends, guests will find regular specials. On Fridays, Heaven’s Table will offer dinners featuring smoked salmon and a side for $14; along with the “Sheriff Lucas” combo (rib tips, salmon and ribs plus baked beans and coleslaw) for $25 (feeds one). On Saturdays, guests can order smoked or jerk turkey legs topped with their choice of sides (greens, macaroni and cheese, alfredo, dirty rice) or sauces (chili sauce or BBQ) for $21.
There will also be an ever-changing selection of vegetarian and vegan options such as cauliflower burnt ends, cauliflower wings, smoked sweet potatoes and more. Guests can find daily offerings on the shop’s butcher paper specials board.
Moving forward, Heaven’s Table will also introduce a number of new specialties, including Jamaican dishes, which will debut on Fridays starting in mid-January. Alston says he’s also planning collaborations with neighbors including Vennture Brew Co., the neighborhood coffee house and micro-brewery located just down the street at 5519 W. North Ave.
Starting Jan. 3, Heaven’s Table will be open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. (or until sold out). The restaurant will be closed on New Year’s Day. Catering is also available.
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.