By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Jul 24, 2023 at 7:02 PM

The final details were coming together nicely for Heirloom food truck owners Jess and Pete Ignatiev, who’ve been hard at work cleaning, painting, tiling, wall-papering and hiring staff in preparation to open their first brick-and-mortar restaurant at 2378 S. Howell Ave.

But their plans came to a screeching halt early Saturday morning when they discovered that an early morning fire had totaled their food truck, which was parked just outside the forthcoming Bay View restaurant.

No one was injured in the fire and the restaurant and nearby residences were also spared damage.  Nonetheless, the fire destroyed not only the truck but also pots, pans, equipment and a stockpile of carry-out containers.

Although a final report is still pending, Jess Ignatiev says the inspector noted that the cause of the fire appeared to be electrical, potentially associated with the failure of one of the reach-in coolers on the truck.

“We’re shocked and devastated,” she says. “The truck has been our livelihood for the past three years, and it was our sole source of income to pay for the renovations needed at the restaurant.”

Fortunately, Ignatiev says, they’ve been surrounded by offers of support from both their loyal customer base and the Bay View community.

“The support we’ve received from the community has been overwhelming,” she says. “And it has really inspired us to pivot our operations and keep pushing forward to get the restaurant up and running as quickly as we can.”

Heirloom restaurantX

Although the Ignatievs cannot yet welcome guests inside the restaurant, they will be offering guests the opportunity to order food online for pick-up at their new restaurant location. Outdoor seating on the restaurant’s parklet will be available for a limited number of guests who would like to enjoy their food onsite.  

Pre-orders can be placed online for pick-up at chosen times on the follow dates:

  • Wednesday, July 26 from 5 to 9 p.m.
  • Thursday, July 27 from 5 to 9 p.m.
  • Friday, July 28 from 5 to 9 p.m.
  • Saturday, July 29 from 5 to 9 p.m.

The community is also invited to contribute to a GoFundMe campaign to assist the Ignatievs in mitigating their losses and moving forward with their restaurant renovations following the loss of their truck. 

Follow @Heirloom.MKE on Instagram for weekly schedules and updates.

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.