By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Aug 14, 2023 at 7:02 PM

It’s been a helluva a ride for Heirloom food truck owners Jess and Pete Ignatiev, who’ve been hard at work cleaning, painting, tiling, wallpapering and hiring staff in preparation to open their first brick-and-mortar restaurant at 2378 S. Howell Ave. in Bay View.

But, despite set-backs – including the total loss of their food truck in July – they have almost reached the finish line. In fact, the couple announced today that they will be hosting their grand opening on Saturday, Aug. 26.

The opening was made possible, in great part, by the local community. Following the launch of a GoFundMe campaign to assist the Ignatievs in mitigating their losses, they found additional support from businesses like 1840 Brewing, who announced they would be holding a Food Truck Rally at the brewery, 342 E. Ward St., on Sunday, Aug. 20 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. During the event, a percentage of sales from food truck orders and beer will be donated to help Heirloom get back on their feet. [Get more information on that upcoming event here].

Jess and Peter Ignatiev
Jess and Peter Ignatiev

What to expect

As for the restaurant, guests will find a transformed space with a fun eclectic look and feel that incorporates the color palette found on their Heirloom food truck… “with a few more colors thrown in for good measure,” says Jess Ignatiev.

The couple will also operate the restaurant using the same philosophy upon which they built their food truck business: using seasonal ingredients and striving to support local farms – including Milwaukee Microgreens, Baby Mama Botanicals and Hundred Acre – and businesses that align with their values.

But, most of all, the Ignatievs aspire to creating a restaurant where everyone feels welcome.

“We want it to be fun…” says Jess. “A happy place where people can just sit down, relax and have a memorable experience.”

On the menu

As for the menu, Pete Ignatiev says it will contain both dishes that the food truck has served in the past as well as more formal dishes and complex items which they weren’t able to pull off in a mobile setting.

“We’ll be the sort of place where people can sit down and enjoy a fried chicken sandwich or a po’boy,” says Pete Ignatiev. “But it’s also a place where they can come and enjoy a more intimate dining experience with wine or craft cocktails.”

Handmade burrata
The seasonal hand-stretched burrata isn't going anywhere.

Mainstays will include sandwiches, hand-stretched burrata and royal eggs. But there will also be indulgent housemade macaroni and cheese featuring variations that change with the seasons.

Pete says he’ll also introduce at least one steak entree, along with fish and seafood dishes. 

Examples include pan-seared Arctic Char with potato crab hash and roasted red pepper butter sauce; and cioppino with seared scallops, shrimp, mussels, whitefish and spicy Italian seafood broth served with polenta.

The couple will also continue to accommodate a variety of diners with vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free dishes, as well as a bar that serves up both cocktails and zero-proof options.

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.