Get ready to indulge, Milwaukee. Beginning, Tuesday June 17, restaurateur Marc Bianchini opens his newest experience, a sleek and very stylish urban wine room ("It's not a wine bar," Bianchini told me) appropriately named "Indulge."
Located inside the former Nectar Coffee Shop space at 708 N. Milwaukee St., Indulge is 100 percent smoke free and 100 percent style. From the moment you enter, you know you're inside something special. From the hand-chiseled cream city brick, amazing front tasting table (that can be reserved for an evening or half an evening), plush counter height chairs, hand-welded heavy metal tables with imported granite tops, cherry wood acoustic panels, to the dark leather tiles on the walls - every component was hand-crafted and custom designed by Milwaukee artist Kendall Polster. Polster, working with Bianchini, designed the space to look and feel unlike anything Milwaukee has experienced. The five-month build-out didn't spare a detail, in fact, Indulge is still waiting for a custom mirror for its entrance. "It's a relaxing, comfortable, indulgent space," said Bianchini.
Indulge, of course, is about more than design. It's about wine and food. With more than 300 different wines, 60 available by the glass, Indulge features artisan cheeses, decadent chocolates, hand-made truffles and charcuterie such as prosciutto and pates. Bianchini proudly purchased an anniversary edition Sirman meat slicer from Italy. It's only the third of its kind to be shipped to the United States. It shaves the proscuitto with outstanding slicing precision.
"Indulge will be the perfect place to have a glass of wine before dinner or relax after a show," explained Bianchini.
Indulge seats 46 guests and can be reserved for private wine tastings, meetings, parties and other special occasions. It's cozy, classy, yet not too stuffy. In the summer (hopefully beginning in July, Bianachini says) Indulge also will use a back patio area that's just next to alley next to the Pfister on Wisconsin Ave. The patio will feature sofas and tables.
With a focus on wine, Indulge has a new, originally from California, sommelier /wine director on board. Jaclyn Stuart is in charge of the food and wine and will help guests through the complexities of wines and rare labels. "Choosing wine can be so confusing. But it doesn't have to be," said Stuart. "My approach to wine is easygoing. I like to help people navigate wine lists in a fun way, without being too challenging or too cluttered. Demystifying wine - helping people fully appreciate wines is a daily passion for me - it's what I love to do."
Stuart, according to a news release, is the only person in the state that is both a certified sommelier and is Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) - certified. She most recently worked as a sommelier and service coordinator at Kohler's American Club, where she was responsible for maintaining a 500+ bottle wine list and inventory and conducting regular wine seminars and training for resort guests and associates.
Indulge should be a perfect place for before or after dinner, but they'll also have creative Jazz in the Park pacs to rent, use and return. No work required. Just put down a deposit, rent the pack that's pre-packed with cheese, charcuterie, wine and chocolate and be on your way to Cathedral Square. Prices will range from $40-$60, with deposit. Other specials, Bianchini says include a new "Cru Club" (monthly wine club) that will feature discounts, newsletters, meetings, recipes and other exclusives. Stuart says that the Cru Club events will feature meet and greets with wine makers. And, here's a cool item for you ladies. Wednesday nights from 4 to 6 p.m., is for "Working Women." All women get a free glass of wine.
Bianchini, whose wife Marta owns and runs Cubanitas just north of Indulge, emphasizes Indulge as an experience in itself. "What Indulge and all the Bianchini restaurants are about is enjoying food, wine and each other. Enjoying Indulge doesn't require a refined palate or sophisticated gourmands, just an openness to experiencing some of life's greatest pleasures."
A life-long and passionate community leader and Milwaukeean, Jeff Sherman is a co-founder of OnMilwaukee.
He grew up in Wauwatosa and graduated from Marquette University, as a Warrior. He holds an MBA from Cardinal Stritch University, and is the founding president of Young Professionals of Milwaukee (YPM)/Fuel Milwaukee.
Early in his career, Sherman was one of youngest members of the Greater Milwaukee Committee, and currently is involved in numerous civic and community groups - including board positions at The Wisconsin Center District, Wisconsin Club and Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. He's honored to have been named to The Business Journal's "30 under 30" and Milwaukee Magazine's "35 under 35" lists.
He owns a condo in Downtown and lives in greater Milwaukee with his wife Stephanie, his son, Jake, and daughter Pierce. He's a political, music, sports and news junkie and thinks, for what it's worth, that all new movies should be released in theaters, on demand, online and on DVD simultaneously.
He also thinks you should read OnMilwaukee each and every day.