By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Jan 09, 2023 at 8:31 AM

It’s been nearly nine years since Lazy Susan opened its doors at 2378 S. Howell Ave. The opening gave voice to the cooking of owner and chef A.J. Dixon. It also established a neighborhood restaurant in Bay View that would become known not only for its food and atmosphere, but its accommodations for a wide swath of diners, including vegan and gluten-free patrons.

But, after three years of pandemic challenges and numerous months of serious contemplation, Dixon says she has made the decision to close her restaurant. The final day of service will be held on Saturday, April 8, 2023, an auspicious day which marks the restaurant’s nine-year anniversary. 

That gives loyal guests an ample amount of time to say their goodbyes and enjoy a few more meals at the beloved neighborhood restaurant. And yes, it allows time for the many who haven’t made it there to pay a visit and see what the fuss was all about.

That includes this week’s “Dinner for Two,” a weekly (gluten-free) Wednesday evening offering available for $30 per person. The menu for this week includes four courses showcasing squash and chickpea soup; roasted carrots with Bulgarian sheeps’ milk cheese, blood oranges and pomegranate molasses; lamb stuffed cabbage rolls with tomato sauce; and honey ricotta cake for dessert.

Shrimp and grits
Popular dishes at Lazy Susan have included shrimp and grits.

A difficult decision

Dixon says her goal has always been to make it at least 10 years. But she says the economic impacts of the pandemic, the rising cost of goods and the need to preserve her own mental health have all fueled her decision to close the restaurant.

“When we reopened after the pandemic shut-down,” she says, “We were so relieved. And we were excited to keep pressing forward. But, the challenges for restaurants just kept on coming. Rising prices are impacting us as they never have before.

"I can see it when I look at the number of guests we have in seats here at the restaurant, and it’s notable when your regulars who used to come once a week can only afford to come every couple of weeks now. In the end, it’s simply not sustainable for me to continue on this way.”

AJ Dixon
Chef and Owner AJ Dixon

Dixon says she’s grateful for many things: most of all her landlord, who has been supportive throughout her tenure in the building and her staff, which has assisted her in building the restaurant she wanted.

“This is not an easy decision to make, but I know it’s what I have to do for my own mental health,” says Dixon. “My goal is to exit gracefully, get my finances in order and ensure that my staff can move forward as well.”

But – even after April has come and gone – Dixon says it’s not the last that the city will see of her.

“I’m not done in this industry, but I am going to take some time away. Mental health is important, and owning a business is taxing. I’m going to kayak and I’m going to fish. I’m going to spend time with my kids, my dad, my family… and my friends. And then we’ll see.”

Ultimately, Lazy Susan will be available for sale as a turn-key restaurant (complete with furnishings and kitchen equipment). Interested parties are encouraged to reach out to AJ Dixon by email at

For more on Lazy Susan and Chef AJ Dixon, read on.

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.