Today we got a peek into the new Marriott Downtown and its Millioke restaurant, which open tomorrow, a couple weeks earlier than expected.
The new hotel, on the corner of Milwaukee Street and Wisconsin Avenue, has 205 tastefully decorated guest rooms and a top floor Lakeview Suite with views out toward Lake Michigan, making it prime real estate during summer fireworks displays.
Though some of the rooms are occupied by Marriott staff in town to help launch the new property, which occupies new construction and parts of historic buildings along Wisconsin Avenue, the hotel is completely booked for its first night.
The first guest is due to arrive to a bit of fanfare at 10:30 a.m. and will be presented with a cream city brick from the 1864 building on the corner that is also home to Johnson Bank.
The hotel – designed by Kahler Slater – includes a ballroom/banquet space, some meeting rooms, a fitness center, a small but welcoming pool, a Starbucks (fronting Wisconsin Avenue), a Schwanke-Kasten jeweler (fronting Milwaukee Street) and the Millioke restaurant.
In the lobby is a library lined with books guests can read and upstairs is the Marriott Concierge Lounge with a business center, breakfast and views out over Wisconsin Avenue.
Millioke, which focuses on meat, cheese and beer, boasts a menu loaded with Wisconsin-made products, including charcuterie and sausage from Usinger's, Nueske's and Bolzano Meats and cheeses from Carr Valley, Widmer in Theresa, Crave Brothers, Sartori, Purple Door ice cream and pretzel rolls from Miller Bakery, among others.
The staff there – led by Chef Patrick Taylor and his Sous Brian Atkinson – has been busy at work over the last six months creating the menu and in the past few weeks, learning the dishes and getting comfortable in the kitchen.
The hotel more than doubles Marriott's capacity Downtown where there is also a Courtyard Marriott on 3rd and Michigan Streets. That hotel has 154 rooms and 15 suites.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.