By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor Published Mar 09, 2021 at 4:01 PM Photography: Meat & Co.

Curious diners will get their first taste of Meat & Co.’s inventive deli-inspired fare at an upcoming pop-up March 18-20 at the beautiful new Dubbel Dutch boutique hotel, 817 N. Marshall St.

The pop-up, which will accommodate reservations for up to eight between 4 and 10 p.m., will feature a casual socially-distanced dining experience that includes a menu of Meat & Co’s deli-inspired sandwiches and sides along with beverage offerings from the Dubbel Dutch Tavern.

Meat & Co. logoX

Introducing Meat & Co.

Meat & Co. is a collaboration between Chef Ben Crevensten, former executive chef at Uncle Buck’s, and another (currently undisclosed) industry veteran who brings not only a passion for food, gleaned from both his Italian upbringing and experimentation in the kitchen, plus years of expertise in both front-of-house operations and beverage to the proverbial table.

Crevensten says the two bonded over casual conversations early on in the pandemic, which ultimately led to more serious dialogue about the potential for the launch of the Meat & Co. concept.

“The more we talked,” says Crevensten, “the more I realized that we had very similar interests in terms of our plans and aspirations for the future. Over the years, I’ve entertained a variety of offers for partnerships in this business, but this was the first time I felt comfortable pulling the trigger. It just felt right.”

The vision for Meat & Co., is a casual-but-refined concept that takes inspiration from iconic old world delis, marrying classic offerings with contemporary techniques and flavor profiles to create sandwiches, sides and specials that are both accessible and unexpected. In tandem, the brand’s aesthetic aims to capture the spirit of street-style art and hip-hop culture.

It’s a concept that not only captures both partners’ passion for hip hop music, but offers a nod to Crevensten’s early industry experience and his business partner’s experience growing up in an Italian family.

“My first job was working for Tony Mandella at Fattoni’s in Wauwatosa,” says Crevensten. “And looking back, it was an experience that really instilled me with the heart and drive I needed to pursue my career. Tony was a tough but valued mentor, and ultimately, he sculpted me into who I am as a chef.”

“It wasn’t necessarily where I saw my career going at the time,” he adds. “But as I look back I’ve realized that the experience not only influenced who I became, but the sort of food I want to create: well-executed, inventive fare that’s served in a fun, casual environment.”

Looking ahead

Crevensten says the pop-up will kick off a hopeful spring launch for the restaurant concept, which will launch first as a ghost kitchen, operating out of The Box, a one-of-a-kind events venue and commercial kitchen space at 311 E. Wisconsin Ave.

From there, he says, they plan to launch a food truck offering a pared-down mobile menu that will operate side by side with the ghost kitchen concept until it makes sense to move forward with a brick-and-mortar location.

Pop-up menu 

During the pop-up, Meat & Co. will roll out a pared-down menu of sandwiches, which will be served with a pickle and guests’ choice of sides, with pricing from $10.95 to $12.95. Guests will place their food orders through the CashDrop app, and entrees will be delivered to their table. Drinks (including beer, wine, cocktails and N/A options) will also be available for purchase from the Dubbel Dutch Tavern.

Sides will include twice-cooked roasted potatoes (cubed potatoes that have been boiled, then crisped) seasoned with guests’ choice of seasonings (tri-peppercorn and smoked salt, garlic butter, or flaming hot) and served with smoky tomato mayo. 

Other options will include cucumber and onion salad with sweet vinegar dressing; antipasto salad with giardiniera, Italian meats, olives, mozzarella, provolone and vinaigrette; burrata with crostini, basil oil and sea salt; housemade herbed latkes served with housemade herbed creme fraiche; or Zapp’s Voodoo Chips.

Meat & Co. housemade picklesX

Deli-inspired sandwiches will include options like pastrami and corned beef served on marble rye with onions and dijon mustard (served hot or cold); and muffaletta with mortadella, salami, smoked ham, capicola, olive tapenade, provolone, mozzarella, sandwich herb mix and dressing on house-made focaccia.

Not Your Average Lunchbox Sandwich (a creation inspired by the fried baloney sandwich from Turkey and the Wolf in New Orleans) will feature toasted thick-cut white bread, crisped mortadella, white cheddar, Duke’s mayo, Zapp’s Voodoo chips and a choice of house-made giardiniera (mild or hot) or coleslaw with dijon vinaigrette.

Meanwhile, the house Cuban will feature shaved roasted pork loin, smoked ham, dijon mustard, pickled mustard seed, jalapeno and pickle relish and gruyere.

Guests will also find vegetable-friendly options like a Southern style tomato sandwich on toasted bread, with Duke’s mayo, shaved red onion and fresh herbs (parsley, dill, chives); and the Veg. & Co., a breaded eggplant sandwich with kalamata olives, garlic confit, house pomodoro sauce, basil, and burrata or goat cheese. (The Veg. & Co. will also be available as a vegan option.)

Reserve your spot

The Meat & Co. pop-up will take place Thursday, March 18 through Saturday, March 20 from 4 to 10 p.m. Due to COVID-19 precautions, very limited seating is available.

Reservations can be made for groups of two to eight by texting the Dubbel Dutch at (414) 376-3439 or email them at hello@thedubbeldutch.com.

Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor

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.