By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor Published Jun 29, 2020 at 3:30 PM

Despite the hardship of the COVID-19 pandemic, creativity continues to blossom in the food and beverage industry, bringing new concepts throughout the city and to places like the East Side's Crossroads Collective, 2238 N. Farwell Ave.

Earlier this month, we announced that Thum was bringing the fresh flavors of Lao cuisine to the popular food hall. And, beginning Wednesday, July 1, there will be even more new things to try.

That’s because husband and wife team, Ryan Hoffman and Patrice Gentile are launching a brand new concept called Mina, which will offer European-style plates steeped in the Northern Italian aperitivo tradition out of the vendor stall that formerly held Raw Bar.

Hoffman, former sous chef at Balzac Wine Bar, launched the Mina concept with his wife Patrice in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, offering creative European inspired fare to friends and family for pickup out of their home.

The idea met with an overwhelmingly positive response, giving the couple confidence that they could pursue the concept in a bigger way.

Drawing inspiration from Patrice’s classic Italian American upbringing and Hoffman’s travel and creativity, Mina serves up classic flavors in an approachable way, with rotating small plates that include a variety of topped toasts, chickpea fritters with pesto, steamed clams with chorizo and cider, shaved fennel salad with orange and parsley, melon and burrata, lamb ragu and polenta and more.

The concept, the couple says, is about bringing people together over good food and helping them find a moment of peace, community and enjoyment.

"Good food doesn’t have to be pretentious or expensive," notes Hoffman, "And you shouldn’t have to wait until your birthday or anniversary to have a delicious meal. We’re making simple food that you can share, talk over, and enjoy. Nothing helps rebalance you like a good meal with good people."

Dishes can be enjoyed for curbside pick-up, in the socially distanced Crossroads Collective dining hall or on their well appointed outdoor patio.

"We’re excited to welcome Mina to Crossroads," noted Crossroads owner Tim Gokhman, Director of New Land Enterprises. "Ryan and Patrice have turned a tough situation into an exciting one, and we’re happy we can offer a platform for them to take their success to the next level."

Beginning July 1, Mina is open for dine-in and curbside pick-up Monday through Saturday between 11 a.m. and 9 p.m. Curbside orders can be placed online and picked up outside the building on Ivanhoe.

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.