By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor Published Sep 12, 2022 at 11:32 AM

Plans are heating up at Associated Bank River Center, which announced a new slate of food and beverage experiences for the renovated office tower just behind the Saint Kate Arts Hotel along Kilbourn Avenue and the Milwaukee River.

Thanks to a partnership with F Street Hospitality, the River Center will be adding a new riverfront bar, a collective marketplace of quick-service dining options and a coffee shop. In fact, the full slate of River Center dining options is targeted to open in spring 2023.

“We are ecstatic to partner with F Street Hospitality to launch these unique dining experiences at the River Center, a significant milestone in the redevelopment of the Associated Bank River Center complex,” said David Knight, senior vice president and director of real estate, Associated Bank. 

“Not only are we offering new options for workers returning to the office, but our work at the River Center is also helping to revitalize the use of a key piece of Milwaukee’s beautiful riverfront. We hope our guests – whether they be workers, residents or travelers visiting our great city – find moments of joy and excitement imbibing and dining at the new River Center in the epicenter of this great city.”

In collaboration with Associated Bank, F Street Hospitality – which operates Pizza Man, Noble Catering and Events and Timmers Resort – designed the concepts and menus and will be overseeing operations for the new restaurants and bar at the River Center. In addition, F Street Hospitality will offer special events and catering for businesses within the complex.

Vault Bar
Vault Bar (rendering by Rinka+)
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Riverfront bar

One of the showpieces of The River Center will be a new venue called “Vault” Bar.

This one-of-a-kind experience will feature floor-to-ceiling views of the Milwaukee River as well as outdoor seating overlooking the river. The bar will feature handcrafted cocktails as well as a curated upscale wine list. 

River Center market
River Center Market (rendering by Rinka+)
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Tacos, sandwiches and more

Food options at The River Center are slated to include three food and beverage based concepts: a taqueria, a sandwich shop and a coffee shop and market, all designed to provide easy, accessible options for River Center employees and Downtown guests.

The taqueria, Toro Tacos & Bowls, made its debut at Summerfest in 2022. The Asian-Latin inspired venue focuses on tacos and bowls made with fresh, healthy ingredients. Dishes include elote ramen bowls; cauliflower tacos with avocado, grilled corn, gochujang, pickled onions and pepitas; as well as Korean pork tacos with hoisin, cilantro lime crema, sesame and kimchi slaw.

Currently, Toro Tacos & Bowls is operating a lunchtime pop-up taco stand in the River Center’s atrium on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The second concept will be called On Rye and will provide a quick stop for handmade sandwiches and soups. Specialties will include carved-to-order pastrami and corned beef piled high on freshly baked bread.

Meanwhile, the KnockBox Coffee & Market will provide signature coffee and market items including Stone Creek Coffee, locally made pastries and breakfast sandwiches.

"F Street Hospitality is thrilled to work alongside Associated Bank to bring innovative, fresh food options to Milwaukee,” notes Executive Chef Adam Miller, who joined F Street Hospitality in 2021. “Between these four new concepts, there will be something for everyone and every occasion." 

Prior to his work at F Street, Miller spent six years as the executive chef at American Family Field and served as the corporate chef at Door County Brewing and Hacienda Brewing Company.

More about the River Center

The River Center houses The Pabst Theater, Saint Kate – The Arts Hotel, as well as a diverse mix of other businesses. In addition to its varied dining options, the newly renovated office tower also features a 100-plus person state-of-the-art conference facility, a tech lounge, health club and more. 

River Center MapX

As part of its renovations to the building, Associated Bank opened the Center for Professional Development in partnership with ALIVE Milwaukee in early 2022. The space aims to foster advancement toward a diverse and inclusive Milwaukee community, housing and supporting several nonprofit organizations and community initiatives. Associated Bank also announced its official partnership to become the official bank of the Pabst Theater Group, parent company to The Pabst Theater, in April 2022.

“Associated Bank has always been proud to be the ‘hometown’ bank, and we are present and committed to serving our customers’ communities," says Knight. "Never has that been more evident than in our work at the Associated Bank River Center, which represents an investment in Milwaukee and the future of the city."

More information about the River Center can be found at associatedbankrivercenter.com. Leasing opportunities can be explored by contacting the Colliers team at mike.wanezek@colliers.com or matt.fahey@colliers.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.