Since opening in January of 2022, the 3rd Street Market Hall, 275 W. Wisconsin Ave., has seen an incredible evolution. What began with just five concepts has become a full-blown food destination with offerings ranging from burgers and frozen custard to doughnuts and coffee, ramen, tacos, salads and sandwiches, sushi, wings, hot dogs, arepas, pizza and pie.
In the past two weeks, the selection of great eats just got even more diverse. Four vendors have officially opened at the near-capacity food hall (just two hawker stalls remain open). And they bring four equally distinctive cuisines to the proverbial table.
Pho Spot MKE
Slightly hidden on the far Western side of the food hall, just past Kawa and Anytime Arepa, guests will find a brand new Vietnamese food vendor called Pho Spot MKE.
The concept is operated by husband-and-wife team Shimleng Lo and Mauly Her Lo who debuted their cooking as Oxtail Noodle House a ghost kitchen concept that debuted at the Common Cookhouse in Oak Creek last February.
The Lo’s will be offering a menu of Vietnamese standards including shareable offerings like fresh spring rolls and crispy eggrolls, along with their must-try signature beef pho featuring beef brisket, rare eye of round, beef meatballs, tendon, tripe and a choice of rib or oxtail.
Guests can also order up their specialty banh mi, the aptly named the dac biet, which translates as “special”. The sandwich is fully loaded with all the good stuff including pork belly, head cheese, Vietnamese ham, chicken liver pate, mayo, cilantro cucumber, jalapenos, pickled carrots and daikon and Maggi sauce.
“I’m extremely excited to open our first brick and mortar location in the heart of downtown,” says Shim. “The opportunity for us to be open year-round inside the food hall means more consistency in service hours and the opportunity to serve more guests. We’re looking forward to sharing our Vietnamese food with everyone. ”
In March, we brought you the news that Yummy Bowl would be bringing their delicious breakfast, lunch and dinner options to the food hall. And, beginning this week, guests have gotten their first taste of what truly are yummy bowls.
Owners Anita and Gary Gray, who first launched the concept at the Whitefish Bay Farmers Market last summer, are excited to share their food with a larger audience at their new vendor stall, which can be found alongside Dairyland and across from Kompali.
Inspired by the desire to provide home-style meals in the convenience of a bowl, the menu at Yummy Bowl includes a variety of options from breakfast offerings like cereal and French toast sticks to fulfilling lunch and dinner options like mac & cheese, chicken and waffles and Cajun dishes like Yumbalaya (see what they did there?). Specials will include options like YumboGumbo and shrimp with cheesy grits (available on weekends).
“Yummy Bowl is excited to serve a traditional breakfast every morning and Sunday brunch specials at the 3rd St. Market Hall,” says Anita Gray, noting that a guest could, ostensibly, begin their day with a YumMorning Bowl (scrambled eggs, meat and waffle or French toast sticks) and then end it with the Yummy special of the week.
Announced last fall, Criollo, the Latin concept showcasing traditional dishes from Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Jamaica, Brazil and Peru, has also recently introduced its deliciously global fare to regular food hall customers.
Located on the Eastern side of the food hall, just past the bar near the shuffleboard courts and Top Golf suites, the Criollo menu features items including traditional pork carnitas and Sonoran grilled chicken, which is seasoned with Mexican chilies, paprika, cumin and garlic, roasted and then finished on the grill.
A particular showpiece at Criollo is their pollo a la brasa, Peruvian rotisserie chicken which is made by covering a whole chicken in a flavorful wet rub composed of Peruvian chilies, cumin and garlic. The chicken is then cooked in a hornos brasero, a combination grill and rotisserie, which seals the wet rub into a crust on the exterior of the bird, resulting in a spectacularly juicy bird with a super-flavorful crispy crust on the exterior.
Both chicken dishes are available in whole, half or quarter portions along with sides like Puerto Rican rice, white rice, black beans, house salad, fries and fried plantains.
Criollo will also serve up daily specials including:
- Monday: sanchocho, a Dominican beef and vegetable stew; jerk chicken; and Cuban vaca frita, crispy shredded beef
- Tuesday: Cuban ropa vieja, shredded beef cooked in a tangy tomato and pepper based sauce; cochinita pibil, chicken cooked in orange achiote sauce; and chicken enchiladas
- Wednesday: Jamaican oxtail stew; chicken mole; and chicken flautas
- Thursday: pork mole; chicken tinga and Brazilian feijoada stew with beans, pork, sausage and beef
- Friday: Brazilian muqueca, a seafood stew made with shrimp, fish, coconut milk, peppers and palm oil, an ingredient which gives the stew its bright orange color, plus a hint of anise flavor; jambalaya; and a fish fry
Smokin’ Jack’s BBQ
Perhaps one of the most requested cuisines in the food hall has been barbeque. And that request has been fulfilled with the addition of Smokin’ Jack’s BBQ, a concept located next to Criollo on the East Side of the food hall near the shuffleboard courts.
If the concept name sounds familiar, it’s because operator Jack Holt first debuted the concept as a pop-up in 2020 and since honing his knowledge of smoking techniques and developing his own distinctive spice blends and housemade sauces, which include Kansas, Alabama white and Texas styles.
Guests will find offerings including smoked wings, BBQ nachos, and sandwiches including the Smokin’ Jack’s cheesesteak featuring prime rib, brisket, provolone, onions, peppers and mushrooms on a hoagie roll.
Guests can also choose from more traditional one, two or three-meat combos featuring brisket, chicken, pork or rib tips served with sides like potato salad, smoked beans, coleslaw or cornbread. Mac & cheese is also available for a slight upcharge. Brisket, pulled pork and smoked chicken are also available for purchase by the pound
Specialty items and rotating features like the BBQ Bowl allow guests to pick a protein and top it with their choice of bbq rice, cheese, sour cream, pickled jalapenos, bbq sauce, peppers, lettuce, or onions.
All four vendors will be open at the food hall seven days a week.
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.