I heard Mark Belling yesterday talking about the Milwaukee Public Market. He made a few decent suggestions (some that I've mentioned in the past), offered his criticisms and generally labeled the Downtown destination as an evolving public money project that, in his view, would function better as a privately run business.
Take Belling's thoughts for what they are worth, one individual's opinion. And, equally, take my thoughts the same way. I shop and dine at the Public Market at least twice a week, sometimes 3-4 times. I love it and, even though (as all new businesses do) it's going through growing pains and challenges, it is learning lessons, letting its vendors excel at what they are best at, building a solid Saturday outdoor market, tinkering with staffing and hopefully not micro-managing.
What matters at the Market are the feeling, the experience and the fun. It's a true destination (especially on weekends) and with coming soon extended hours (it will be open until 8 p.m. beginning Oct. 15) and some new staff, the Market will continue to grow and expand.
Back to Belling. He complained that when he did shop at the Milwaukee Public Market he had to pay at each individual location. That's a farmer's market, Mark. The Market isn't a grocery store. But, you can simply buy a Market Card, load it and it's easily swiped at all vendors.
On to some news. I've learned of four new things that are coming soon to the Public Market. All should expand upon its already many unique offerings.
Azmi Alaeddin, chef and owner of Aladdin -- Tastes of the East, is bringing back what some consider a bit of a Milwaukee tradition: his much missed Middle Eastern hot and cold lunch buffet. When Aladdin was located on Wells Street, its lunch buffet was a Milwaukee-favorite. A move to Wisconsin Avenue kind of messed with the good vibes (for many reasons, that space -- a former Taco Bell -- just didn't work for Aladdin). Now, however, Aladdin will build on its already great lunches by bringing back its buffet. Watch for it in the coming 2-3 weeks.
Ceriello Fine Foods will soon open a full deli in most of the space that Lakeside Meats vacated. This will be in addition to its current operation that now includes high end red meat (including amazing, grill ready burgers), poultry and of course all of their wonderful pastas, sauces, salads and other specialties.
Sheridan's Finest Wines & Generous Spirits is considering a wine bar that would serve tasting sample sizes and offer wine flights.
Finally, Soup & Stock Market has added quiche. It's a welcome addition since the Public Market as always lacked hot breakfast-type items.
Now, give me a gourmet popcorn vendor, someone making fresh omelets on the weekends and a true taqueria at El Rey and I'll be one happy Downtown boy.
A life-long and passionate community leader and Milwaukeean, Jeff Sherman is a co-founder of OnMilwaukee.
He grew up in Wauwatosa and graduated from Marquette University, as a Warrior. He holds an MBA from Cardinal Stritch University, and is the founding president of Young Professionals of Milwaukee (YPM)/Fuel Milwaukee.
Early in his career, Sherman was one of youngest members of the Greater Milwaukee Committee, and currently is involved in numerous civic and community groups - including board positions at The Wisconsin Center District, Wisconsin Club and Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. He's honored to have been named to The Business Journal's "30 under 30" and Milwaukee Magazine's "35 under 35" lists.
He owns a condo in Downtown and lives in greater Milwaukee with his wife Stephanie, his son, Jake, and daughter Pierce. He's a political, music, sports and news junkie and thinks, for what it's worth, that all new movies should be released in theaters, on demand, online and on DVD simultaneously.
He also thinks you should read OnMilwaukee each and every day.