By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Feb 21, 2014 at 11:02 AM

We’re all tired of the cold and snow. I mean, it says something when we all get over-the-rainbow happy about temperatures above freezing. Am I right?

So, I’d like to encourage all of you to turn your eyes away from the weather and refocus on the exciting things coming down the pike in the world of Milwaukee restaurants. After all, Milwaukee has a pretty exciting docket of new places that are slated to open in the next few months … just in time for the real spring weather to set in.

Here’s a few to watch:

Amilinda is the name of a new Walker’s Point restaurant concept being launched by Chef Gregory Léon and his partner Orry DeYoung. Léon, who moved to Milwaukee from San Francisco in 2012, has been hosting pop-up dinners in an effort to promote his new concept, which focuses on seasonal food influenced by Spain, Portugal and the American South. He also hopes the restaurant can support a cooking school that provides outreach and education to area families. The partners launched an IndieGoGo campaign for the restaurant this past week, and hope to raise $30,000 for the project before April 14.

Café India, a restaurant whose first location is in the Mobil plaza at 605 N. 1st St. in Walker’s Point, is planning a second location in Bay View, at 2201 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. Unlike the counter-service restaurant in Walker’s Point, the Bay View restaurant is expected to be a full-service restaurant with seating.

Chef’s Table, the brain child of the Milwaukee Club’s Executive Chef David Magnasco, is also expected to launch in April at 500 S. 3rd St. The restaurant/event space will be open to the public once a month for multi-course dinners.

Nat Davauer, owner of Craft & Vessel, 4417 N. Oakland Ave., inside the former Joe’s North Shore Barber Shop, says he hopes to open this upscale beer room by July 1. This spot is expected to offer a rotating selection of fresh craft beer, unique bottles and to-go growlers along with locally made food, snacks and gifts.

District 14 Brewery and Pub is expected to open sometime this spring at 2273 S. Howell Ave. Owner and homebrewer Matt McCulloch is behind this forthcoming brewpub in Bay View, which will feature a wide variety of German- and Belgian-inspired brews, in pints as well as growlers, along with basic food offerings like appetizers and pizza.

Engine Co. 3, a new breakfast and lunch spot proposed by La Merenda’s Peter Sandroni, is scheduled to open this summer in the former fire station at 217 W. National Ave. According to Sandroni, the menu is still being developed, but he expects it will be a good mix of sweet and savory, with some international influences.

If all goes well, Goodkind, scheduled to open in May, will bring another great restaurant to the Bay View area. The restaurant, which will be located in the former Mama DeMarinis space at at 2457 S. Wentworth Ave., is a collaboration between Burnhearts owners Jessica and William Seidel, bartender and bar manager Katie Rose, and chefs Paul Zerkel and Lisa Kirkpatrick. Seasonal menu items knit together with expertly crafted cocktail pairings will be the name of the game at this new hot spot, where late night dining will be the rule, rather than the exception.

Lazy Susan, a new Bay View restaurant to be located at 2376 S. Howell Ave., is also progressing. According to chef and owner A. J. Dixon, construction is progressing, but a date for opening hasn't been finalized. The concept will be a casual fine dining restaurant featuring shareable large and small plates. 

Morel, another culinary addition to the Walker’s Point scene is expected to open in the next few months at 430 S. 2nd St. Owner Jonathan Manyo is a Milwaukee native whose fine-dining experience comes primarily from his work on the West Coast.  Morel is expected to focus on local ingredients, and will grow some of its own herbs and vegetables.

North Shore Boulangerie, 4401 E. Oakland Ave., promises to bring a lively classic bakery to the quiet streets of Shorewood sometime in the next month or so. According to owner Gene Webb, the ovens have just been installed and the space should be ready for customers sometime in March. The boulangerie will offer pastries, coffee and breads, along with lighter lunch and early dinner fare.

Purple Door Ice Cream, which made the move to its very own production space at 138 W. Bruce St. in January, will reopen its scoop shop this March. According to owners Lauren and Steve Schultz, the new space will allow the team to increase its product selection and offer more novelty items for purchase.

Story Hill BKC (Bottle, Kitchen, Cup), a new concept birthed by Maxie’s co-owners Dan Sidner and Joe Muench, is also slated to open later this year. The coffee shop/restaurant and retail space will feature unique offerings all day long – from morning espresso and pastries, to lunchtime sandwiches, and full dinner service every evening.

You can keep your eye out at for more news on each of these spots as it develops. And, in the meantime, you should take the opportunity to check out these great spots that opened in the past month or two.

Café Bavaria, the newest restaurant concept from Milwaukee’s Lowlands Group, just opened last week at 7700 W. Harwood Ave. to the delight of German beer and cuisine fans in Wauwatosa. The casual restaurant features German-style sausages and pretzels, sandwiches, salads and entrees, along with weekend brunch.

Cafe Vocar, a restaurant serving Eastern European and American comfort foods, opened its doors at 932 E. Wright St. in Riverwest in late December. The restaurant, which is open Friday through Sunday for dinner, offers European favorites like goulash alongside comfort food standards.

Tochi, 2107 E. Capitol Dr., brought the ramen trend to Shorewood this January. Under the eye of former Anaba Tea Room chef Greg DesRosier, the restaurant offers miso, shoyu and mazeman style ramen along with small plates and rice dishes.

Wayward Kitchen opened quietly in early December. The restaurant, owned by Megan Mason and her husband, Chef Tyler Mason, settled in at 1407 S. 1st St., in the space formerly housing Mona's bar. The menu includes small plates, tacos and main dishes along with creative cocktails.  In summer, diners can expect a patio that seats about 80.

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

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.