Last fall we shared the news that four new concepts were coming to the Associate Bank River Center, including a stunning new riverfront bar. And, as of this week, guests can officially enjoy them all.
Formerly known as the Milwaukee Center, the newly renovated office tower is conveniently located just behind the Saint Kate Arts Hotel along Kilbourn Avenue and the Milwaukee River at 111 E. Kilbourn Ave.
Nestled in the heart of Downtown, the building’s assets include beautiful placement along the Riverwalk, along with easy access to entertainment venues including the Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Stackner Cabaret and Pabst Theater.
The venues are made possible through a collaboration with the newly reimagined 41Fork Hospitality Management, which operates Noble Catering, Pizza Man, Timmer's Resort and the Gülden Room at the Dubbel Dutch Hotel.
The showpiece of the development is a stunning new riverfront bar with an apt name: Vault. Located on the second floor of the building, the bar boasts a sleek modern design showcasing a palette of black and white with pops of tawny gold.
Floor-to-ceiling windows surround the bar, which is capped off by a glass atrium. The surrounding area features soft seating and high-top tables with a view of the river all year round.
Of course, the main attraction is Vault’s three-season terrace which offers gorgeous views of Downtown landmarks including Usinger’s and Fiserv Forum.
The semi-covered patio, which accommodates groups both large and small, features a combination of soft seating and tables where guests can enjoy drinks and snacks. It’s the perfect spot for a post-work happy hour, a friendly gathering or drinks and bites before a show.
The menu at Vault features hand-crafted cocktails made with housemade syrups and fresh fruit juices. Guests can choose from a variety of classic cocktails, along with signature quaffs like the Paper Plane, Espresso Martini, Corpse Reviver or even zero-proof options like the Blackberry Thyme Mule (all pictured below).
"We really designed the menu to service folks who'd like to grab a bite before the theater, but who might not have time for dinner," notes 41Fork Executive Chef Adam Miller. "For now, the focus is on raw bar items and snacks. But we'll definitely be adding to the menu as time moves on."
Menu items include freshly shucked oysters with lemon, fresh horseradish, mignonette ($4.50 each or six for $23) or “Dirty Oysters” served with caviar, shallot, crème fraîche (six for $30).
Ceviche, ahi tuna and shrimp cocktail are also available along with bites like seasonal burrata salad, warm pimiento cheese and crackers and cheese and charcuterie. Meanwhile, macarons and seasonal panna cotta will assuage your sweet tooth.
Vault is open Wednesday and Thursday from 4 to 8 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 4 to 10 p.m.
River Center Market
Three fast-casual eateries have been added to the ground floor of the building in a space dubbed the River Center Market. A large seating accompanies concepts include KnockBox Coffee & Market, Toro Tacos & Bowls, and On Rye. All three concepts are open to the public with offerings for breakfast and lunch.
"We designed the concepts here to serve the Downtown working class crowd for lunch," says Miller. "It's mostly simple fare; but we wanted to give people variety, along with some quick healthier options."
KnockBox Coffee & Market
KnockBox, named for the device used to store spent espresso grounds, offers a full menu of espresso and coffee drinks using local Stone Creek Coffee. Additional offerings include Rishi tea, smoothies and a collection of baked goods.
Additions like "egg in a basket"-style breakfast sandwiches and other convenient grab-and-go items will be added in the coming weeks. KnockBox is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Just around the corner from KnockBox, you’ll find a cleverly named sandwich spot that serves up signature house corned beef and pastrami sandwiches.
Additional sandwiches include a turkey pimiento club, a “beet pastrami” with arugula, tomato, pickled onions and mustard; and a classic roast beef sandwich on a Sheboygan hard roll. All sandwiches are priced in the $8-$10 range.
Salads and housemade seasonal soups are also available. On Rye is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Toro Tacos & Bowls
This Latin-Asian-fusion concept offers flavorful global mash-ups that take the form of tacos, bowls, salads and snacks.
Taco options include beef bulgogi, charred cauliflower, adobo chicken and Korean pork ($4.50 each or three for $12).
Guests will also find an ancient grain bowl with seasonal greens; pork-based house ramen bowls; mushroom ramen with miso broth, mushrooms and vegetables; and elote ramen featuring ramen noodles served with corn, cilantro, crema, chili, cotija cheese, lime and radishes. Each are $10.
Build your own bowls are also available.
Additional offerings include street corn or miso kale salads, corn cups, nachos and chips and queso. Sweets including brownies and marshmallow bars are also available.
Toro is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
For more information or to view the full menus for each venue, visit rivercentermarketmke.com.
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.