By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor Published Feb 04, 2022 at 12:15 PM

There’s a brand new Indian restaurant coming to 223 N. Water St. in the Historic Third Ward. In fact, Saffron – an upscale farm-to-table concept – is slated to occupy the first floor of the space which briefly housed Rivalry Bar and served as a longtime home for Rustico.

Behind the new restaurant are local owners Fatima Kumar and her husband Hanish, along with Amrita and Manish Kumar of New York, all of whom are excited to introduce a modern twist on Indian cuisine to the Milwaukee market.

Fatima says the restaurant will resemble the modern, upscale Indian concepts which have popped up in cities including Chicago, Los Angeles and New York, taking full advantage of local, organic produce.

“We are bringing a modern twist to the Indian concept,” she says, noting that although Milwaukee has its share of Indian cuisine, it hasn’t yet seen the opening of a modern, upscale concept like this. "We’ve just not seen that fulfilled yet. So we thought this was the perfect opportunity to bring together the young, modern concept with classic Indian fare.”

Although the menu is still under wraps, Fatima says that guests will find classic dishes like chicken tikka masala, but also a wide selection of seafood, along with vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free items. The restaurant will also offer a full bar featuring beer, wine, cocktails and mocktails.

Fatima says that, if all goes well, they are hoping for a June opening.

“The Third Ward is a wonderful area for foot traffic, especially in the summer,” she says. “And we are hoping to open in time for a great summer, with all the wonderful festivals.”

Watch OnMilwaukee for more details as the opening grows closer.

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.