By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published May 14, 2019 at 10:01 AM

We’re literally weeks away from the opening of Saint Kate, Milwaukee’s first-of-its-kind independent arts hotel at 139 E. Kilbourn Ave.

In preparation, the hotel offered media a sneak peek into the wonders of the hotel’s creative food and beverage program:  an experience designed to engage, connect and inspire locals and visitors alike with a curated collection of venues, each offering something simple, fresh, exciting and delicious.

"We’re striking a balance between accessible and extraordinary," says Food & Beverage Director Brent Hockenberry. "We’re creating a space where art meets life in a palpable way ... Fighting the stigma that you can’t have a great food and beverage experience in a hotel."

And it all opens on June 4.

Here’s the Saint Kate culinary experience in five (delicious) courses.

Course 1: The Bar

Pictured: Millions of Peaches: Rehorst vodka, housemade champagne honey, peach liqueur, Bittercube Bolivar Bitters

Location: On the ground floor of the hotel, adjacent to check-in

Imagine: "It’s a gathering place," says Hockenberry, "Immersed in natural light. It’s a place where art takes center stage … where creative minds gather … and inspiration is achieved."

Enjoy: Begin your day with custom blended Pilcrow coffee and watch as the space evolves over the course of hours, culiminating in an evening spectacle of showy mocktails and cocktails (created in collaboration with Lost Whale owners Daniel Beres and Tripper Duval), wine and craft beer, along with pop-up performances and experiential moments."

Open daily for coffee service from 6 a.m. to noon and bar service from 11 a.m. to midnight

Course 2: Proof Pizza

Pictured: Antipasti (hummus, marinated olives, peppers, rosemary crackers, finocchiona, chorizo, pork rillette); not pictured: WindRacer Pinot Noir

Location: ground floor with a private entry just to the south of the hotel entrance.

Imagine: A neighborhood pizza joint with a fast casual feel, white tile and modern design.

Enjoy: A menu that features traditional Neapolitan style pizza alongside Italian-style tapas like burrata, hummus, salumi and meatballs, plus salads, sandwiches and beverages including Italian sodas, a curated collection of canned wines and beer.

Open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Course 3: Giggly Champagne & Wine Bar

Pictured: Caviar tin, goufrettes, chive cream; paired with Fair le Fete

Location: The second floor, just to the south of Aria Cafe & Bar

Imagine: Milwaukee’s first champagne bar. A space filled with French art and adult themes presented in a fun way. It’s a place where budget friendly bubbles exist comfortably alongside high end bottles of champagne and tennis shoes are as welcome as high heels.

"Giggly is laughter personified," says Hockenberry. "It’s not at all pretentious. But it’s a place to learn and enjoy, to let loose and linger."

Enjoy: Globally procured sparkling wines and playful cocktails. Indulge in caviar, spiked cotton candy, and whimsical snacks.

Open daily from noon to midnight.

Course 4: T.D.R. (AKA The Dark Room)

Pictured: Aged veal chop, risotto, artichokes, foraged maiitake mushrooms, ramps, butter poached lobster, ramp oil; paired with Dauo Pessimist Red Blend, 2017.

Location: second level, to the south of Giggly Champagne & Wine Bar

Imagine: Here art meets cuisine in an intimate 26-seat restaurant that’s filled with deep, rich tones and dim light. It’s mysterious and wonderful, a venue that resembles – in many ways – a chefs table, a place where Executive Chef Aaron Miles and his team find their creative outlet.

Enjoy: Special menus for two and what Miles calls the "Baller Menu," an indulgent set-price feast during which "We feed you until you have to be rolled out the door."

"It’s all about taking high quality ingredients and bringing out their best. It’s about simple, well-prepared food … allowing each ingredient to speak for itself," says Hockenberry.

Open daily from 5 to 10 p.m.

Course 5: Aria Cafe & Bar

Pictured: Warm upside-down stone fruit cake with butter rum sauce with a touch of Angostura bitters and whipped cream cut with sour cream for balance. Paired with Graham’s 10-year Tawny Port.

Location: Second floor, to the North of Giggly Champagne & Wine Bar

Imagine: A bistro style restaurant featuring from-scratch cooking in a warm, relaxed environment that’s casual and comfortable with a blue and white color scheme.

Enjoy: A comfortable, inviting neighborhood restaurant where the seasonally-focused dishes resemble "something you might find at your grandmother’s house." Think: house-made smoothies and farm fresh eggs for breakfast, soups, sandwiches (including the Big Boy burger) and fresh salads for lunch and your choice of pasta, fresh seafood or steak for dinner.

Open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (breakfast served until 11 a.m.)

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.