By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Oct 03, 2023 at 11:02 AM

’Tis Dining Month, the tastiest time of year! This means we’re dishing up fun and fascinating food content throughout October. Dig in, Milwaukee! OnMilwaukee Dining Month is served up by Educators Credit Union and Potawatomi Casino Hotel

Empty Bowls, the annual food-meets-art event that supports the work of Friedens Food Pantries, is coming up quickly!

The event will take place on Sunday, Oct. 8 at the MSOE Kern Center, 1245 N. Broadway, from noon to 3 p.m. Guests can pre-purchase their tickets for the event online  Donations are also accepted from anyone, including those who cannot attend the event in person.

During the event, guests can choose from more than a thousand hand-made artisan bowls and enjoy soups from a wide range of local restaurants. All proceeds directly benefit the work of Friedens network of four free food centers: Coggs Center, Hope House Center, Zion Rock Center and Despensa De La Paz Center.

But there are even more ways to support, including this year's Empty Bowls virtual auction which features prizes, memberships and experiences donated by a host of local businesses. The auction, which will take place online, opens Friday, Oct. 6 at 1 p.m. and closes Sunday, Oct. 8 at 3 p.m.

Participating restaurants

This year, Empty Bowls will feature food and beverage donated by the following local venues: 

  • Lakefront Brewery
  • Sala Modern Sicilian
  • Mealwaukee
  • Hot Dish Pantry
  • Glorioso's Italian Market
  • Breadsmith
  • Braise
  • The Soup Market
  • Beans & Barley
  • Mor Gluten-free Bakery
  • Maxie's
  • Cafe Corazon
  • Outpost Natural Foods Cooperative
  • The Real Good Life
  • Friedens Food Pantry

Big goals

For 2023, Friedens –which collaborates with community volunteers, artists, chefs and sponsors to hold the annual event each year – has set a one-day goal to raise $70,000 to combat food insecurity for families across Milwaukee.

“Excitement is high for this year’s event as our artists and chefs are ready to jump back into action to support our community after rebounding from pandemic-era challenges,” notes Sophia Torrijos, Executive Director of Friedens Food Pantries.

“We know that Milwaukeeans are also hungry to give back through fun, meaningful events that directly impact families in our own neighborhoods.”

While many may have bounced back from the pandemic, Friedens has seen a consistent 34% increase in people accessing its services. In 2022, the organization served more than 45,000 families, equipping them with five days of groceries. 

“In 2023, our challenge will be to keep up with the steady growth in the need for free, nutritious food,” Torrijos adds.

Get more information about Friedens and the Empty Bowls event at at

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.