By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Jan 06, 2022 at 2:01 PM

One of Milwaukee’s East Side favorites will be branching out with a new retail shop and wine bar at the forthcoming 3rd Street Market Hall, 275 W. Wisconsin Ave.

Strange Town, owned and operated by Chef Mia LeTendre, has developed a reputation not only for its globally inspired, plant-based cuisine, but also for its bar offerings, which include both low-ABV cocktails and an impressive curated selection of sustainably produced natural wines (along with a robust wine club). And they will be showcasing their wine expertise with guests at the new Downtown food hall.

The Strange Town Bottle Shop, which is expected to open later in 2022, will maintain a similar focus on the increasingly popular low intervention wines, a tradition of wine-making that’s been around for centuries, but which saw a resurgence in France during the 1990s and has grown exponentially ever since.

Le Tendre says guests can expect the selection of wines (available to enjoy by the glass or bottle) to include varietals from lesser known wine-making regions, many of which have become more popular alongside the natural wine boom.

“There’s so much cool wine that comes out of Croatia, Slovenia and Georgia … places people wouldn’t normally gravitate to for wine,” she says, noting that her passion for wine was inspired largely by her time living in South Africa, during which she had the opportunity to enjoy wines from regions other than the Napa Valley and Bordeaux.

“Strange Town Bottle Shop is going to be a fantastic addition to the market hall,” notes Jaime Jacobs, 3rd Street Market Hall operations manager who played an integral role in bringing Strange Town to the food hall.  “Mia shares our passion for growing local business through collaboration. Her wine list promises to complement and enhance our existing offerings.” 

As for Le Tendre, she says she’s excited to be a part of the project, which aims to revive a longtime bastion of Downtown Milwaukee.

“The Grand Ave. Mall is a very nostalgic place for me,” said LeTendre, who was born and raised in Wisconsin. “I was really excited the food hall was opening up. I think it’s a great idea and I would love to be a part of it. I think it’s going to do really well.”

More at the Market

The 3rd Street Market Hall, which has announced that it will be opening soon, will feature vendors including Dairyland Old Fashioned Hamburgers & Frozen Custard, Mid-Way Bakery, Amano Pan, Middle East Side, Hot Dish Pantry, Strega (fresh pasta and desserts), Brew City Brand, MaKE Waves and The Greenhouse.  

Additional vendors, including the Strange Town Bottle Shop,  Kawa 3rd Street, Dawg City, Anytime Arepas and Supernova Coffee & Doughnuts are expected to debut later in 2022.

 The forthcoming food hall will also feature a 50-seat full service bar, along with a selfie museum, Topgolf Swing Suites, a gaming lounge and more.

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.