By Jeff Sherman Staff Writer Published Nov 05, 2008 at 9:30 AM Photography: Jeff Sherman
By now you probably know that I spend a lot of time and money at the Milwaukee Public Market. I love the place, but am always offering ideas on how to improve it.

Last September in this blog, I wrote "Now, give me a gourmet popcorn vendor, someone making fresh omelets on the weekends and a true taqueria at El Rey and I'll be one happy Downtown boy."

I'm happy to report that my taqueria wish is being granted as the wonderful Kehr's Candies and El Rey will switch locations, allowing the local Mexican grocer to set up a taqueria at the far west end of the Market in a space that is, unlike their current set up, fully equipped with a hood and fan for exhaust.  Seating also will be added.   El Rey will continue to sell chips, salsa, guacamole and other specialty Hispanic dry goods.  They will no longer sell produce.  "With Good Harvest Market joining us across the street, they will offer a beautiful array of organic produce,"  Sherry Bantug, marketing manager at the Public Market told me.  And, back to my market wishes -- for the record my others wishes (popcorn and omelets) have already been granted.  

"The move is scheduled to occur on Sunday and Monday.  This will entail El Rey removing their produce all together.  Spice House will expand into the end cap on the east end of El Rey’s current space.  They will be selling kitchen gadgets, our Market tote bags and aprons and other offerings," said Bantug. 

"Kehr's will take over the rest of the El Rey space to expand their offerings.  El Rey will move into Kehr’s space along the west end of the Market offering chips and salsa and other dry goods.  The taqueria is part of the plan however the owners asked for a little time to get that up and running.  Hopefully, before the holidays.  They have a lot on their plates right now with their other stores.  We’re extremely excited and even in the interim, the space will look great."  

The El Rey counter on Chavez Drive has one of the best lunches in the city so I can't wait for this food to be just a bit closer to home for me.  Tacos, tostadas, pretty much anything you want, made fresh at the counter with El Rey's own tortillas, hand made tortilla chips, tamales and ingredients. Mmmmmm.

While I'm at it, here are a few more suggestions for additional changes at the Milwaukee Public Market:

More seating downstairs
Now that Ceriello has closed, it's time to add more seating areas down stairs. It will add to the buzz and community atmosphere.

Pizza by the slice
Today's groceries are more restaurant than store and I believe the Public Market needs to embrace this concept even more. Therefore, I want a great pizza by the slice place. It would seem that the fresh ingredients from one of the vendors could create such a masterpiece.  Palermo's?

Fire up the grill
One thing I always thought that Ceriello Fine Foods should have done was give customer the ability to choose a meat to grill on the spot. Whole Foods Market does this as does St. Paul's Fish at the Public Market and it's great. So, whoever is the next meat vendor I say let me pick a burger, steak or other slab, you grill and I eat.

More outside lighting
The building is beautiful, but it needs more lighting (as do many of the Downtown buildings, but that's another topic). More façade lights will help activate the street and truly make the Market stand out at night and on dreary winter days. Christmas season is a great time to start.

Jeff Sherman Staff Writer

A life-long and passionate community leader and Milwaukeean, Jeff Sherman is a co-founder of OnMilwaukee.

He grew up in Wauwatosa and graduated from Marquette University, as a Warrior. He holds an MBA from Cardinal Stritch University, and is the founding president of Young Professionals of Milwaukee (YPM)/Fuel Milwaukee.

Early in his career, Sherman was one of youngest members of the Greater Milwaukee Committee, and currently is involved in numerous civic and community groups - including board positions at The Wisconsin Center District, Wisconsin Club and Marcus Center for the Performing Arts.  He's honored to have been named to The Business Journal's "30 under 30" and Milwaukee Magazine's "35 under 35" lists.  

He owns a condo in Downtown and lives in greater Milwaukee with his wife Stephanie, his son, Jake, and daughter Pierce. He's a political, music, sports and news junkie and thinks, for what it's worth, that all new movies should be released in theaters, on demand, online and on DVD simultaneously.

He also thinks you should read OnMilwaukee each and every day.