By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor Published Nov 04, 2011 at 2:09 PM

When Michael Diedrick, owner of the National, put his neighborhood cafe up for sale, he didn't follow the usual protocol.

Rather than offering the restaurant for sale outright, he set out on a quest to find the perfect owner to keep his sustainable dream alive. Depending on his or her willingness to maintain The National's neighborhood mission, a new owner could purchase the cafe for as little as $100.

Applications for the ownership position were accepted via creamcitydream.com through Monday, Oct. 31. Diedrick reports that the candidate pool has been quite diverse, with applicants from all walks of life. Of the 23 individuals who have applied, The National's team has conducted 12 interviews and chosen three finalists.

At least one applicant harbors aspirations for making The National into a local brunch destination. "For a few years I've been toying with the idea of opening a brunch place ... Offering a menu that will best, or compete with, the best local brunch fare available."

Each will make a presentation to The National's staff Saturday, Nov. 5, and a winner will be chosen early next week.

"The process has turned out to be interesting and even fun, and we've found more qualified people than we ever expected," Diedrick reports. "Now it's about finding the best vision forward that encompasses quality food and our neighborhood-focused ideals. No matter which finalist we choose, the new owner will have mad talent and fantastic ideas. We're really looking forward to next week!"

According to Diedrick, the new owner, who will be presented at a special dinner event on Thursday evening, Nov. 10, will take over operation of the business beginning Dec. 1.

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.