By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor Published Jun 02, 2020 at 3:45 PM

As bars and restaurants in the City of Milwaukee continue to strategize and make plans for an uncertain future, many are using their time to reimagine how they can better serve customers when they reopen their doors. In some cases, they’re pivoting entirely and taking the opportunity to rethink concepts to better serve the community they serve.

Such is the case at Cantina Milwaukee, 1110 N Old World 3rd St., which is slated to reopen in the (hopefully) near future as Third Street Tavern. The former taco and tequila destination, which was initially open for carry-out, closed its doors yesterday in preparation for a slow, deliberate transformation.

The new venue represents a pivot on the part of owners Bobby Wiltgen of Cream City Concepts and Jack Roman, both of whom have spent the past two months reconsidering the space and its limitations (including its tiny kitchen) and imagining a venue that would better serve their customer base.

"This has been a challenging time," says Bobby Wiltgen, who also owns and operates Who’s on Third and Oak Barrel Public House. "But it has also given us the opportunity to think through the space and come up with a concept that simply works better for everyone."

Arcade games, burgers & community

Third Street Tavern, Wiltgen says, will aim to capture the character and collegiality of a corner tavern, showcasing warm, welcoming service, a full bar and a menu of old school burgers. The venue will also feature a collection of classic arcade games.

"We’re releasing the new brand at a time when we believe the message of hope in our community is most important," adds Wiltgen. ‘We want to showcase that people are succeeding in these incredibly difficult times, and we want to be an inspiration for everyone looking to make a positive change in the community’.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

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.