The East Side is becoming a haven for plant-based eating thanks to a small slew of new eateries, including Nice Times (which opened in December), The Lafayette Place (which opened in November), and staples like Strange Town, which has now been serving up their globally inspired vegan fare since 2017.
And you can add one more eatery to the docket, as Twisted Plants plans to bring their comfort food inspired menu of plant-based burgers, sandwiches and sides to a second location in the former home of Betty’s Burgers & Custard at 1233 E. Brady St. this spring.
Business has been good for Arielle and Brandon Hawthorne, who launched their plant-based food business after a cancer diagnosis opened their eyes to the powerful role that food plays in maintaining health and wellness.
Both their mission and their food met with an eager audience. And, thanks to a loyal customer base and increased demand for plant-based fare, they were able to quickly transition from the mobile food operation they opened in 2019 to a brick and mortar location at 4905 S. Packard Ave. in Cudahy in just one year.
What to expect
Brandon Hawthorne, who says they hope to open the Brady Street location by late March or early April, says the opportunity to take over the former burger restaurant was a serendipitous one.
“We knew we wanted to grow, but we weren’t actively looking,” he says, noting that a Twisted Plants employee who knew Betty’s owners Anthony and James Roufus, brought the idea of looking at the East Side location to their attention.
“Cudahy is more of a destination restaurant for our audience,” he says. “But both the location and the fact that the space was already home to a burger restaurant made the decision to pursue it pretty easy for us.”
Hawthorne says they hope for a quick and relatively painless transition to the new space, given that most of the changes they’ll need to make are cosmetic.
“Arielle has plans for wallpaper that she wants to decorate the walls,” he says, “And we’ll definitely be adding some of the neon details that have been really popular with customer in Cudahy.”
Much like the Cudahy location, the restaurant will operate with a counter service model, offering both carry-out and the option of indoor seating, since the space offers enough space for around 25 or so customers.
More plant-based fare to love
Currently, the Twisted Plants menu features a variety of options from burgers and sandwiches to seasoned breaded cauliflower bites, plant-based wings and loaded waffle fries.
Among their most popular offerings is the Up in Smoke, a burger featuring a plant-based patty topped with American style cheese, veggie bacon, onion rings, lettuce, tomato, pickles and special Twisted Smokehouse sauce. And the Still Smokin' serves up more than its share of comforting plant-based burger goodness, especially for fans of the classic mushroom and Swiss.
But the business has also made delicious waves with their plant based shakes, which are made with locally made Scratch Ice Cream.
But that won't be all. Fans can look forward to even more options at the East Side location.
Hawthorne says they hope to add a variety of new menu items, including fruit-based slushies, gyros, Italian beef and fried pickles, which they introduced about a week ago at their Cudahy restaurant.
They also plan to apply for a liquor license for the Brady Street location, which will allow them to serve a menu of bottled beverages, including beer from local breweries including MobCraftt and Dead Bird Brewing.
Hawthorne says they’re very grateful that opportunities have arisen for them to grow their business over the past two years, and says he's looking forward to the foot traffic that a location on Brady will bring.
He also says that the business is likely to hire a few additional employees to staff the location. Individuals interested in working for Twisted Plants are encouraged to send a resume and note of interest to Brandon Hawthorne at Plantivorellc@gmail.com.
Hawthorne says the East Side location is likely to be open for both lunch and dinner with hours Tuesday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Tune in to our FoodCrush podcast with Brandon Hawthorne for more about Twisted Plants and their mission.
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.