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Mini donuts are back, East Siders.
Mini donuts are back, East Siders.

Tidbits of East Side news

I was hanging out on North Avenue and Oakland Avenue again (insert joke about me working my corner or whatever) and I found out a couple of new developments.

The Drive-Thru, formerly Sil's, is now open. The new patio is open as well.

Also, although originally rumored that Hotch-A-Do would reopen as a bar / brunch spot called The Place, the name has been changed to "The Hotch Spot." The exact reopening date is not known, but will most likely happen "in a few weeks" according to the building landlord, David Charney.

That's all for now. Enjoy this beautiful Milwaukee weekend.

Why just hand someone a beer?
Why just hand someone a beer?

Local "Hey, Pass Me A Beer" video goes viral

"Hey, Pass Me A Beer" is the latest video from Milwaukee-based brothers Jack and Nick Packard and it's already nabbed 115,000 views on and another 120,000 on YouTube.

As the title suggests, the premise of the two-minute video features the brothers passing each other cans of Old Milwaukee in very extreme ways, some of which include a skateboard, trampoline and sling shot.

The video was filmed a month ago in Jack's Bay View backyard, their mom's Wind Lake yard, Humboldt Park and on top of Comedy Sportz. Tim Higgins, who also contributed to the video, is a Comedy Sportz member.

The brothers have worked together before under the name Almost Twins – which includes their cousin Jake – and have released numerous other videos including "Ice Cold Bowling Trick Shots" and "More Awesome Bowling Trick Shots."

Many of the beer can passes took hundreds of takes, but Jack says it was good they had so many failed attempts because by the time they got it, the beer was so shaken up it exploded more than it would've if they caught it sooner.

"Even some of the easier tosses took forever," he says.

Jack says he and Nick, who are 11 months a part, were not always close, especially during their high school years at Greendale High School. "He was the jock and I was the nerd. We didn't get along in any fashion until after college, when we realized we were both nerds," he says.

Jack says he is in communication with Old Milwaukee and there's a chance it will sponsor a second video.

"There's no details yet, but it's very exciting," says Jack. "We really like our Old Milwaukee."


Nikavonni's: coming soon.
Nikavonni's: coming soon.

More good news for Grand Avenue Mall

A couple of months ago, I reported about new "pop up" shops at the Shops of Grand Avenue. Today, it was announced that Nikovanni's, a men's formal wear store, is moving into the large, former Dress Barn space, next to Radio Shack in the mall's New Arcade.

Nikkovanni's, currently located across the street in the former Johnny Walker's space, will open in the mall on July 1.

"They merchandise their store extremely well and offer a classy variety of suits, hats, ties and shoes," says Tracy Korpela, marketing and specialty leasing director. "Nikavonni's will be a great addition to the New Arcade, which is quickly filling up thanks to the exposure Pop Up has received."

For the love of a dog.
For the love of a dog.

Affected by Briggs

I don't have any pets. I used to always have a house full: dogs, cats, fish, hamsters. But for the past few years, I have tended only to humans and plants.

Today, I documented the story of Briggs, a Boston Terrier who was stolen from his East Side yard, but thanks to the relentless efforts of his caregivers, Josh and Tricia O'Malley, and many other volunteers and media outlets, he was returned, unharmed, after 17 days.

I am blown away by the O'Malleys' love for Briggs. Hearing and writing about this story reminds me of the tremendous impact pets, particularly dogs, have on our lives. They are more than "pets;" they are family members.

But when they leave us, there's a big paw-shaped hole that can never really be filled again in quite the same way.

This is why, in part, I do not have any pets. After my dog of 13 years Clay died three years ago, I decided I was not going to put myself through that kind of emotional pain anymore.

The end was the worst. I carried him up and down the stairs to let him outside when he was too weak to walk. At 75 pounds, he was almost too heavy for me, and he knew it. He looked at me with eyes so grateful, I would close myself in my office, away from the kids and weep. After one such occasion, I decided I would not get another pet.

And I haven't.

But I know avoiding the loss also means I'm avoiding the bond. It always goes back to Shakespeare, "It's better to have loved and lost ..." I believe this to be true, and yet, I am not ready to open my heart to another four-legged fur ball that's gonna up and die on me in a decade.

Maybe someday I'll feel differently.