Cudahy’s Twisted Plants puts a vegan twist on fast food favorites

640 640

Each week on Radio Milwaukee, Milwaukee Magazine dining critic Ann Christenson and 88Nine’s resident foodie Tarik Moody discuss Milwaukee’s culinary and restaurant culture on This Bites.

Today we’re joined by Arielle and Brandon Hawthorne, the wife/husband team behind the very popular Cudahy restaurant Twisted Plants. They made the leap from a food truck to a brick and mortar location right after the pandemic hit this spring, but they’ve found huge support from the community. Some of their most popular items include a vegetarian burger with vegan bacon and vegan cheese on a pretzel bun, as well as cauliflower bites.

On this week’s episode, they explain the origins of some of their most popular recipes, the inspiring story that lead them to embrace a plant-based diet, and the challenges of operating out of a small space. “When you break it down, we are a fast food burger joint, but we’re trying to offer healthier options that are fresh,” Brandon tells us. “A lot of people don’t know that everyday foods can be veganized, and that’s what we try to offer.”

The burger at Twisted Plants | facebook.com/twistedplantsmke

We’ve also got some big news from Riverwest: Big Daddy’s BBQ and Soul Food is going to open soon. To have a barbecue place located on Humboldt Avenue is a big score for the neighborhood. They have chicken, ribs, catfish, burgers and rib tips, as well as sides like fried green tomatoes and beans and rice. They also have a Soul Food Sunday special. The restaurant is coming to the location of the former Milwaukee Beer Bistro.

Braise has been hosting a variety of block parties with special themes. Today, starting at 4 p.m., they’re doing a pig roast block party. The menu is a Hoisin roasted pig with duck dat potatoes, grilled choy sum with garlic sauce and cucumber kimchi and a scallion milk bun.

And Purple Door has a new flavor, and it’s very timely. It’s called State Fair Cream Puff, and it’s a combination of sweet cream with pieces of puff pastry folded in. And they also have limited editions of Malort ice cream, if you’re feeling brave.

Hear us talk about it all on this week’s episode.

Like what you hear? Subscribe!

Get all of 88Nine’s podcasts delivered right to you weekly at RadioMilwaukee.org/Podcasts. We’ve got podcasts about music, food and film, with fresh episodes dropping every week! And don’t forget to check out our new podcast “Backspin: The Search for Milwaukee’s First Hip-Hop Song,” a six-part exploration of the birth of Milwaukee rap. All episodes are streaming now.

Radio Milwaukee needs you! Give anything and you’re supporting everything – the music, events, and the community stories you love! Plus, if you give right now you can support 88Nine AND help Milwaukee students receive school supplies!

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

How one Wisconsin chef is helping preserve Black-owned farms and foodways

640 430

Each week on Radio Milwaukee, Milwaukee Magazine dining critic Ann Christenson and 88Nine’s resident foodie Tarik Moody discuss Milwaukee’s culinary and restaurant culture on This Bites.

In this week’s episode, we talk about the Ivy House’s “Taste of State Fair” event, and we interviewed La Crosse Chef Adrian Lipscombe about her 40 Acres & a Mule Project.

Chef Adrian Lipscombe’s ’40 Acres & A Mule Project’

Chef Adrian Lipscombe | via 40 Acres & A Mule’s Instagram

Chef-owner of Uptowne Café and Bakery in La Crosse, Adrian Lipscombe is raising money for her project, 40 Acres & A Mule. Her goal is to support Black farmers and preserve Black foodways. Lipscombe plans to purchase land to guarantee farm to table resources for the food industry. She has already raised over $100,000.

“My vision is to have a sanctuary to hold the history, food, and stories of Black culture in food and farming.   This land will be used to teach other how to farm, archive Black foodways and the importance of Black farms.  The 40 acres of land will tell the story of how Blacks grew food through our ancestral ways to today.” – Adrian Lipscombe

Taste of State Fair

From Aug. 6 to 12, Ivy House in Walker’s Point is hosting ‘Taste of State Fair.’ The event will feature a take on Wisconsin State Fair favorites from seven vendors, including Tall Guy & A Grill, Pete’s Pops, Tots on The Street, Ivy House, Milk Can, Smoke Shack and Happy Dough Lucky.

You can try a variety of dishes including cream puffs, Old Fashioned-style cream puffs, warm mini-donuts, fresh-squeezed lemonade, gourmet stuffed tater tots, grilled corn, deep-fried cheese curds, loaded baked potatoes, wings, popsicles, giant pickles, sandwiches and more!

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Sprecher hopes to set a world record with its root beer float drive-thru

640 458

Each week on Radio Milwaukee, Milwaukee Magazine dining critic Ann Christenson and 88Nine’s resident foodie Tarik Moody discuss Milwaukee’s culinary and restaurant culture on This Bites.

Aug. 6 is National Root Beer Float Day, and to celebrate Sprecher Brewing Company and Cedar Crest Ice Cream are attempting to create a new Guinness World Record. The Wisconsin fixtures are hosting a drive-thru with free root beer floats, while following social-distancing best practices.

Sprecher says it will have the supplies to provide up to 50,000 free floats from noon to 8 p.m. at its 701 W. Glendale Ave. location. Attendees are asked to remain in their vehicles while staff brings the floats directly to their car windows. The floats are free, but attendees are encouraged to make an online donation to Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin by texting FLOAT to 41444.

Photo courtesy Sprecher

We’ve also got a ton of other local restaurant news to share, including an expanded patio in the works for At Random, a “veggie pop-up” this Saturday, July 25, at Amilinda, a big move for Bay View’s Honeypie and a controversial proposed food truck ban for Downer Avenue. Plus we say goodbye to Meraki, a Walker’s Point restaurant that will close for good on Aug. 8, and discuss whether a cheap beer can be improved by putting a pickle in it.

Hear us get into all of that and more on this week’s episode below.

Like what you hear? Subscribe!

Get all of 88Nine’s podcasts delivered right to you weekly at RadioMilwaukee.org/Podcasts. We’ve got podcasts about music, food and film, with fresh episodes dropping every week! And don’t forget to check out our new podcast “Backspin: The Search for Milwaukee’s First Hip-Hop Song,” a six-part exploration of the birth of Milwaukee rap. All episodes are streaming now.

Radio Milwaukee needs you! Give anything and you’re supporting everything – the music, events, and the community stories you love! Plus, if you give right now you can support 88Nine AND help Milwaukee students receive school supplies!

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

These vegan ‘pork’ rinds aren’t bad at all

640 417

Each week on Radio Milwaukee, Milwaukee Magazine dining critic Ann Christenson and 88Nine’s resident foodie Tarik Moody discuss Milwaukee’s culinary and restaurant culture on This Bites.

On this week’s edition, we have some sad news to report about Milwaukee restaurants closing, and some good news to report about some new restaurants. We also talk about Company Brewing’s new Black is Beautiful beer, and I share my review of Pig Out’s plant-based pork rinds.

Pig Out Pigless Pork Rinds | Photo: Outstanding foods

I keep getting this targeted ads in my Facebook feed for a special kind of pork rinds. It’s called Pig Out, and it’s a plant-based chip. I received a variety pack that I ordered in the mail the other day — those Facebook ads worked on me — and the flavors include original, Texas BBQ, nacho cheese and a spicy flavor called Hella Hot. Apparently Snoop Dogg is a fan of them.

The ingredients include rice, pea protein and pea grits. They’re not bad. They certainly have the crunch a regular pork rind, but unfortunately they only have a hint of the porky flavor. The original had a lot less flavor than the Texas BBQ, and wasn’t as salty — making it easier to eat a lot of them. My only complaint was they left a slightly chalky texture behind on my tongue, but that wasn’t a deal breaker. You can just wash that away with a sip of beer.

Comet Cafe and Fuel Cafe locations close

Last week, we learned that Comet Cafe has closed indefinitely, although there’s a possibility it could reopen. Its parent company also operates a couple of locations of Fuel Cafe, including the one on Center Street in Riverwest, which has also closed indefinitely. (The Fuel Cafe location in Walker’s Point is still in business, but it hasn’t been open since the pandemic closed it in March). It’s heartbreaking: One of my favorite sandwiches in the city was at Fuel, the spicy ham and salami.

Meanwhile, Fauntleroy, the French restaurant from DanDan’s proprietors, has also closed. It’s clear that if you care at all about local businesses, you have to take this pandemic seriously, otherwise these closures will continue.

La Dama replaces Crazy Water

facebook.com/ladamamke

Crazy Water has closed, but now the location is back with a new concept. The owner decided to convert the space into La Dama Mexican Kitchen. The menu looks interesting. Highlights include stuffed corn masa, grilled octopus, a smoked pork belly and black garlic taco and a vegetarian taco with seared spicy cactus. And don’t forget the torta with smoked pork cheek, bean spread, asado pasado, roasted tomatoes, mango and guaje chutney, arugula and ajillo aioli.

There’s also a burger that sounds unlike any in the city: It’s served on a cemita roll with chimichurri butter, manchego and chapulin aioli.

Black is Beautiful beer

Here’s a tasty beer: Milwaukee’s Company Brewing is one of over 1,000 breweries from around the world to take part in the Black is Beautiful Beer initiative. The initiative was started by a Texas Black-owned brewery called Weathered Souls. They invited any brewery to participate by brewing their recipe for an imperial stout. The participating breweries have to donate 100% of the beer’s proceeds to a local organization that fights for racial justice or supports equality and inclusion.

Company Brewing will start selling the beer on July 16 and 100% of the proceeds will be donated to BLOC (Black Leaders Organizing For Communities).

We also discuss a cute story about a face mask with a hole in it for a straw, making it easier to drink craft cocktails.

Like what you hear? Subscribe!

Get all of 88Nine’s podcasts delivered right to you weekly at RadioMilwaukee.org/Podcasts. We’ve got podcasts about music, food and film, with fresh episodes dropping every week! And don’t forget to check out our new podcast “Backspin: The Search for Milwaukee’s First Hip-Hop Song,” a six-part exploration of the birth of Milwaukee rap. All episodes are streaming now.

Radio Milwaukee needs you! Give anything and you’re supporting everything – the music, events, and the community stories you love! Plus, if you give right now you can support 88Nine AND help Milwaukee students receive school supplies!

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Wisconsin State Fair will offer a rotating drive-thru fair foods menu this summer

640 480

Each week on Radio Milwaukee, Milwaukee Magazine dining critic Ann Christenson and 88Nine’s resident foodie Tarik Moody discuss Milwaukee’s culinary and restaurant culture on This Bites.

Even though Wisconsin State Fair has been canceled this year, the fair grounds will be offering a curbside pickup featuring some of your favorite fair foods. We’ll be talking about that, as well as some restaurants that have closed temporarily after workers tested positive for COVID-19, on this week’s episode. Also Braise is hosting a paella party, there’s a new steakhouse with a Mexican flair coming to a beloved South Side location, and Iron Grate BBQ has a new food truck.

Can’t go wrong with funnel cake | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

For those who miss the treats at Wisconsin State Fair, the fair grounds are hosting a fair foods drive-thru, which will allow patrons to purchase corn dogs and cheese curds and other fair signatures. It kicks of July 23, and each week offers a different menu. The rotating menus will be posted each week, so you’ll have to wait and see what they offer. It runs through Aug. 16.

Restaurants temporarily close after COVID-19 exposure

Meanwhile, the pandemic continues to take a toll on Milwaukee restaurants. At least eight of them have closed after learning that an employee has tested positive for COVID-19, including Stubby’s Gastrogrub and Beer Bar, Brandywine, Honeypie and Palomino, Who’s on Third, Steny’s and Buckley’s. Months into the pandemic, there’s still incredible uncertainty about its impact on restaurants.

Paella, steaks, chicken and more

On a happier note, Braise is hosting a paella party today from 4-8 p.m. Diners can either eat it on the patio or take it to go, and they’ll have their pick from chicken confit, shrimp and chorizo or summer veggie paella, all served with homemade bread and salad. The price is $20 per person or $75 for a family of four.

The former location of Fritz’s Pub, which used to have one of the most celebrated fish fries in the city, will become home to a steakhouse with a Latin flair. The owner has a great track record in the city. He also owns Fat Valdy’s, The Chicken Palace, Fiesta Cafe and the La Michoacana franchise.

Some more good news: If you can’t make the drive to the South Side for Iron Grate BBQ, you’ll be able to find it a little closer to Downtown, at 1010 S. 1st St. in Walker’s Point, starting Wednesday, July 8. Hours during its first week will be Wednesday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The menu, features some surprises, including a “hot dip sammie,” as well as favorites like pulled pork and brisket.

Hear us chat about all that and more, including a new chicken spot near the Deer District, on this week’s episode.

Like what you hear? Subscribe!

Get all of 88Nine’s podcasts delivered right to you weekly at RadioMilwaukee.org/Podcasts. We’ve got podcasts about music, food and film, with fresh episodes dropping every week! And don’t forget to check out our new podcast “Backspin: The Search for Milwaukee’s First Hip-Hop Song,” a six-part exploration of the birth of Milwaukee rap. All episodes are streaming now.

Radio Milwaukee needs you! Give anything and you’re supporting everything – the music, events, and the community stories you love! Plus, if you give right now you can support 88Nine AND help Milwaukee students receive school supplies!

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Milwaukee’s ‘The Diplomat’ is back, plus a summer grilling guide

640 425

Each week on Radio Milwaukee, Milwaukee Magazine dining critic Ann Christenson and 88Nine’s resident foodie Tarik Moody discuss Milwaukee’s culinary and restaurant culture on This Bites.

In this week’s episode, we discussed Milwaukee Magazine’s summer grilling guide, a new vendor at Crossroads Collective, and return of Bartolotta and The Diplomat.

The Diplomat Diplomac Burger | via Facebook

We talked about Milwaukee Magazine’s grilling issue, just in time for the Fourth of July and summer. Ann shared tips on cooking on gas and charcoal grills, where to buy the best meats for your grill and the popular grill known as the Green Egg.

New vendor at Crossroads Collective

A new restaurant opened earlier this week at Crossroads Collective by the name of Mina.

From the press release:

“Mina is a new concept from husband and wife team, Ryan Hoffman and Patrice Gentile. Mina brings to Milwaukee the Northern Italian aperitivo tradition.

Mina serves up classic flavors in an approachable way, with rotating small plates that include a variety of topped toasts, chickpea fritters with pesto, steamed clams with chorizo and cider, shaved fennel salad with orange and parsley, melon and burrata, lamb ragu and polenta, and more at Crossroads Collective’s newly reopened dining room and expansive patio. Curbside carry out is also available.”

Small plates at Mina

Bartolotta returns

Bartolotta announced the return of Ristorante Bartolotta in Wauwatosa. This includes new safety measures due to COVID-19.

  • Face masks are required for both staff and restaurant patrons
  • Reservations are required, will be held for 15 minutes, and there will be temperature checks upon entry of the restaurant
  • Touchless payment options and QR codes to view menus on smartphones
  • Custom-made safety partitions between tables and booths
  • UV-C technology that “actively seeks and destroys” micro-organisms in the air and on hard surfaces
  • “Meticulously and deliberately” cleaned tables within every new reservation

You can learn more over at Milwaukee Magazine.

Local restaurants and business demanding a mandatory mask rule

Several local restaurants and businesses wrote an open letter to Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett demanding he issues a mandatory mask rule. You can read the open letter here.

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Wisconsin State Fair is offering curbside cream puffs this year

640 552

Each week on Radio Milwaukee, Milwaukee Magazine dining critic Ann Christenson and 88Nine’s resident foodie Tarik Moody discuss Milwaukee’s culinary and restaurant culture on This Bites.

On this week’s episode, we’re looking at restaurants that are reopening for dining, as well as the city’s new reopening plan. Also, Congress has a bill to help independent restaurants with additional funding. We get into all that, as well as peaches, cream puffs and more. Stream the episode and read about it below.

Wisconsin State Fair won’t happen this year, but Wisconsinites can still get their cream puff fix. During the fair’s originally scheduled run, the fair will be offering curbside cream puffs at State Fair Park.

There will be set hours to pick them up: Thursday, Aug. 6 to Sunday, Aug. 9 and Thursday, Aug. 13 to Sunday, Aug. 16, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursdays through Saturdays and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays. (There will also be a delivery option, but you’ll have to order a fair amount of them in order to take advantage).

There will also be cream puffs available at Festival Foods stores in Kenosha, Appleton and Madison from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Aug. 10-12. They’ll be available in three packs and six packs.

Looking to burn off the calories from those cream puffs? The fair is doing a Virtual Cream Puff 5K benefiting the State Fair Foundation. You can register online through July 30 for the run or walk.

Milwaukee restaurants reopen

More and more restaurants are announcing that they’re reopening. Maxie’s recently reopened, and Blue’s Egg and Story Hill are planning on reopening soon, too. But they’re being cautious, opening with reduced hours and reduced capacity.

Third Coast Provisions opened on Wednesday. They’ve taken measures to contact trace and test all their staff. Merriment Social is also open as well, and they’ve been taking advantage of the building’s large garage doors to create an open-air dining area. Company Brewing’s patio is open, too, and Transfer Pizza has a new patio. Expect this to be a big season for patio dining. But are we ready to start dining at restaurants? Ann says she isn’t.

Milwaukee shares its reopening plan for restaurants

The city has shared its reopening plan that will let restaurant owners reopen at full capacity. In order to do so, though, restaurants will have to share a safety plan, according to the Biz Journal.

The city is currently in what it calls Phase 3 of its reopening plan. Restaurants would be allowed to reopen at full capacity it reaches Phase 5. And today the city is debating whether it is ready to move to Phase 4, the in which restaurants could operate at 50% capacity. This is all subject to change, of course, but it means that it’s possible restaurants could be at full capacity again by the end of summer.

We also discuss a bipartisan bill that would deliver $120 billion in relief for independent restaurants. It’s called The Real Economic Support That Acknowledges Unique Restaurant Assistance Needed to Survive Act, or the RESTAURANT Act for short (we can’t make this up). What’s nice about the bill is it’s specifically for independent restaurants — not chains.

There’s a new takeout restaurant called Smax at 770 N. Jefferson St., in the food court that’s home to the beloved Pakistani restaurant Shah Jee’s. The concept it it offers boxed lunches, modeled after those sometimes seen in the TV show “Mad Men.” The menu is more globally minded than anything Don Draper ate on that show, though, with Cuban, Mexican and Vietnamese-inspired dishes.

Like what you hear? Subscribe!

Get all of 88Nine’s podcasts delivered right to you weekly at RadioMilwaukee.org/Podcasts. We’ve got podcasts about music, food and film, with fresh episodes dropping every week! And don’t forget to check out our new podcast “Backspin: The Search for Milwaukee’s First Hip-Hop Song,” a six-part exploration of the birth of Milwaukee rap. All episodes are streaming now.

Radio Milwaukee needs you! Give anything and you’re supporting everything – the music, events, and the community stories you love! Plus, if you give right now you can support 88Nine AND help Milwaukee students receive school supplies!

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Celebrate Father’s Day with these specials from Milwaukee restaurants

640 426

Each week on Radio Milwaukee, Milwaukee Magazine dining critic Ann Christenson and 88Nine’s resident foodie Tarik Moody discuss Milwaukee’s culinary and restaurant culture on This Bites.

On this week’s episode, we’re discussing Father’s Day and what local restaurants are offering, a new vendor in Sherman Phoenix, the city’s pilot program for outdoor seating options, a review of Cavas, Crazy Water shutting down and becoming a Mexican restaurant and food on Juneteenth.

Ardent ‘s Burger DIY Kits for Father’s Day

Father’s Day is this Sunday and several restaurants are offering something special for your pops. Ardent is offering Burger DIY Kits, which includes a seasoned burger patty, Big Marty’s Potato bun, brie cheese, Kasuzuke pickles, buttered and yeasted onions and a special sauce.

Sanford is offering a Father’s Day Grill Pack, which includes:

  • An appetizer (serves 4) of Malta Glazed Berkshire Pork Ribs – served with Mole Sauce and Slaw 
  • A 4 pack of Sanford House-made Elk Sausage – served with Pretzilla® Sausage Buns and Rhubarb Gooseberry Mostarda (a Northern Italian condiment we make in house)
  • Pasta Salad – Orecchiette, Fresh Herbs, Olives and Cherry Tomatoes 
  • Dessert of Grilled Georgia Peaches and Bourbon Butter Caramel topped with Amaretti Crumble and Spiced Mascarpone
  • Sanford embroidered chef coat

You must call Sanford to place your order at 414-276-9608

Odd Duck is offering a Father’s Day family meal pick-up. You can pick up a special meal for four that includes:

  • Smoked Baby Back Ribs with Maple Bourbon Barbecue Sauce
  • Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits
  • Potato Salad with Eggs & Bacon
  • Sweet Corn Salad with Avocado, Cherry Tomato, Jalapeño, Cotija Cheese & Chili Vinaigrette

Birch + Butcher is offering a special dad’s day menu which includes cinnamon rolls with cream cheese icing, hand-cut ham and rolls, or ready-to-grill marinated skirt steak.

New vendor in Sherman Phoenix

Sherman Phoenix announced that a new vendor, Rise & Grind cafe recently opened. They serve a variety of breakfast and brunch item plus a selection of coffee and fruit-based and green smoothies. They also have a location at 2737 N. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr.

City announces pilot program for outdoor seating options

The City of Milwaukee has started a pilot program for Active Streets for Businesses. As part of the program, bars and restaurants seek permission to expand outdoor seating by turning parking lanes, traffic travel lanes and sidewalks for more outdoor tables and chairs. You can learn more about the program via this presentation.

Like what you hear? Subscribe!

Get all of 88Nine’s podcasts delivered right to you weekly at RadioMilwaukee.org/Podcasts. We’ve got podcasts about music, food and film, with fresh episodes dropping every week! And don’t forget to check out our new podcast “Backspin: The Search for Milwaukee’s First Hip-Hop Song,” a six-part exploration of the birth of Milwaukee rap. All episodes are streaming now.

Radio Milwaukee needs you! Give anything and you’re supporting everything – the music, events, and the community stories you love! Plus, if you give right now you can support 88Nine AND help Milwaukee students receive school supplies!

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Thum blesses Crossroads Collective with Laotian delights

640 512

Each week on Radio Milwaukee, Milwaukee Magazine dining critic Ann Christenson and 88Nine’s resident foodie Tarik Moody discuss Milwaukee’s culinary and restaurant culture on This Bites.

On this week’s episode, we’re discussing the recent policy change that allows Milwaukee restaurants to offer dine-in service. We also discuss a the new Laotian restaurant at Crossroads Collective, Fauntleroy’s new market and Ann’s cookbook pick of the week, which this week isn’t technically a cookbook. Stream the episode and read about it below.

Last week, Mayor Tom Barrett, out of the blue, told Milwaukee restaurants they could open for indoor service at 25% capacity. The announcement was made just 24 hours before the change, with very little guidance for how restaurants should proceed. And there was a lot of push back from local restaurants. The majority of restaurants Ann spoke to said they were not ready to reopen. Many posted on social media that they did not feel it was safe, and many cited the importance of Black Lives Matter protests. Some felt that the announcement was meant to distract from those protests.

There’s also the question of whether many restaurants can even turn a profit at 25% capacity, especially smaller restaurants.

Thum comes to Crossroads Collective

A colorful dish from Thum | facebook.com/thummke

There’s a new Laotian restaurant that popped up in Crossroads Collective called Thum. It offers food for pickup, and its menu is impressive. Options include crispy Lao eggrolls with pork, cabbage and carrots, served with sweet, tangy dipping sauce; fried chicken wings; sticky rice cakes; papaya salad; marinated beef and chicken and chicken laab. We discuss the distinctive sweet/sour/herbaceous flavor profile of Laotian cuisine.

We’re also excited about this news: Fauntleroy has a market now. It offers specialty goods, including sausages, jams and deserts, and offers 10% off to the service industry. You can even get pottery there. It seems like the market model is becoming more common post-COVID-19, as restaurants pivot to try to survive.

We discuss all that and more on this week’s episode.

Like what you hear? Subscribe!

Get all of 88Nine’s podcasts delivered right to you weekly at RadioMilwaukee.org/Podcasts. We’ve got podcasts about music, food and film, with fresh episodes dropping every week! And don’t forget to check out our new podcast “Backspin: The Search for Milwaukee’s First Hip-Hop Song,” a six-part exploration of the birth of Milwaukee rap. All episodes are streaming now.

Radio Milwaukee needs you! Give anything and you’re supporting everything – the music, events, and the community stories you love! Plus, if you give right now you can support 88Nine AND help Milwaukee students receive school supplies!

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Milwaukee restaurants take a stand against police violence and systemic racism

640 396

Each week on Radio Milwaukee, Milwaukee Magazine dining critic Ann Christenson and 88Nine’s resident foodie Tarik Moody discuss Milwaukee’s culinary and restaurant culture on This Bites.

This week we didn’t talk about a new restaurant or an upcoming pop-up. We didn’t even talk about what we were cooking this past week. Why? I’m tired, and I’m angry. Being a Black man and watching George Floyd, who happens to be the same age as me, killed on national TV made me nauseous. His death came only a few days after watching the video of Ahmaud Arbery, where I also almost threw up. And you might ask yourself, what does this have to do with food, restaurants?

A lot!

This week on This Bites, not only do we talk about how some Milwaukee restaurants are taking a stand against police violence and systemic racism, but we also have a conversation about food and its role in these issues.

Photo credit: Reddit user Timecook

Milwaukee restaurants take a stand

Restaurants have been hit hard by the effects of COVID-19, and many are struggling to stay afloat. But that hasn’t stopped some in the community to take a stand against police violence and systemic racism.

The iconic Mars Cheese Castle used its highly visible sign to convey the feelings of a lot of us with three words: “I Can’t Breathe.” In an interview with WUWM, Mars Cheese Castle co-owner Michael Ventura explained why he and his cousin put up the sign.

“My grandparents taught those values to us that you respect your fellow human being, you treat them with dignity and respect, and that’s what that sign means to me,” Ventura said.

In the city of Milwaukee, other restaurants demonstrated their solidarity in various ways. Braise is collecting donations that will be distributed to Milwaukee organizations helping promote racial equity. Earlier this week, Goodkind not only closed its doors in support of the protesters, but it also handed out water and supplies. Birch + Butcher also closed so their employees could march.

Throughout June, DanDan will be donating 10 percent of all sales to a different charity each week. This week it will donate the proceeds to NAACP. The Plate Collective did something similar with its monthly ramen, where they donated 10 percent of sales also to the NAACP.

Our conversation after goes further into the intersection of food and race. We talk about the gentrification of Nashville Hot Chicken and soul food, how foods like watermelon have been used to dehumanize the Black community. We even talk about how Bon Appetit has made a commitment to cover the more social issues in their magazine and website.

We also discuss why it is important to support Black-owned restaurants, breweries and distilleries.

If you want to learn more on this subject, I highly recommend you check out Michael Twitty’s book “The Cooking Gene.” The book is personal memoir about food and race, tracing the author’s roots. Also check out Twitty’s blog, Afroculinaria, where he writes about these issues. I suggest you read his latest piece titled “A Scolding in Seven Pieces.”

And then subscribe to the Gravy podcast. One of my favorite food podcasts that looks a food beyond the plate. They recently received a James Beard Award for their episode titled “Mahalia Jackson’s Glor-fried Chicken.” The podcast tells the story on how Gospel star Mahalia Jackson used fried chicken to push for economic empowerment in the black community.

Radio Milwaukee needs you! Give anything and you’re supporting everything – the music, events, and the community stories you love! Plus, if you give right now you can support 88Nine AND help Milwaukee students receive school supplies!

88Nine Radio Milwaukee