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New Year, New Digs: Renovations Happening all Around Milwaukee's Food Scene

Jan. 23, 2017
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Mason Street Grill

Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, Mason Street Grill is currently closed for renovations. The steak and seafood restaurant is connected to The Pfister Hotel, though it has a separate entrance. They're well known for their fried surf clams, Florida stone crab claws, Kansas City strip steaks and inexpensive happy hour specials. (And if you ask me, their creamy summer gazpacho deserves some recognition, too.)

Renovations will include new wood flooring, reupholstered seating with dark brown leather and upgrading the wine display room. There will also be an emphasis on new artwork to be displayed throughout the restaurant, curated by Linda Marcus. The popular kitchen counter, a long bar-like area that overlooks the open kitchen, will get a complete overhaul. The space will be divided in half to create two separate chef's counters, which will have special menus. It sounds like they're aiming for a more intimate chef's table-type experience.

To go along with the renovations, Mason Street Grill is expanding their beverage offerings, showcasing regional wine varieties (to go along with the new display room, no doubt) and whiskey and bourbon options. The restaurant is scheduled to reopen Feb. 9.


Gilles Frozen Custard

If you haven't been to Gilles since last summer, you're in for a surprise. Renovation work has been ongoing for a few months now. It's not quite completed, but there are only some minor things left to be done, like installing new menu boards.

Most noticeable in this renovation is the prominent new metal roof that slopes towards the north parking lot. Large windows facing the parking lot let in more light and give it a more welcoming feel. There's also a walk-up window on the west side of the building. The entrance there was removed, but a walk-up window will alleviate congestion inside during busy times. Kitchen equipment updates were also completed. Gilles has remained open throughout construction.



Glorioso's has begun renovations on the space they moved out of in 2010 and left closed to the public. The 1020 E Brady space, right across the street from their new, bigger digs, will be used for cooking classes and events and a commercial kitchen that will support their catering business and food production. The original front of the building will be restored during the renovation, and the space is expected to open this summer.


Cream Puff Pavilion

The upcoming WI state budget will include a Capital Budget Request for $6 million in order to renovate and expand the Dairy Building at State Fair Park, according to Governor Walker. The money will come from private donations.

The building was last renovated in 1994. Most people remember when it was just a side building connected to the main exhibit halls that are long gone and were replaced by the new Expo Center elsewhere on the grounds. A renovation is badly needed, but don't get too excited, because it's not expected to be completed until 2019.


Upcoming Dining and Drinking Events

Jan. 26: Whiskey and Caramel Warm-Up at Great Lakes Distillery. Dinner (they have a full kitchen now, did you know?) and a cocktail pairing made with KK Whiskey and Becky's Blissful Caramels. $18 per plate/glass.

Jan. 27: Wine & Swine at Bacchus. Five courses made with Heritage Berkshire Hogs and paired with wine. Tickets $85 plus tax and gratuity.

Jan. 29: Milwaukee Chili Bowl at Potawatomi Hotel and Casino. Eat a bunch of chili samples from local restaurants. Tickets $20 at the event.


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