Officials at “On the Bayou” Cajun restaurant hoping for business boom in Bronzeville

MILWAUKEE -- There's a new restaurant aimed at bringing the heartbeat back to what was once the heart of the city. "On the Bayou" recently opened its doors in Milwaukee's Bronzeville neighborhood.

"Oh yeah, they ain't doing nothing like this in the city," said Chef Gregory Johnson.

On the Bayou

On the Bayou

Chef Gregory Johnson

Don't bother asking Chef Johnson about the best entree on his menu. He will tell you it's too hard to choose.

"Look at the love we put in the food," said Tony McGaughy, co-owner.

Chef Jonson and McGaughy, his business partner, opened On the Bayou on Martin Luther King Drive.

"It was silent for a long time. It's about time it comes back," said McCaughy.

The Cajun restaurant is one of a handful of small, family-run businesses to recently set up shop in the Bronzeville neighborhood -- bringing new life to old and often empty storefronts.

"Anything we can do to drum up business and keep the Bronzeville area rich," said McGaughy.

Pete's Fruit Market

Pete's Fruit Market joined the neighborhood three months ago.

"We are in the heart of the community," said Anna Marie Tsitiridis with Pete's Fruit Market. "We want to create jobs in the area and we want to create a safe place for people and families to come to."

Pete's Fruit Market

Pete's and On the Bayou have formed a partnership of sorts. It's a business plan they are willing to offer to other Bronzeville entrepreneurs.

"The more businesses, the more restaurants -- I welcome restaurants into the area," said Johnson. "That way we can keep the dollars right here on King Drive."

Just 6 weeks in, On the Bayou's Cajun cuisine is already drawing customers from around the block and around the city.

On the Bayou

"You can't get these flavors nowhere else in town," Johnson said.

They're hoping for a business boom in the Bronzeville neighborhood.

"It is coming back. I know it's coming back," McGaughy said.

Both Pete's and On the Bayou will need more foot traffic, but so far, they are doing well.