‘Nationally acclaimed’ food hall among plans for revival of Shops of Grand Avenue

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MILWAUKEE — First opened in the 1980s, the Shops of Grand Avenue has seen both major success and economic downfall. On Thursday, Dec. 6, plans for the revival of one of Milwaukee’s largest indoor shopping facilities were revealed.

“We’re bringing it back in a different sense,” said Omar Shaikh with 3rd Street Market Hall.

Located at 3rd and Wisconsin, you’ve come to know it as the Shops of Grand Avenue.

3rd Street Market Hall

Omar Shaikh

“Now it is simply ‘The Avenue,'” said Tony Janowiec, CEO of Interstate Development Partners.

In the heart of downtown, “The Avenue” will feature three main components: offices, apartments and a food hall.

“Something different than I think Milwaukee, Wisconsin, or anywhere in the Midwest has seen,” said Shaikh.

Shaikh is spearheading the 35,000 square foot dining space dubbed “3rd Street Market Hall.” He said he found inspiration for it in all corners of the United States.

3rd Street Market Hall

3rd Street Market Hall

“Everywhere from LA to Atlanta to New York to Minneapolis to Chicago. Literally traveled to the best food halls in America,” said Shaikh.

Set to open in 2019, six initial vendors were unveiled Thursday:

  • Stone Creek: A pioneer craft coffee roaster founded in 1993 in Milwaukee that employs an army of coffee geeks committed to building lasting relationships with its producer-partners around the world, an ambition summarized in its “Farm to Cup” ethos.
  • Milk Can: A startup concept by Milwaukee chef Kurt Fogle and the team behind Muskego’s Bass Bay Brewhouse.  With Wisconsin roots, the partners are linked by a common passion: Hometown classics—like burgers, cheese curds and custard reimagined and made better from scratch.
  • Funky Fresh: Funky Fresh Spring Rolls are handcrafted spring rolls made with fresh and local (when available) ingredients and never deep fried but grilled in healthier oils. Founder Trueman McGee strives to bring not only delicious meals, but nutritious options to his customers.
  • Donut Monster: Chef Jackie Woods along with his wife Sara will open a permanent Donut Monster pop-up at 3rd Street Market Hall.  Made daily from scratch with the best available ingredients, these donuts are beloved for their natural tastes of quality fruit in pursuit of the elusive “guiltless” treat.
  • Char’d: The non-traditional menu is rooted in familiar Korean flavors while showcasing Chef Yosub Yoon’s remarkable creativity featuring everything from super rice bowl dishes to quick bites like Korean fried chicken wings.
  • Waterford Wine & Spirits: Offering a unique curational tasting and purchasing experience, Waterford’s authoritative collection is unmatched in the region.  Founder Ben Christiansen makes available the opportunity to appreciate every drop.

“A lot of work in between now and then,” said Shaikh.

“It’s a complex puzzle of a project,” said Janowiec.

Shops of Grand Avenue

The plans have been years in the making.

“There has been an enormous amount of work over the past three years, since we acquired the building, preparing for this point, so it’s not like today is Day One. It’s Day 1,000,” said Janowiec.

“There’s a lot of nostalgia here. I remember coming here as a kid, and I loved it. We’re going to bring back something that’s nationally acclaimed,”  said Shaikh.

The entire building will close for continued construction in the New Year. When all is said and done — more than $90 million will be invested in the project.

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