show episodes
 
Get hungry.On the FoodCrush podcast, OnMilwaukee Food & Dining Writer Lori Fredrich and Culture Editor Matt Mueller tackle the ins and outs of dining, food facts, interesting ingredients and myriad topics related to food and beverage.Expect smart talk, lively debate and plenty of fascinating conversations with some of the scene’s most interesting people.
 
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show series
 
Dark kitchens (also called ghost kitchens) have sprung up in droves over the past year or two. But one Chicago-based restaurant was ahead of the game, with their first dark kitchen launching in California in 2017. This week on the FoodCrush podcast, we’re talking with Geoff Alexander, president and CEO of Wow Bao about the swift expansion of the Wo…
 
Local food systems. They’re complex. And getting food from farms to restaurants is just one piece of an intricate puzzle which has yet to be mastered, even in places like Wisconsin where agriculture is abundant. This week, we’re talking with Dave Swanson, chef and owner of Braise restaurant and culinary school and proprietor of Braise RSA, a hospit…
 
The world of wine can be intimidating. The vernacular is filled with tongue-twisting terms. You need a great memory to keep track of regions, varietals and vintages (what are those things anyhow?). And all of those elements can make an education in wine feel like a truly uphill battle. But, it doesn't need to be that way. Just as Rob Levin, a seaso…
 
Nostalgia is a powerful thing. And there may be no nostalgia more powerful than that which accompanies a beloved food. And whether that food is a simple chocolate chip cookie enjoyed after school or a warm, flaky croissant eaten on the streets of Paris there’s a bit of magic in the memories that it conjures. That magic is what the owners of Mid-Way…
 
From its rolling hills, where cows happily graze, to the fertile valleys where small family farms thrive, Wisconsin is a goldmine for outdoor enthusiasts, food lovers and agritourists. On this week's podcast, we’re chatting with returning guest and author Kristine Hansen about her new book, "Wisconsin Farms & Farmers Markets: Tours, Trails & Attrac…
 
Hot dogs may not have originated in the U.S., but for countless Americans, they represent the epitome of comfort, whether eaten from a humble street cart, at a backyard barbeque or – even more memorably – at the ballpark. This week on the podcast, we’re chatting with Hank Stiehl, co-owner of Riley’s Good Dogs, a nascent mobile food concept that’s b…
 
There’s nothing quite like fresh, local fare that’s been caramelized by the caress of live fire. And that’s exactly what you’ll find at Birch, the reimagined Cream City restaurant which specializes in hearth-fired cooking. On this week’s podcast, we’re taking a closer look at all that deliciousness with Chef Kyle Knall, an accomplished chef whose c…
 
Tupelo Honey Cafe, a concept born in Asheville, North Carolina, is slated to open its first Wisconsin location in Downtown Milwaukee before summer’s end. And that means plenty of Southern fare, from tender biscuits and fried chicken to fried green tomatoes. But what makes Tupelo Honey so special? We had many questions. So, on this week’s podcast, w…
 
When folks think about Milwaukee, two things often come to mind: beer and cheese. But how about vegan beer and cheese? The two go hand in hand at Dead Bird Brewing Co., a craft brewery that’s making a splash with not only its beer, but its housemade plant-based deli offerings, including cheese. This week we’re chatting with co-founder Nick Kocis ab…
 
Hamburgers. They come thick and thin. Fresh and frozen. Steamed and charbroiled. With and without cheese. But what is it about a classic old school flat-top burger that keeps us all coming back for more? That’s among the myriad questions Kurt Fogle and Joe McCormick asked themselves while forming the foundations for the Dairyland Old Fashioned Froz…
 
Among the many treasures which India possesses is its culinary diversity, which varies dramatically from north to south and east to west. And that which is showcased in Indian restaurants is just a glimpse of those riches. On this week’s podcast, we’re chatting with Ruta Kahate, cookbook author and owner of Ruta’s Vibrant Indian Cafe about that div…
 
Filipino food is having a moment, with awareness and appreciation of the cuisine growing across the nation. And that’s good news for businesses like Meat on the Street, a food truck that’s been serving a broad range of Filipino dishes since 2014. This week we are talking to Meat on the Street owner Alexa Alfaro about the evolution of the business, …
 
Most people love the idea of buying local. But seeking out local products and getting to the farmers market can be challenging. This week we are chatting with Patrick Darrough of Milwaukee Farmers United and Milwaukee Microgreens about how they took the notions of collaboration and support and used them to create a convenient online farmers market …
 
When Angie Wierzbinski and Amy Plennes purchased The National Cafe from Nell Benton in 2019, the two long-time friends had no idea that, within their first year of business ownership they’d confront not only the usual challenges of entrepreneurism, but also the uncertainty of a global pandemic. During this week’s podcast, we chat with the two owner…
 
It’s been over four years since Tamela Green and Anne Marie Arroyo embarked on the career-changing journey which would result in two now-beloved eateries: MOXIE and Trouble & Sons Pizzeria. During this week’s podcast, we chat with Green and Arroyo about making lemonade from lemons, as they used their 2015 lay-off from Harley-Davidson as an opportun…
 
For over a decade, Katie Rose has been making folks smile from behind the bar (or DJ booth) in Milwaukee. And since 2014, she’s been at the helm of the stellar cocktail program at Goodkind, a neighborhood gem in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. As an owner of Goodkind, Rose has also been at the forefront of decision-making for the restaurant, which – like so …
 
What’s it like to be a bartender during a time when gathering together in bars is a dangerous proposition? How do you feed your creative spirit? Those are just some of the questions we sought to answer when we talked with Matt Tunnell, bar manager at Hotel Madrid, an industry veteran who got his start at Great Lakes Distillery and The Palm Tavern (…
 
Bryant’s Cocktail Lounge has long been a training ground for great bartenders, all of whom get a taste of the industry as they work their way through the bar’s extensive catalog of cocktails and ice cream drinks. Among those bartenders is Jeff Kinder, a Kansas City native whose work at Bryant’s led him to a position as bar manager for The Jazz Esta…
 
For most chefs, opening their first restaurant is both a dream come true and a labor of love. Such was the case for Molly Sullivan, who opened Miss Molly’s Cafe & Pastry shop in 2017. On this week’s podcast, we chat with her about bringing her dream cafe to life, the work she’s put into keeping it going – even during the COVID-19 pandemic – and the…
 
Relationships matter. Just ask Emerald Mills, founder of Diverse Dining. For nearly three years, she’s been bringing individuals from diverse backgrounds together to share a meal and engage in meaningful conversations about race, gender, segregation and any number of related topics. Her goal? Create connections and relationships that people can lev…
 
What’s it like to be the home of Alton Brown-approved crullers? Just ask Joey Carioti of Cranky’s, a doughnut shop that’s been serving up delicious housemade doughnuts (with a side of community) for over 20 years. This week, we’re talking to Carioti, who has taken on the role of second generation operator of the business about life in the doughnut …
 
2020 was a terrible year for many bars and restaurants. But it was a particularly challenging one for Chef Barkha Limbu Daily and Jesse Daily, owners of the cheel, a popular Nepalese restaurant, who found themselves watching helplessly as the restaurant they’d poured seven years into building burned to the ground before their very eyes. In this wee…
 
Life is often a meandering path, and for many, it takes years of exploration to discover the direction our lives were meant to travel. Such was the case for chef and owner Jennifer Betances of Fresh Baked Cafe. On this week’s podcast, we chat with Betances about her culinary journey. It’s a path which began in her home kitchen but which ultimately …
 
Behind every restaurant, there’s a story. And behind that story are people, whose passions and life experiences are so often translated into the food that ends up on the plates they serve. Such is the case at Mina, a new concept which launched at the Crossroads Collective in 2020. To get to the bottom of Mina concept, we’re chatting with Ryan Hoffm…
 
Talk to any small business owner and they’ll share stories about the challenges they’ve faced during the COVID-19 pandemic. But many will also share stories of inspiration, silver linings and growth. For folks like Chef Micah Buck and Jordan Burich of Voyager, the pandemic has offered them the opportunity to reevaluate their business, synchronize t…
 
Pizza is a science. But it’s also an art form. This week on FoodCrush, we’re talking with two experts on the topic: Ann Brock and James Durawa, the owners of Wy’East Pizza. Follow along as Brock and Durawa share their journey to pizza, from their serendipitous meeting in Milwaukee to their move to Portland, Oregon where they established the Wy’East…
 
There’s nothing quite like a freshly baked bagel. The exterior is glossy and caramelized with a distinctive crispness and a soft, chewy interior that has a mellow, yet complex flavor. Top that off with cream cheese and house-cured lox and you’ve got one helluva breakfast, lunch or snack. Of course, that’s just a modicum of what you’ll find at Allie…
 
It’s been over 25 years since the brand now known as Colectivo Coffee was established in Milwaukee. Over those years, the company has seen a name change (from Alterra to Colectivo), growth into new markets including Madison and Chicago and the birth of an adjunct brand, Troubadour Bakery. It’s also faced numerous challenges, from managing growing p…
 
The cuisine of Laos is currently having its moment in cities throughout the U.S. That’s thanks, in large part, to a new crop of young chefs who’ve made it their mission to highlight the bold, vibrant flavors of Lao fare, a cuisine which has all-too-often been eclipsed by dishes from their (larger) neighboring countries of Thailand, Vietnam and Chin…
 
When Taqwa Obaid and her husband Abdullah Habahbeh moved to Wisconsin, it didn’t take long for them to notice a void in the market. There was nowhere to find freshly baked taboun bread, the soft Palestinian flatbread named for the traditional clay ovens in which it was first baked. So Obaid decided to take matters into her own hands, learning to ma…
 
When Odd Duck opened in 2012, it offered diners in Milwaukee something new: a mid-priced restaurant with all the charms of finer dining. Eight years later, the popular restaurant is still serving up their inventive small plates, but in a very different environment. On this week’s podcast, we sat down with Odd Duck owners, Melissa Buchholz and Ross …
 
The Tandem, which opened its doors in November of 2016, has never been an ordinary restaurant. Founded with three goals in mind: to nourish neighbors, to build careers and to support the community, the eatery gleaned a following not only for its menu, but for its commitment to the Lindsay Heights community in which it resides. Even after shuttering…
 
For 30 years, Sanford has been a Milwaukee staple. And Chef Justin Aprahamian has been a part of that story for the last 18. This week on FoodCrush, we sit down with Aprahamian to chat about his experience at the helm of one of the city’s most iconic restaurants and the ways he and his staff have navigated the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. F…
 
If you love food and you're also a fan of “The Sopranos,” you'll likely remember the scene where Vito Spattafore prepares a home-cooked meal of pork chops and vinegar peppers for Jim "Johnny Cakes" Witowski. The Italian-American dish, which is thought to have origins in the Neapolitan dish costolette di maiale con papaccelle, is an East Coast stapl…
 
Cheese makes the world go ‘round here in the Dairy State. But it was also the foundation on which MacKenzie Smith, author at Grilled Cheese Social and chef for the Black Dolphin Inn in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, built her storied career in food. On this week’s podcast, we sat down with Smith to learn more about her journey from food blogger to Food…
 
Restaurants across the nation have been implementing unprecedented levels of creativity to remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic. But what about all of the caterers whose livelihoods are based on folks getting together and celebrating special occasions? This week we talked with Dan Nowak, founder and owner of Tall Guy & A Grill, a catering opera…
 
Close your eyes for a moment and imagine a truly delicious doughnut.Its dough is buoyant and buttery with a subtle, satisfying chew. Its icing is smooth and sweet, but not cloying. It's indulgent; but at the same time balanced and restrained. That's just the sort of doughnut that Chef Jackie Woods sought to create when he opened Donut Monster, a pl…
 
Opening a restaurant is never a small feat. But opening a first restaurant during a pandemic is even moreso. Such was the case for Arielle and Brandon Hawthorne, who first launched their plant-based food truck Twisted Plants in May of 2019 and – just one year later – have successfully made the transition from mobile food operation to restaurant. Th…
 
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues in the U.S., bar and restaurant owners are faced with numerous challenges. For most, questions like “How do I keep both my employees and customers safe?” and “How do I do so while remaining afloat?” are at the fore of every decision made about everyday operations. On this week’s podcast, we chat with Nat Davauer, …
 
As restaurants struggle to make it during the COVID-19 pandemic, many chefs and workers are speaking out and fighting for legislation that aims to preserve the livelihoods of 15.1 million restaurant industry employees. But one Madison chef is taking the fight one step further. She’s running for Wisconsin State Assembly. On this week’s podcast, we t…
 
The Bartolotta Restaurants have built their reputation on their dedication to offering guests memorable dining experiences. In fact, many have looked to them as exemplars, viewing Bartolotta-trained staff as some of the most valued in the industry. But these restaurants, like so many others, have not been immune to the uncertainty and financial str…
 
"If you really want to make a friend, go to someone's house and eat with him...the people who give you their food give you their heart." – Cesar Chavez If you need a bit of joy in your life (we all do), join us on this week’s podcast during which we talk with Victoria Sithy, co-owner of Sweet Basil, a bold new Lao restaurant which opened in the mid…
 
It’s a well known fact that the COVID-19 pandemic has been brutal for bars and restaurants. In fact, that ugly reality is becoming more and more clear as restaurants across the nation struggle to remain open. It’s a quandary that leaves food lovers asking, time and time again: What can be done? Today we’re talking with L. Maxwell McKissick, founder…
 
Seafood is delicious. But much of what makes it to the Midwest isn't as fresh as we think it is. Combine that with the fact that the industrial fishing industry has a history of leaving destruction in its wake. Environmental considerations sit side-by-side with the need for fair, safe working conditions for fishermen and traceability for the seafoo…
 
Opening a restaurant presents myriad challenges under ordinary circumstances. Owners need to spend time and energy attracting diners to their venue, educating them about the food being served and building a core audience that will sustain their business financially for years to come. Even experienced operators know that it takes time to fall into a…
 
Passion is the heart of nearly every conversation we entertain on the FoodCrush podcast. But few guests come to the proverbial table with a more passionate stance than Chef Luke Zahm, co-owner of Driftless Cafe in Viroqua, Wisconsin and host of “Wisconsin Foodie.” From his upbringing in a small town in Vernon County, Wisconsin to the series of even…
 
Everyone seems to love a little bubbly. And that’s likely one of the reasons why the hard seltzer market has taken off in recent years, with industry experts estimating that the beverage segment will will continue to gain momentum, increasing from $500 million in annual sales to $2.5 billion by 2021. Among the brands making headway in the marketpla…
 
Natural wine is definitely having a moment. But what is it? How is it different from “regular” wine? And why is it swiftly becoming one of the most sought-after categories in the beverage market? On this week’s podcast, we’re going deep with Allison and Bradley Kruse, owners of Nonfiction Natural Wines, about exactly that. We delve into the world o…
 
Great bars are spots where you can sit back, relax and unwind after a long day. They’re innately social: a place to gather with friends, celebrate milestones and raise a glass to the future. The best of the best are also pushing boundaries with tasty, innovative cocktails. On this week’s podcast, we’re chatting with Daniel Beres and Tripper Duval o…
 
Smokey. Tender. Mouthwatering. Great barbeque is all of those things. And Chef Jason Alston is serving up the goods at Heaven’s Table BBQ in the Crossroads Collective. But what are the secrets behind the smoked meats that bring customers back time and time again? We chat with Alston about his journey to making some of the best barbeque in the city.…
 
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