4 Must-Eats at North Avenue Market

Food is only one avenue through which this new market aims to bring people together

In a year when food halls lifted by enterprising local entrepreneurs have heated up our dining scene, the new North Avenue Market made a timely arrival. But its mission is more than filling bellies. Rather than defining it simply as a food hall, owner/founder Chris Harris Morse is committed to a broader term – community hub. “This was built as a space to create and regenerate and where people from all backgrounds can feel [welcome],” Harris Morse says of the two-level structure that includes not only nine food and beverage vendors but a performance stage and designated space for offices and conferences or classes. 

The building in the Uptown neighborhood – a converted former Associated Bank – is a bridge builder that Harris Morse hopes will attract folks from all walks and communities, including the city’s West Side and East Tosa. Bridges connect inside, too. In the symbiotic way of food collectives that share kitchen space, there’s a sense that they’re all working together. Perhaps the largest vendor here, Bittercube – known nationally for their line of cocktail bitters – operates the center island bar and the intimate speakeasy Mosler’s Vault (named for the bank vault manufacturer). 

Chris Harris Morse, owner/founder of North Avenue Market; Photo by Marty Peters



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Bittercube proprietor Ira Koplowitz, whom Harris Morse calls his “partner in crime” from early in the market’s development, thinks of the bar not as an independent entity but a complement to the other vendors, so the drink menu turns and twists (brunchy bloodys and dinnery old fashioneds) based on what the other businesses are offering – and that’s everything from breakfast bowls to charcuterie boards to Korean fried chicken sandwiches. 

The vendors’ operating hours vary, but Harris Morse wants a venue that fills many purposes. That could be for an early morning latte and scone from the drive-thru window (place an online order from any vendor and pick it up there) to a dessert or after-dinner drink in the lounge area in front of the gas fireplace. It could also be folks gathering for an off-site work meeting or live music.

Harris Morse says in the end it’ll be the patrons who determine how North Avenue Market evolves. To me, the space does feel rooted in community – a market in a softer, less transactional sense, warmly embodying the saying that’s become a design theme here: “A Place Where Life Comes to Life.”

Market Must-Eats

1. Thai beef curry bowl from Fresh Farm Bowls 

This spoon-worthy dish is a nod to the sweet, aromatic Thai-Indian Massaman curry thick with beef strips, potato, peppers and cinnamon-laced coconut milk sauce ($10).

2. Chicken panini from Sam’s Deli

Served hot and toasty, the flavors and textures – sliced apple, melty fontina cheese, tart cherry, curried mayo – just mingle brilliantly ($15).

3. Honey gochujang chicken sandwich from s’Blendid Boba Tea

Crazy-crunchy, juicy and so flavorful, this Korean fried chicken creation gets its bite from a funky, sweet-spicy red chile sauce ($13).

Honey gochujang chicken sandwich from s’Blendid Boba Tea; Photo by Marty Peters

4. German chocolate cupcake from Arty’s Sweet Talk Cupcakes

It’s all about that decadent coconut pecan frosting, a canopy for the delicate, light chocolate cake. ($3.50-$4.50)

Cupcakes from Arty’s Sweet Talk Cupcakes; Photo by Marty Peters

North Avenue Market

5900 W. NORTH AVE.

Prices: $5-$15

Hours: Mon-Wed 6 a.m.-9 p.m.; Thurs-Fri 6 a.m. -11 p.m.;
Sat 7 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sun 7 a.m.-9 p.m. Individual vendors’ hours vary.

Website: Order online or reserve seats in the
speakeasy Mosler’s Vault at


This story is part of Milwaukee Magazine’s December issue.

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Ann Christenson has covered dining for Milwaukee Magazine since 1997. She was raised on a diet of casseroles that started with a pound of ground beef and a can of Campbell's soup. Feel free to share any casserole recipes with her.