7 Things to Do on West Greenfield Avenue

You’ll find mom & pop shops that cater to niche clienteles, plus places to grab a sweet or enjoy fried chicken and a beer

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1.

Half Nuts 

9617 W. GREENFIELD AVE. 

WHAT: A happy, friendly candy store packed with sweets 

ESTABLISHED: 1990 by Bill and Mary Ziegler 

“It is just so funny to watch kids come in here and lose their minds over all the candy, and sometimes it’s the parents, too,” says Mary. Beyond the shelves piled high with candy of all descriptions, you’ll find a glass counter stuffed with – you guessed it – more candy that you can buy by the pound! If you want to bite into the Ziegler family history, the Giant Bar was the staple of the George Ziegler Co. in Milwaukee back in 1911 and sold for only 5 cents. 

RECOMMENDATION: The Original Ziegler Giant Bar, $1.79

Photo by Pearl Nemecek

 

 



 
 
2.

Aggie’s Bakery & Cake Shop 

7328 W. GREENFIELD AVE. 

WHAT: A bright pink bakery that carries everything from bread to dessert

ESTABLISHED: 1977 by Aggie Bongiorno  

Rachel Schmidbauer purchased the bakery from Aggie about two years ago. “It was in the stars. They wanted another family to take over,” says Schmidbauer. “It was meant to be.” When you enter, you’ll see a wide range of creative confections in the display cases, and you can catch a glimpse of the pastries in process through a window into the kitchen. Schmidbauer couldn’t be happier about the bakery’s location on Greenfield Avenue. “The relationship we have with the city and West Allis is phenomenal,” she says.

RECOMMENDATION: Cupcake, $4

Photo by Pearl Nemecek



 
 
3.

Model Empire 

7116 W. GREENFIELD AVE. 

WHAT: A vast, brightly lit store carrying an enormous inventory of model kits 

ESTABLISHED: 1970 by the Geiger family 

Alex Geiger, the son of founder Gerald Geiger, has a lot of knowledge about models. “I’ve been doing this since I was a kid and we were selling models at flea markets,” says Alex. In a shrinking industry, Alex worries about the technological distractions stealing our attention from doing something artistic, which also can teach us about history. “While you are putting it together, you can look up the colors to make it more historically accurate while learning about it,” he says. 

RECOMMENDATION: Tamiya Ferrari F310B, $33

Photo by Pearl Nemecek



 
 
4.

B&K Bar Supplies  

7100 W. GREENFIELD AVE. 

WHAT: A store that feels like a museum of relics from every restaurant and bar you have ever visited  

ESTABLISHED: 1991 by Don Falk 

“We advertise that we sell everything but the booths,” says Falk. As a small business, B&K offers a personal touch that will set you in the right stool. “I love it when customers come in and we get them in a great product,” he said. “They are always so happy.” Those who are not restaurant owners might come in and grab a few bar stools and some glassware. “I love that basement bars are coming back,” says Falk. “COVID has a lot of people doing home projects.” 

RECOMMENDATION: 24 oz. polished shaker, $14

Photo by Pearl Nemecek



 
 
5.

TomKen’s Bar and Grill

8001 W. GREENFIELD AVE. 

WHAT: A make-yourself-at-home bar filled with the enticing aroma of fried chicken

ESTABLISHED: 1991 by Ken Felton and Tom Falk 

What started as a spontaneous idea has evolved into a local watering hole that has endured for 30 years. Although the mash-up name isn’t exactly imaginative, TomKen’s award-winning fried chicken has enough flash to make the place a bit of a destination.  If you frequent here, you will find a second home on their wooden stools, “We have regulars who walk in and I am already making their drink, and we have some who passed, and we all think of them often,” says Ken’s daughter Gina.  

RECOMMENDATION: Fried chicken bucket, eight pieces, $18.50

Photo by Pearl Nemecek



 
 
6.

Cook’s Cake Decorating and Candy Supplies

7321 W. GREENFIELD AVE. 

WHAT: A confectionary wonderland of ingredients and supplies 

ESTABLISHED: 1970 by Elaine Cook  

“Grandma C.” started the business in her basement; now her son James Cook runs the popular shop. If you have heard of them, you may just be able to call yourself a baker. “It’s all word of mouth; bakers talk to bakers,” he says. “But we get people who come in for the first time who just started, and we get bakeries getting our products in bulk.”

RECOMMENDATION: Comfort-grip cookie cutter, $4

Photo by Pearl Nemecek



 
 
7.

Milwaukee Sewing Machine Co.  

7226 W. GREENFIELD AVE. 

WHAT: A repair shop to give life to your old machine and a store to get a new one

ESTABLISHED: 1946 by Andy Smith 

Don Minch Jr. is a third-generation sewing machine repairman in a mechanically inclined family. “We offer so much more than those big manufacturers – we do full repairs and cleanings, and do it right,” says Minch, who claims that sewing is making a comeback. “The pandemic got people dusting off old sewing machines,” he says. 

RECOMMENDATION: Mettler thread spools, $3

Photo by Pearl Nemecek


Transportation Suggestion

Bublr Bike

Hop on a Bublr at the docking station on West Greenfield and South 70th Street and cruise the avenue in comfort.


 

This story is part of Milwaukee Magazine‘s June issue.

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Editor-in-chief Carole Nicksin has worked in publishing for over 20 years. Prior to joining the staff of Milwaukee Magazine, she was the style director at All You, a Time Inc. publication. She also served as decorating editor at Home magazine. Carole has written for the New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, InStyle and numerous other publications.