Don’t Miss This Third Ward Pop-Up

The Pier Garden pop-up will be at Milwaukee’s newest wedding venue through October.

The Starling Cheese and Charcuterie Plate; Photo courtesy of Dan Nowak

There are so many reasons to love this new venture: Detroit-style pizzas, charcuterie boards and cocktails with one honey of a water view. All this can be yours at the Pier Garden, a pop-up starting in early August at the Third Ward’s new wedding/special event venue The Starling (102 N. Water St.). The pop-up will run through October, says Tall Guy owner Dan Nowak.

It’s a partnership between the folks at Tall Guy & a Grill catering and the owners of The Starling. Tall Guy is the exclusive caterer for the space, which is part of the same ownership group that runs The Ivy House in the Fifth Ward. Nowak calls the arrangement a “natural evolution to have a permanent home.” Like The Starling, Tall Guy is a local business with several offshoots – Flour Girl & Flame pizza and the new Everyone’s Ice Cream, which offers scoops from local makers such as Purple Door, Scratch and Liv a Little.  



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The Pier Garden will give both West Allis-based Tall Guy and Flour Girl a visibility boost. Plus, if you’ve had Flour Girl’s Detroit-style pizza – which was offered periodically at their brick-and-mortar location (8121 W. National Ave.) – it’s back! These rich pies are super different from MKE thin-crust, by the way. They’re thick and chewy, almost focaccia like, and baked in a pan. The pier Garden will serve three varieties – cheese, Pep In Yer Step (four-cheese blend, house pickled peppers, pepperoni) and SmolWaukee (fennel sausage, foraged mushrooms) – along with a build-your-own option ($6-$9). The menu also features snacks (beer-battered fried pickles, pretzels, beer-battered fries), burrata salad ($12) and cheese and charcuterie plates ($24-$33) that highlight Badger state-made foods, including Wisconsin cheeses, Underground Meats, Potter’s Crackers and Flour Girl’s hot honey. The Pier Garden will also serve a Sunday brunch.

The drink menu is a mix of seasonal craft cocktails, local craft beers and specialty wines. Some nonalcoholic options, as well.

As for where to eat and hang out, The Starling has 50 seats inside (designated for this concept) and 75 outside.

Hours: Tues-Fri 4-10 p.m.; Sun 10 a.m.-2 p.m., with the kitchen open 4-8 p.m. on weeknights

More Photos: 

Pep in Yer Step Detroit-style pizza; photo courtesy of Dan Nowak

Fired Pickles with House Ranc; Photo courtesy of Dan Nowak

Flour Girl’s Hot Honey Ketchup and Smokin T Aioli; Photo courtesy of Dan Nowak

Smolwaukee Detroit-style pizza slice; Photo courtesy of Dan Nowak



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.