In Bay View, the businesses along South Kinnickinnic Avenue north of Oklahoma get the lion’s share of attention. But listen. There are plum little pockets off that drag that hold a diamond in the rough. Take a certain old gas station at 2504 E. Oklahoma Ave. The garage dates to 1933 (per City of Milwaukee property data), an its sleek, streamline moderne kind of look draws the eye.
Honeypie/Palomino co-owner Valeri Lucks recognizes cool old bones when she sees them. And she’d been watching these very bones for a while before the property was purchased (by local developer Scott Genke) and available for lease. Lucks scooped it up as the location for SmallPie cafe, which – with an opening that could be as early as July – will highlight one of the things for which Honeypie is known (savory hand pies) and establish its own identity as a little indoor-outdoor spot to hang out, have a bite and a beer or wine. The garage door will open to a sweet patio with sweet tables, landscaping and bike racks.
Besides various savory mini pies, SmallPie’s menu include bagels, cheesy pull-apart bread, mini sweet pies, cookies and a few tea breads. For lighter but more substantial fare, there will be rotating salads of greens and grains. Beverages will include beer and wine, sodas, Rishi teas and both a house Anodyne coffee blend and Pilcrow nitro cold brew. Hours are expected to be daily, roughly 7 a.m.-9 p.m., with some variation in the winter.
As for the ownership of the restaurants, the bakeshop and the soon-to-open cafe, Valeri Lucks’ brother Adam – who started his MKE restaurant career at Comet Cafe when he was all of 21 – is stepping away from running restaurants to focus on woodworking. Adam is making the custom white oak pieces (the counter, tables and shelves) for SmallPie.
Valeri’s partner at SmallPie is Honeypie Bakeshop manager Meagan Lewinski, who was one of the first employees at Honeypie when it opened in 2009. More to come closer to SmallPie’s opening date.