DanDan will temporarily close during the second week of Summerfest, but not before throwing one epic party.

Around this time every year, most of the big Milwaukee music venues shut down for a couple weeks rather than compete directly against Summerfest. It’s sort of become an annual realization that outside of the overcrowded lakeside music grounds there’s little live music to see in the city. It makes fiscal sense, of course. The World’s Largest Music Festival™ aims its sights on every kind of music fan in the surrounding area (opening night alone features classic rock, EDM, soul, alt-rock, indie-pop, blues, heavy metal and The Spin Doctors). And those with a distaste for the festival would rather steer clear of Downtown in general than deal with the unusual crowds infiltrating the city.

Unfortunately, this year the festival has swallowed up an all-new prey: Third Ward American-Chinese restaurant DanDan (360 E. Erie St.) will close its doors temporarily during the second week of the Big Gig (July 3-9). But while this means drivers stuck in a traffic jam waiting to park in the Summerfest lot can’t run in and grab some to-go short rib and foie gras potstickers, the restaurant decided to throw its own summer festival this weekend instead.

On Sunday, June 25, DanDan hosts an all-day music/dining festival featuring local bands and food trucks. It’s called The Little Gig. While the event may pale in size compared to the massive 11-day extravaganza, the Little Gig features a premier line-up of all local musicians and arguably the best food trucks in the city. No Saz’s deep-fried combo platter, Reuben rolls or pizza cones here. Local vendors include Iron Grate BBQ, GypsyTaco, Goodkind, Hello Falafel, Foxfire Food Truck and The Vanguard. Drinks will be provided by Pabst and Lakefront breweries.

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Entrance to the event is free. Doors open at noon. The music starts at 1 p.m. and features performances from Dramatic Lovers, Midnight Reruns, Whips, Dana Coppafeel, Maiden Milwaukee, Christopher Whyb Gerard and Tarik Moody.

If you needed any more reason to check this out, here’s a small sampling of dishes that will be offered:

Hello Falafel

Lamb Shawarma

Vegan Mushroom Shawarma

Non-alcoholic beverages – “probably the house lemonade, cold brew and iced tea”


Gypsy Street Corn on the Cob

Iron Grate Bbq Co.

MKE Riblets (hickory smoked mini spare ribs) with house BBQ sauce, “South Side Drizzle”

Frito Pie with chili, shredded cheddar and pickled onions)

(The restaurant’s “Ribbed for your Pleasure” t-shirts will also be on sale)


Italian Roast Pork Sandwich with rapini pesto and provolone

Spicy Seitan Sandwich

Wrinkled New Potatoes with guajillo aioli or cucumber “aioli”

Foxfire Food Truck

Hot Fried Chicken Sandwich with pickles and mayo

Braised Black Bean filled Pupusa served with curtido slaw (vegan and gluten free)

Halloumi Fries topped with honey-turmeric yogurt sesame seeds and fresh mint (vegetarian)