The new Wisconsin Entertainment and Sports Center – home base for the Milwaukee Bucks, Marquette University men’s basketball and other events – is going to tug on your appetite. Set to open August 26, the facility will have quite the lineup of vendors, offering everything from burgers and tacos to tuna poke and barbecue. There’s a strong local focus to that roster, but expect to see national food & bev vendors such as Chick-fil-A, too.
And that’s not all. The nearby entertainment block will also have plenty of distractions, as Good City Brewing announced in May its plans to open a taproom on that block in early 2019. Another recently revealed tenant for the entertainment block is Punch Bowl Social, a Denver-based chain and purveyor that combines dining, craft beverages and gaming (which it will offer in 24,000 square feet of space). The cuisine at the MKE location of Punch Bowl Social will marry American diner fare with a modern take on Mexican cooking. A James Beard Award-winning chef (Hugh Acheson, known for opening several restaurants in Georgia) designed the menu.
The big emphasis at the arena is the initiative known as MKEat, a food & bev program that focuses on local businesses, including:
- Iron Grate BBQ
- Colectivo Coffee
- Milwaukee Pretzel Company
- The Laughing Taco
- FreshFin Poke
- Drink Wisconsinbly
- Klement’s Sausage
- Cedar Crest Ice Cream
- Canal Street Pizza (co-developed by the founders of Palermo’s Pizza).
One component of the arena is the Southside Market (on the upper concourse), where Freshfin, Klement’s Test Kitchen and Mini-waukee (serving miniature-size food items) will be located. (The majority of the vendors will be on the main concourse.) The Southside Market is an ode to Milwaukee Public Market.