Milwaukeeans who leave the city to study, to build their careers or
simply to see the world realize they can never truly say goodbye. When
they return, they find there really is no place like home. Then there
are others who relocate here from other points across the globe and
are finding a lot to love about their adopted city, from the scenic
beauty of Lake Michigan to the friendliness of the people, and a whole
New York Times best-selling author
She was raised
on Milwaukee’s West Side, and Lesley Kagen’s career in advertising
and acting took her to New York, Chicago, Colorado and Los Angeles.
When she had her children, though, Kagen wanted them to grow up in the
community she truly loved. "There’s a feel to Milwaukee I don’t
think you can get anywhere else in the universe," Kagen says.
That feeling, she says, comes "so much from the people, the way
they approach life. It’s incredibly appealing. And we’re funny as
Kagen set her
first novel, "Whistling in the Dark," in Milwaukee, and
three subsequent books are set in Wisconsin, including her newest
title, "Mare’s Nest." That story is set in a town like
Cedarburg, where she now lives, because "it’s just like living
in Milwaukee in the ’50s."
Hauck, c. 1880 owner/chef
Milwaukee, Thomas Hauck grew up in Port Washington and moved with his
family to Stone Mountain, Ga., in 1988. His career as a chef took him
to study at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., and
to hone his art in France and the famous restaurant, Citronelle, in
In 2011 Hauck
moved back to Milwaukee, working at The Pfister Hotel and Mason Street
Grill before opening his critically acclaimed c. 1880.
a great place to do just about anything," Hauck says, especially
for those who want to do what they love and raise a family.
walkable, it’s doable," he adds, and its culture is teeming
with exciting things to do. "I don’t think it’s going to
remain a secret much longer."
Ede, Edible Milwaukee publisher
It wasn’t just
the opportunity to launch Edible Milwaukee magazine that brought Jen
Ede back to Milwaukee last October. After going to school in Madison,
working on her master’s degree in Belarus, and working in Chicago
and Boston, Ede wanted to come home to her family.
always felt a little displaced in Boston," she says. "It’s
a really great city and has a lot to offer, but I guess I was always
thinking of my family back home."
settled into a 1930s-era apartment on the border of Milwaukee and
Wauwatosa, and is finding it as comfortable as the reception she’s
getting for the magazine.
had unbelievable support," she says, citing "the community
partnerships that have emerged to put us on the road to becoming a
Poytinger, Splash Studio co-owner
What he learned
at Milwaukee’s German Immersion School as a kindergartner and
first-grader set the tone for David Poytinger’s life.
"I built a
career on that passion for language and skill in language, because
what I learned as a kid carried through for me all the way into my
late 20s," he says.
studied abroad in Germany, and earned a Fulbright Scholarship to go to
Austria. From there, he moved to south Florida where business took him
back to Austria on a regular basis.
his wife, Marla Hahn, then moved to Madison to earn their MBA degrees.
Combining their experience with the arts and the brewing industry, the
couple recently opened Splash Studio in Milwaukee’s Third Ward,
where you can create a work of art while enjoying your favorite
a groundswell right now of people investing time, energy and resources
into making this city really cool," Poytinger says. "You can
really shape the future and shape the culture of the city."
When she moved
to San Francisco in 1991, Karen Kempf, who grew up in Waukesha, was
surprised at how little Californians knew about Wisconsin. She found
herself repeatedly saying, "No, I don’t know Fonzie," and
"Yes, we all like beer and cheese."
Kempf, who also
lived and worked in New York and Chicago, says that moving back to
Milwaukee made her feel "more grounded."
are great and the quality of life is just … richer," she says,
and "there’s nothing like hanging out on a lake in Wisconsin in
Kempf says she
enjoys exploring the shops and restaurants in the city’s Third Ward
and surrounding neighborhoods, but her favorite place remains the
lakefront, a place she loved as a kid.
exactly the same to me in so many ways," Kempf says. "She
has aged quite gracefully."
Jackson, Milwaukee Film artistic and executive director
Jonathan Jackson discovered his passion for film at college in North
Carolina. Seeking a school with a dedicated film program, he
discovered UW-Milwaukee. A student job running the Union Theater led
to a full time job in 2002 when he helped create the Milwaukee
International Film Festival. Now a full-fledged Milwaukeean, Jackson
says he loves "the casual nature of Milwaukee." "I like
to dress casually, and I can go anywhere at any time and I’m
welcomed." Through the film festival Jackson witnesses the
positive political and philanthropic nature of our town. "The
support for the arts and culture in this community is incredible, and
I’ve experienced it firsthand."
Urban Ecology Center executive director
relocated to Milwaukee 17 years ago from the Washington, D.C., area.
One of his favorite aspects of the city is its bikeability. "It’s
exceptionally bikeable, the more severe the weather, the more
enjoyable the experience," he says. Lake Michigan is a favorite
bike stop for Leinbach, who lives in Whitefish Bay with his wife and
two children. "I ride my bike home and I jump in the lake or get
out my kayak to clear out the workday."
Stolman, Scalamandre president
Stolman where he lives and he might answer: "Seat 4F."
Stolman has homes in his three favorite cities: New York, Palm Beach,
Fla., and Wauwatosa. This Connecticut native and his partner,
Brookfield native Rich Wilkie, divide their time equally among the
three. "This crazy globe-trotting lifestyle is driven not only by
our jobs but also by our families," he says. Wilkie’s family is
in Wauwatosa and Stolman’s family is in Palm Beach. When in
Milwaukee, Stolman and Wilkie love to shop at the Metcalf’s Sentry,
Puhl’s hardware, hang out at Elsa’s on Friday nights and catch a
niece’s or nephew’s weekend soccer game.
Van Rite, Hinterland executive chef
should consider themselves lucky to have Dan Van Rite back in town.
Born in Green Bay, he studied architecture at UW-Milwaukee, attended
culinary school in Portland and worked at Hinterland Green Bay. After
that he worked as a private chef for a New Jersey family. When he
later heard that Hinterland would open a second location on Erie
Street, he was intrigued: "I really liked Milwaukee when I was
here so I decided to take the opportunity." Van Rite appreciates
the collaborative attitude within the local restaurant community.
"It’s a great community for chefs," he says. "We
share ideas and support each other."
Clements, Milwaukee Repertory artistic director
years as artistic director of England’s Derby Theater, Mark Clements
knew he found something special with The Rep. "The Rep is
regarded as one of the jewels in the country’s regional theater
crown. We’re lucky to have an organization like the United
Performing Arts Fund that raises money solely to support the
performing arts." Clements and his wife love the local dining
scene. "We have our favorite restaurants like Crazy Water,
Sanfords and Kil@wat.
discovering as a first-time father that Milwaukee’s a good place to
bring children up — there’s a lot to be happy and grateful