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The dish on dining
These new restaurants boast chefs with a personal, singular vision and fantastic culinary skills, providing them enough creative leeway to wow diners.

Photos by Matt Haas

May 2015


Artisan 179

Walk into Artisan 179 and you immediately feel as if you’ve been transported to the middle of an urban bistro with its plush seats, sophisticated bar and high design, including locally designed artwork on the walls, tables and along the staircase. But when you turn around, you’re greeted with a view of Pewaukee Lake beckoning right outside the front door, just across the street from the restaurant’s ample patio.

Having just opened in February, Artisan 179 is a collaboration among restaurateurs Carrie and Dale Boehm and Ted Anderson. Previously, the Boehms operated Piano Blu and then Lakefront Grille in this downtown Pewaukee space. Anderson joined the venture in April 2014.

After auditioning several chefs, they named Richard Sneed, originally from Philadelphia, as executive chef with his sous chef, Dane Rios. Sneed uses as many locally sourced and hand-selected ingredients as possible. These ingredients form the base of his from-scratch cooking. Except for a handful of breads, pastas and ice cream, everything is made in-house, including the syrups and bitters behind the bar.

The menu is globally inspired, but it’s authentic in nature. "I want to transport you back to where you first loved a dish," Sneed explains. That means, when you dip your chopsticks into your bowl of pork belly ramen with soy-roasted mushrooms and soy-seasoned eggs, he wants you to be taken back to Ramen Alley in Sapporo, Japan, where you first tasted it. To make it authentic, Sneed takes two days to make the pork-based broth, and he says "the broth should feel like a hug."

For starters, try the petite beet salad with tiny roasted beets lined up over a bed of honey-whipped Laura Chenel chevre and topped with pistachio crumbles and micro greens.

Besides the ramen, which pairs perfectly with the Meiomi pinot noir, he makes an Italian crab and smoked tomato risotto, which pairs well with a Wente Morning Fog chardonnay. Other highlights are a New South duck gumbo that tastes of the Louisiana bayou and pan-seared duck over the lightest, billowiest, Tahitian-vanilla-laced sweet potato purée with caramelized Brussels sprouts. Desserts include such tasty selections as the house-made truffles and grown-up chocolate chip cookies with a bourbon milk shake.

Cooking classes, wine dinners and other, art-related events are also planned.

179 W. Wisconsin Ave., Pewaukee,, (262) 691-0200


Milwaukee’s had a few pop-up restaurants, but perhaps none with as big of a following as Chef Greg Leon’s Amilinda, which used to operate just once a week out of The National Café. Leon’s Portuguese and Spanish-influenced cuisine has gained a following, and later this spring, he’s opening his own, permanent place in downtown Milwaukee.

Working with his husband, Orry Leon, who handles the business side of things, Greg says his fans should expect many of the same things they loved about the pop-up Amilinda, but he says he gets to be a little bit more intricate because his team will have more space to work in. "I like to describe my style of cooking as hearty food with a soul behind it," he says. "I got into this because I grew up around food, and I love cooking and being able to share food with others."

The new place highlights exposed, Cream City brick walls, with dark hardwood floors and a long banquette seating area. Diners headed to Amilinda will be able to view the kitchen from the sidewalk. "We want people to feel as if we’re inviting them into our own home," says the chef. The restaurant is scheduled to open at the end of May or in early June.

315 E. Wisconsin Ave.,, (414) 369-3683

Company Brewing

Chef and restaurateur Karen Bell wowed Milwaukeeans when she opened Bavette La Bouchiere, but local foodies should expect to be surprised and delighted in Bell’s latest venture with partner George Bregar. The two have teamed up to open Company Brewing, a craft brewery and fine dining restaurant.

On the beer side, expect to see their versions of Belgian and American brews, with 32 draft lines, 16 dedicated to beer only, that can also fill up growlers to go. "It’s small, so we can have a lot of fun and do some one-off batches of beers," says Bregar.

The food will feature Bell’s expert cuisine, and her new, large kitchen provides the space to showcase her culinary prowess. Expect to see some great vegetarian dishes, fish-forward entrees and, of course, house-made charcuterie.

The Riverwest restaurant boasts an expansive space with gorgeous copper accents and a standout metallic bar. The corner stage area is highlighted, and the design of the space feels appropriate to the neighborhood, with sophisticated flourishes. Come summer the place to be will be on the expansive patio.

735 E. Center St.,, (414) 334-0538


This story ran in the May 2015 issue of: