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Comfort food is having a major moment. But for Paul Funk, executive chef at Saint Kate — The Arts Hotel, simple food beautifully prepared has always had its own cachet. It’s a philosophy carefully honed since Funk was a kid in Racine, cooking beside his grandma.

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What is truly the best of MKE, especially in a year-plus that has challenged each of us in such unimaginable and complex ways? It’s simple, really. The same qualities that have always defined the people of this region: resilience and spirit, determination and cooperation, art, heart and soul. Read on for moving stories about those very things, and the teamwork and creativity that are sure to make metro Milwaukee all the better for years to come.

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GERMANTOWN — The new Big Boy coming to Germantown is not open today as was originally expected, but it will be open next week.

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WAUKESHA – With the Milwaukee Bucks winning the third game in the NBA Finals Sunday night, Bucks fans are showing support for their team and are also patronizing local restaurants, bars, hotels and stores.

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My dear friends, last year at this time we were all in survivor mode. The pandemic was still new and we were all trying to figure out what to do, how to deal with it, and how to protect ourselves, our families and our businesses.

Oconomowoc’s Patricia Kiefer knows what it’s like to hike among Italy’s fragrant lemon groves, olive trees and vineyards. She has dined in Michelin-starred restaurants in small towns in Portugal. She can find prime spots to picnic in the French countryside and recommend wines from a centuries-old vineyard in South Africa. 

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Welcome back summer socializing with this season’s area beer gardens and toast MKE’s continued recovery.

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RICHFIELD — Badger Burger Company will now be closed on Tuesdays, dropping a day from its schedule to cope with a shortage of workers without overtaxing the people they do have.

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Dan Jacobs and Dan Van Rite knew they’d have something new in the offing when they closed Fauntleroy, their acclaimed modern French restaurant, in summer 2020, after valiant attempts to pivot the business and keep their good people working. They just weren’t sure what that might be. 

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A conservative legal outfit on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against President Joe Biden's administration for its prioritization of restaurants and bars owned by women and certain minorities in its COVID-19 relief package, arguing white men are being “pushed to the back of the line" for aid for their eateries.

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WAUKESHA — Chicken wings are a popular staple for those dining out or grabbing takeout, but a national wing shortage has bars and restaurants struggling to navigate a way forward.

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OCONOMOWOC — Crafty Cow in Oconomowoc is going to be seeing some changes as the burger and beer restaurant announced it plans on building a patio on the back part of its location downtown.

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WAUKESHA — Detroit-Style pizza is coming to Waukesha this week Thursday or Friday with the opening of the new Jet’s Pizza location along Sunset Avenue.

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Take the opportunity to salute the local businesses who’ve made 2020 into 2021 a bit brighter for you, your home, your look and your outlook. 

Nominate NOW through May 21, 2021

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WAUKESHA — Although economic activity is trending back towards pre-pandemic levels and COVID-19 cases remain low, some sectors remain more hamstrung than others. One in particular continues to struggle despite consumer enthusiasm: restaurants.

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DELAFIELD — An Olive Garden restaurant proposed for the former Perkins Restaurant site at 2440 Milwaukee St. received an initial site plan approval from the Plan Commission on Wednesday, but not without commissioners asking applicants to make adjustments.

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MILWAUKEE — Academy Award winner John Ridley is trying his hand at being a bar owner in Milwaukee. His No Studios is opening Skyline Bar + Lounge in the heart of Milwaukee’s Brewery District which will feature 360-degree city views and a unique sake collection.

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Woven baskets and wooden crates brimming with tomatoes, artichokes and squash. A local musician’s guitar picking thrumming through the park. And as you stroll among the booths, aromas of breakfast sandwiches, fresh-brewed coffee and tamales with a kick coax you along.

WAUKESHA — A Waukesha favorite, Pat’s Rib Place, is headed to the Milwaukee Public Market to open the business’s second location and provide some Southern-style barbecue to the Milwaukee community.

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MEQUON — After spending years working at their family’s popular Wauwatosa Chinese restaurant, Brian and Tom Wang took a break for several years and waited for just the right opportunity to come up on the culinary horizon.

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TOWN OF CEDARBURG — Just a few days after the death of its founder, Wayne J. Houpt, Wayne’s Drive-In is officially opening for its 23rd season as of 11 a.m. this morning.

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WEST BEND — Wisconsin bars and restaurants are now allowed to serve cocktails and wine to go after Gov. Tony Evers signed the relevant bill into law Friday.

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WEST BEND — Despite the many challenges presented throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, local bars and restaurants have adjusted to maintain the health and happiness of their clientele and staff.

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HARTFORD — A ribbon-cutting ceremony took place Wednesday afternoon to welcome Hartford’s newest restaurant to the community — Dude’s Clubhouse.

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WEST BEND — The owner of Culaccino Bar + Italian Kitchen, 110 Wisconsin St., announced the business will close at the end of the month. The restaurant’s final day of operation is March 27.

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THIENSVILLE — The flavors of the cheel will be revived again at The River Club of Mequon Saturday, April 10 as part of a kitchen takeover. Reservations are highly recommended. A $25 deposit is required for a group of six or more. The deposit will be deducted from the total bill upon conclusi…

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WAUKESHA — The Waukesha Chinese restaurant Spring Garden is closed, with a sign by VJS Construction Services notifying the public the space is available.