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Milwaukee's Year in Food: Boom in Restaurants & Local Production

Milwaukee County Winter Farmers' Market
This past year has seen farmers' markets on the rise, including indoor winter markets such as the one hosted at the Mitchell Park Domes.

Milwaukee’s food and dining scene seems to be getting better every year, with not only new restaurants opening up but new food ventures and collaborations taking place across the city and suburbs.

Kyle Cherek, Wisconsin Foodie host, Lake Effect food contributor and essayist, says 2015 saw exponential growth for Milwaukee's food and its people who are invested in it.

Milwaukee has experienced restaurant booms, such as in Walker's Point, as well as an increase in local food production.

"Fruit is growing on trees in the city because it can, because it use to, because that's where it grew. That aspect of our food scene is very homespun and really exciting," says Cherek.

Cherek also commends the efforts of Milwaukee communities in raising not only awareness for local food, but accessibility. Many new year-round farmers' markets have emerged, Walnut Way's Innovations and Wellness Commons is thriving on North Avenue, and a new Outpost was erected on the North Side to serve people in the neighborhood. The rise of the "grown here" initiative has produced 16 new parks, along with orchards to make food available in the city.

"The winter farmers’ market grew from an expo out at State Fair with crowded isles to the Dome, and it’s just so fantastic to get there 10 minutes before the farmer’s market opens and see people queuing up. And not a few, but lines…" says Cherek.

Bonnie North
Bonnie joined WUWM in March 2006 as the Arts Producer of the locally produced weekday magazine program Lake Effect.
Kyle Johnson Cherek is a culinary historian and food essayist. He was the former host of Wisconsin Foodie on PBS, and for over a decade he has chronicled regional food stories, exploring where our food comes from, and how it shapes who we are. His signature wit and keen observations have made him a sought-after keynote speaker, media contributor, and culinary storyteller. Kyle has been awarded the Wisconsin Broadcast Association Award twice for his compelling essays on food culture.