When chef and restaurateur Justin Carlisle and developer Tim Gohkman of New Land Development reached out to us to design a new venture – Crossroads Collective – we were thrilled! We jumped at the chance to help create Milwaukee’s first food hall and breathe new life into the historic Oriental Drugs building.
Tim’s vision was to create a unique space where people could come together to eat and drink an eclectic mix of the finest eats and drinks Milwaukee has to offer. Six vendors were ultimately hand-selected by him, leaving two spots open for pop-up events or additional concepts.
Our Project Manager Paul Tomkowiak spearheaded the whole project from shell to full concept. We designed the entire space, laying out everything for the vendor areas, the bar and oyster bar and the speakeasy. In the back of the house we remodeled the kitchen so that each vendor has their own space under the hood. They also have their own prep spaces as well. And because the food hall is focused on vendors who use fresh ingredients, we converted the old walk-in freezer to a refrigerator. The only freezer in the building is for the ice cream shop!
Paul worked with five of the six opening vendors directly to determine specific needs for their menus. Because the vendor spaces are leased, we also made sure that the individual spaces were still flexible enough for any type of cuisine. We helped them source equipment and also created custom stainless tables for their customer-facing counters.
In addition to the common kitchen, Beerline Cafe – which specializes in vegan and vegetarian cuisine – wanted the ability to cook out front. So, we created a live cooking space specifically designed for them. “We met to discuss their needs for the space, then went from design to sourcing to install within two weeks,” says Paul.
The most intense part of a project is always the last couple weeks before it opens. Paul was at the space nearly every day and even delivered the bar equipment himself the Saturday before opening so it could be installed in time. In Paul’s words, “We always do what we gotta do to get the project done!”
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Scope: Kitchen Design, Equipment Supply & Installation