Thief Wine Shop and Bar, Green Kitchen set to open
The Milwaukee Public Market continues its growth with a new wine vendor, Thief Wine Shop and Bar, due to open July 1.
Owned by two California natives and recent Milwaukee transplants, Thief takes over a space vacated by Taste of Wisconsin. Local design consultant Sharon Celek (Tutto, Lela, Cranston, The Social) is designing the bar and the entire vendor space for Thief.
Thief Wine will include a retail wine shop and wine bar with a focus on value pricing of distinctive, high quality wines from around the world.
Co-founders Phil Bilodeau and Aimee Murphy offer a combined 25 years of wine and hospitality industry experience, including recent stints in Sonoma County. Prior to their move to Milwaukee, Murphy served as the Director of Hospitality and Retail Sales at Hanna Winery in Sonoma County, worked on the winemaking team at Testarossa Vineyards and owned her own catering company.
Bilodeau was the Director of Communications for the Sonoma County Vintners, a trade marketing organization, has winery experience in Grgich Hills and Trefethen Vineyards, is a certified sommelier and current candidate for the prestigious Master of Wine certification.
"Thief Wine and the Public Market are a great fit for each other," says Bilodeau. "We're a small, independent, hands-on shop committed to artisanal producers, which is what the market is all about. The Third Ward and Downtown Milwaukee are ready for a world-class wine experience, and we're thrilled to be able to share our passion and excitement, along with an unbeatable selection of distinctive and eclectic wines you just won't find anywhere else."
The new wine bar and retail space is located midway along the south aidle of the market and will also use a portion of the center island directly across from the retail area for the wine bar. The retail store will stock 500-600 wines starting $7, while the wine bar will offer an exceptional range of 35-40 wines by the taste, flight or glass. The wine bar also will offer an assortment of small food plates, sourced primarily from Milwaukee Public Market vendors
The Green Kitchen is another new vendor, coming to the market as a replacement for Field's Best. It will serve salads and fresh juices and is expected to open next week. Another custom-made space, it will serve fresh salads, made to order fruit and vegetable juices, wraps, veggie burgers, quiche, crepes and on the weekends omelettes and oatmeal.
In other market news, St. Paul Fish is planning new outdoor seating and the market's outdoor farm, art and other vendor stalls (Saturdays and Sundays) open June 14.
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Stopped by Thief this past weekend and picked up a Sav.Blanc and sparking wine. Both were very good. I was surprised by how big the wine bar area was. They really want people to sit down and enjoy their wine, which is good. They had a very unique selection of wines and different than what Metro Market offers and what Vintage and New World had. I hadn't been to the market for about a year and Thief got me to come down and grab coffee and some treats from the baker. Good job!
th | May 29, 2008 at 12:35 p.m. (report)
Frankly, I'm puzzled by The Public Market's strategy. I realize they have spaces to fill and I can only imagine what vendors pay to rent those spaces, but it seems that on the whole, they are shooting themselves in the foot, and bringing in another wine vendor seems short-sighted, to say the least. I cant imagine that Sheridans is too pleased about this new development, and it makes me wonder how contracts are arranged therein. I would hate to see Sheridans go, as they do a nice job. If Sheridans were to leave, perhaps The Public Market will put a new fish market in its place, right across from St. Pauls. This seems to be the trend, after all. That being said, why is Milwaukee always so quick to look for the next best and coolest thing? Is this really what drives the market here? What does this say about our level of sophistication? If, indeed, Milwaukee consumers are generally driven by a capricious mentality, then we seem doomed to suffer a rolling stones journey, hence failing to truly appreciate or grasp things of real value, and missing opportunities to have things that are worth having. Incidentally, it seems that the Public Market was directly inspired by Pikes Place in Seattle; however, a huge difference between the two is that Pikes Place is 100 years old, and has seen the benefit of a great deal of organic development that has lent to its success. The Public Market, by comparison feels contrived and lacks character, and one could certainly say that being younger is not a crime, but perhaps having a somewhat limited vision is. Having said all of this, there is a great deal to enjoy about The Public Market; St Pauls Fish Market, Alladins, Ceriellos, Sheridans, West Allis Cheese & Sausage and much more. But with all of these great offerings, what remains to be seen is the hustle and bustle; i.e., consumers. Why? Maybe its a combination of the notions that there still just isnt enough for everyone here, and maybe the crowd that The Public Market seeks to attract is not quite big enough. In other words, it may be offering too much that is unsustainable by the current market. Something needs to give in our city in order for more organic development (cultural character) to occur; otherwise well continue to see a revolving door that does little more than quickly welcomes and just as quickly dismisses.
MarketMan | May 29, 2008 at 7:19 a.m. (report)
Interesting that jsonline wrote this story two days after omc. It is, though, great news for the Public Market.
Actually the wine store in the Public Market does a great job at answering any questions I've had about wine. Also, if you haven't visited it yet, there is a new Vino 100 in the new Condo complex on the corner of Water St (102 N. Water St.). They are very knowledgeable and not pretentious at all. I've been to Kafka many times and they are friendly and helpful but no more than similar places in town, not to mention they have a slightly quirky selection of wine.
Wine stores do not have a good track record downtown. New World and Vintage both failed. They carried the same wines as Metro Market but charged higher prices and they failed to appeal to the "casual" wine drinker. They appeared too stuffy and pretentious. Visit Kafka in Chicago (Lakeville/Boystown area) and you will see how a wine store can educate the novice wine drinker but still appeal to the educated one.
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