Radio Milwaukee plans new and expanded café and restaurant


88Nine Radio Milwaukee studios at Walker’s Point are undergoing a major upgrade. The studios will undergo a $ 770,000 renovation and expansion for a new coffee shop that will offer a full menu of food and drink and covered outdoor seating.

The cafe and restaurant will be operated by Milwaukee chef and restaurateur Chad Meier, owner of Meraki fine dining restaurant in Walker’s Point. Meraki specializes in world dishes made with local ingredients. It closed in August 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Meier said he was excited about the new cafe and restaurant and working with Radio Milwaukee to reactivate its currently empty retail space.

“Our menu will be eclectic and ever-changing, as will the music played by 88Nine,” said Meier. “I can’t wait to share amazing food and help create a relaxed and creative space to facilitate community connections. “

Render for Radio Milwaukee’s next cafe and restaurant

Radio Milwaukee executive director Kevin Sucher said these improvements to the station’s studio and office building, 220 E. Pittsburgh Ave., would further strengthen its ties to the community.

“Our latest investment will contribute to the economic vitality of the growing neighborhood of Walker’s Point,” said Sucher. “It will also create new and improved spaces where the community can grab a quick bite or camp out for the day to create and collaborate, with food and drink offerings to fuel them.”

While exploring the concept for the new restaurant, Meier engaged Milwaukee-based architecture firm TKWA, who designed the facade and internal modifications.

The renovation will include:

  • Construct a 333 square foot addition to the front of the cafe / restaurant area, bringing the cafe space to a total of 1,650 square feet.
  • Addition of a terrace in front of the building covered with an opaque overhang.
  • Installation of three garage doors with windows along the sidewalk to allow partial outdoor use of the community hall and connections to outdoor seating.
  • Creation of a kitchen at the back of the café area.
  • Complete redevelopment of the café area.

When completed, the restaurant will have 35 seats inside and 30 outside. Construction is expected to begin later this year, with the café and restaurant tentatively scheduled to open in late February.

Funds for the renovation have been provided by generous donors who request anonymity. Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren provided pro bono legal assistance.

Radio Milwaukee and Meier will host a community reception at the station at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, December 1 to unveil the menu and restaurant name and other details on the project. The welcome will also be broadcast live on the resort’s Facebook page, https://facebook.com/88nine.

The resort moved into the two-story, 14,000-square-foot building in August 2013 after the purchase and complete renovation of the vacant former art gallery and restaurant. Built as an industrial facility in 1953, the building now houses 88Nine’s studios, offices and 100-seat broadcast space, as well as a downstairs retail space that Stone Creek Coffee had operated until ” to the final closure of the site in November due to the pandemic.

The renovation won the 2013 Mayor’s Design Award and the 2014 AIA Wisconsin Award of Merit.

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