Crossroads Collective set for Dec. 17 grand opening

Features six vendors, an oyster bar and a speakeasy

Crossroads Collective occupies the former Oriental Drugs building, located at 2238 N. Farwell Ave.

Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:21 pm

New East Side food hall Crossroads Collective will open its doors to the public on Monday, Dec. 17.

The concept, which was first announced in May, occupies a 7,000-square-foot space formerly home to Rosati’s Pizza in the former Oriental Drugs building, located at 2238 N. Farwell Ave.

Six local business are slated to operate their own “micro-restaurant” as part of the food hall, offering made-in-house items from ice cream to falafels. It will also include a bar area in the center of the space, serving beverages and oysters, and a speakeasy hidden behind the vendor stations.

Tenants announced for Crossroads Collective include:

  • Falafel Guys, a middle eastern food truck owned and operated by Ron and Chrissy Stroli. It recently opened a brick-and-mortar location at 105 W. Freistadt Road in Thiensville, so this will be its second location.
  • Heaven’s Table BBQ, a catering business owned by Jason Alston that specializes in authentic barbecue.
  • Beerline Café, a vegetarian “fresh-casual” café located at 2076 N. Commerce St. in Riverwest, owned by Michael Allen. This will be their second location.
  • Laughing Taco, owned and operated by Justin and Lucia Munoz-Carlisle. This will be the second Laughing Taco location. The other is located in New Land Enterprise’s Trio building at 1033 S. First St.
  • Scratch Ice Cream, a locally-owned homemade ice cream shop operated by Ryan Povlick and Dustin Garley that currently sells to stores and restaurants.
  • Frida, a new soup and sandwich restaurant, operated by Tess co-owners Ashley and Mitchell Wakefield. Tess, 2499 N. Bartlett Ave., has been open since 2002.

The main portion of the hall will offer seating for 94 people and a total capacity of over 150 people. Each vendor station will include a handful of bar stools, with additional seating at both high and low top tables throughout the space.

Crossroads’ 20-seat speakeasy, known as Shanghai, can only be accessed through a unmarked corridor in Black Cat Alley, which is an outdoor mural project adorning the east exterior wall of the former Oriental Drugs building. Shanghai, which is decorated with film posters and Asian-inspired artwork, will serve craft beverages, including cocktails made with Japanese whiskey.

“It bridges the gap between Oriental Drugs and Oriental Theater,” said Tim Gokhman,  director at Milwaukee-based developer New Land Enterprises and the mastermind behind the food hall project.

Operating a vendor stand at a food hall is significantly less expensive than opening a stand-alone restaurant or even operating from a public market-like concept, Gokhman said.

Vendors supply most of their own equipment, including cookware and knives, but Crossroads Collective provides the infrastructure along with storage containers, coolers, dishwashers, and even point of sale and IT services, he said. 

Using stainless steel food trays and compostable flatware, the food hall will produce as little waste as possible, Gokhman said.

Prior to its official opening, Crossroads Collective will host invite-only soft openings on Dec. 13 and 15. Newaukee is holding a sneak peek event on Dec. 14.

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Maredithe has covered retail, restaurants, entertainment and tourism since 2018. Her duties as associate editor include copy editing, page proofing and managing work flow. Meyer earned a degree in journalism from Marquette University and still enjoys attending men’s basketball games to cheer on the Golden Eagles. Also in her free time, Meyer coaches high school field hockey and loves trying out new restaurants in Milwaukee.

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