New vegetarian restaurant planned at Milwaukee Public Market

On the Bus will replace FORM Fine Goods & Floral


A restaurant selling vegan and vegetarian foods and drinks out of a renovated 1971 Volkswagen Bus is planned at the Milwaukee Public Market in the city’s Historic Third Ward neighborhood.

Milwaukee Public Market
The Milwaukee Public Market.

Emily Ware will open On the Bus in a 430-square-foot space next to Thief Wine in early June.

The menu will include almond milk, veggie burgers, kale chips and vegan ice cream. Ware currently is working on renovating a Volkswagen Bus, which was the first car she owned, to serve as the main focal point of her counter space.

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Milwaukee Public Market spokesman Paul Schwartz said Ware’s arrival at the market will meet an increasing demand for vegetarian and vegan options.

“Emily has a strong sense of the market customer base and realizes there’s an opportunity to expand that base by filling a void in the market’s offering,” Schwartz said. “Her concepts about food and retail design are incredibly exciting and we can’t wait to see what she brings to the table.”

On the Bus will replace FORM Fine Goods & Floral, which is moving into a larger retail space in Walker’s Point.

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“We’re here to show Milwaukee that plant-based foods can be prepared in such a way that you’d never think for a second that anything is missing,” Ware said in a statement. “It’s my belief vegan food can be just as delicious, if not better, than their non-plant-based counterparts.”

Ware has an entrepreneurial background and is a partner in The Green Kitchen restaurant at the market.

Many of the products on the menu will cater to morning customers and expand the breakfast business at the market, Schwartz said.

The owners of the West Allis Cheese & Sausage Shoppe are planning to add an outdoor restaurant and dining counter at the Public Market to expand their breakfast business, which owner Mark Lutz said already does very well.

Overall, the Milwaukee Public Market continues to find success and break records for sales and customer visits.

Total vendor sales increased 10 percent in 2016, to $15.82 million, up from $14.35 million in 2015, according to operators. The sales figures are more than double total sales in 2010.

Customer visits were up 11 percent in 2016, with 1.54 million people visiting the Public Market last year, up from 1.39 million the previous year.

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