Last updated on February 18th, 2021 at 01:03 pm
The opening of a new jazz café this month will mean the newly renovated building done by Bader Philanthropies Inc. will be fully up and running.
The Milwaukee-based philanthropic organization says the tenants it chose for the building reflect the needs and desires of neighborhood residents.
Located at 3338 N. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in the city’s Harambee neighborhood, the former bank building has three new tenants. They include Sam’s Place, a jazz-themed eatery and café; Shalem Healing Inc., a non-profit clinic offering integrated medical and holistic care; and Refua Medicinals, which blends traditional Chinese medicine and modern nutritional science created by the founder of Shalem Healing.
Sam’s Place is set to open as soon as next week Monday. Its owner is Sam Belton, who also owns City.Net Jazz Café in downtown Milwaukee. He has owned a number of cafes before that, starting in 2004 with a location at 72nd and Burleigh streets.
Belton said he’ll start out with about 35 patrons at a time in the café, due to pandemic restrictions. He will also offer Sam’s Place for private events, and have curbside and delivery options.
Belton, who grew up near North 15th Street and Capitol Drive, said Sam’s Place is located across the street from where some of his relatives once operated a café of their own.
His hope is for Sam’s Place to draw in a variety of people, from neighborhood residents to visitors from outside the city.
“Hopefully we can rebuild that type of place where people come in, meet new people, (and) the neighbors can feel comfortable coming into a place where they don’t have to go miles away and enjoy something within their neighborhood,” Belton said.
Sam’s Place will also have live jazz performances, from artists known locally and nationally. Belton said performances will run approximately 90 minutes on Fridays and Saturdays.
Belton also owns Abyssinia Coffee Roasters, which he started in 2007 and offers small-batch air roasting. All of the coffee is roasted at the café and will be offered for retail and wholesale purchase.
Shalem Healing has been serving patients on the building’s second floor since September. Refua, meanwhile, is operating in the basement. Both were founded by Dr. Robert Fox.
Fox previously had his clinic for the last 15 years in the Riverwest neighborhood, near Locust and Fratney streets. Shalem Healing provides health care to those who need it, regardless of whether they have insurance or can afford it.
“My desire has been, it’s great health care and it shouldn’t just be for people who have the extra income to pay out of pocket for it,” he said.
Fox said moving his growing practice to Bader Philanthropies’ new building made sense for a number of reasons. The neighbors’ desire for quality health care and their interest for a more holistic approach matched with Shalem Healing’s model.
He said he initially planned to offer educational classes, on subjects like nutrition, cooking and exercise. The COVID-19 pandemic has prevented Shalem Healing from doing that so far.
The building has been undergoing significant renovations since September 2019. Bader Philanthropies crafted its plans and selected in tenants based in no small part on the feedback it received during community listening sessions. Called “chat with Bader,” the series of conversations was organized by the foundation to get to know its neighbors better.
Bader Philanthropies moved from its former location in the Historic Third Ward to 3300 N. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in July 2018. It announced plans for the neighboring building the following year.
“Sam’s Place, Shalem Healing and Refua Medicinals are signs of progress and transformation,” Daniel Bader, president and chief executive of Bader Philanthropies, said. “Sam Belton and Dr. Robert Fox are humble individuals committed to bringing people together and offering opportunities for them to nourish their hearts, minds and bodies. They persevered to open their doors which is a testament to the stamina needed to transform our neighborhood amid a global pandemic.”