JoAnne Johnson-Sabir and Maanaan Sabir, owners of The Juice Kitchen in Milwaukee's Lindsay Height neighborhood, are planning a new cafe concept that will serve as-- what Johnson-Sabir calls-- an "anchor" to the Sherman Phoenix project when it opens in September.
Johnson-Sabir is heading the project, which aims to redevelop a former BMO Harris Bank branch in Sherman Park, that was burned during civic unrest in 2016, into a center for local entrepreneurs. It will house 12 black-owned small businesses including, Funky Fresh Spring Rolls, Embody Yoga, Studio 69, and Buffalo Boss.
The cafe, Shindig, to be located in the northwest corner on the first floor of the 3536 W. Fond Du Lac Ave. building, will serve house-made sandwiches, soups, salads and bakery items sourced from local bakers, including Colectivo Coffee's Troubadour Bakery. The cafe will serve Colectivo Coffee and, of course, juice from the Juice Kitchen, which is located at 1617 W. North Ave.
[caption id="attachment_329011" align="alignright" width="379"] The Juice Kitchen[/caption]
Much of Shindig's food will be made by Maanaan, which Johnson-Sabir said, will allow him to use his culinary skills in a broader way than he can at the Juice Kitchen.
"It's an extension of the work we've done at the Juice Kitchen," Johnson-Sabir said. "Advancing the cafe is more of an opportunity to be with the community in a bigger way."
She said patrons have long been requesting a larger space than the small storefront the Juice Kitchen currently inhabits, and the option to order food. The new cafe will provide space for community gathering and for more patrons to sit and eat.
The cafe space, positioned to face Fond du Lac Ave., will be renovated to feature an outdoor seating area, a four seasons room, and a retractable garage door that will open to the building's exterior garden.
[caption id="attachment_329006" align="alignright" width="385"] 3536 W. Fond du Lac Ave.[/caption]
"Shindig is a party," she said. "It’s a place where you can find joy and comfort, but also a good time and good food, really good food."
The Sabirs have been working with Colectivo during the process of planning the cafe. Johnson-Sabir said the mentorship and previous experience they've gained from operating the Juice Kitchen is crucial to opening the new concept.
"The gift of experience and being well mentored has ultimately allowed us to take the next leap forward," she said.