Milwaukee Public Market marries old world charm of Third Ward with new

Tools

by Nate Kuester

MILWAUKEE--The Milwaukee Public Market opened up in 2005 in the Historic Third Ward as a renewal of the district's legacy of vendors--who sold their goods along the streets there. Those who work at the market say it's a perfect marriage of the old world and the new.

Paul Schwartz says, "We've made this a real attraction in the downtown area."

The Milwaukee Public Market offers a lot of different items for tastes of many varieties. And it usually generates quite the reaction for first-time visitors from both near as well as far.

"One that I hear a lot is, wow," said  Cedarburg Coffee Roastery manager Sherri Musa. "I wish we had this where I'm from."

"We think it represents not only what's best about Milwaukee, but about Wisconsin and the region in general," Schwartz told CBS 58. "And it's a destination."

There's a good reason the Public Market stands out as a must-see for those who don't call Milwaukee home.

Thief Wine Shop & Bar owner Phil Bilodeau said of the market, "It's a really unique, special part of Milwaukee, I think."

"When people come in from out of town, typically, this is one of their first stops," said Schwartz. "Because they know that within one stop, they can get a taste of what Milwaukee offers."

Brew City Brands T-shirt shop clerk Greg Gonzales confirmed the hot spot status for us.

"We get a lot of tourists here," Gonzales said. S"o then people come up and see the bubbler shirt. And they ask, like, what's a bubbler?"

Besides learning the local lingo for what they might call a water--or drinking fountain, out-of-towners as locals can mix it up with the colorful employees -- who man the shops. People like Sherri Musa -- who gave us a simple answer to why she likes managing the Cedarburg Coffee Roastery at the market.

"It's a great coffee shop, in a great market, in a great city, on a great lake," said Musa.

You can also meet fantastic experts like Bilodeau. The wine shop owner moved to the Milwaukee area -- from Sonoma California -- to share his wine expertise with you, while taking advantage of what his neighbors in the market have to offer the serious and novice foodies alike.

"Milwaukee was really underserved for a fine wine shop," Bilodeau said. "There's a lot of people who are really interested in wine. It's [Milwaukeee] got a stereotype of being a beer and brat town. But I think it's exactly that; a stereotype."

"Some of our vendors actually pair up," said Schwartz. "So the cheese shop will offer dishes to the wine shop, and stuff like that. And it kind of offers a level of diversity and the partnership that you used to see back in the historic days of the historic Third Ward."

We asked Schwartz how you can narrow it down when there are so many choices.

"There are," he confirmed. "And that's why giving someone choices means that they can come here several days a week and not feel overwhelmed by it."

Perhaps you want to learn to cook the items you've sampled while shopping around. They have got you covered there too.

"I think anybody who has attended a cooking class here typically attends at least 10 more," said Schwartz. "The cooking class operation here is second to none in the city."

If the shops and cooking aren't enough, there is another great activity just waiting for you.

When asked how the 'people-watching' at the market is Musa said, "Oh fabulous! We have [she paused to laughs]. It's a.... It can be interesting depending on what convention, or what concert is going on over at Summerfest.

Musa's laugh says it all. Whether it is the people, the food or the location, the Public Market is one of the spots in town, making Milwaukee great.

Poll

Should America lower the legal age to consume alcohol from 21 to 18?

  • Yes
  • No