The weather was finally nice the day before yesterday, so, with no plans except to simply get outdoors, we ended up taking Wisconsin Highway 32 north from Racine to Bay View, an interesting little Milwaukee neighborhood that we have passed through a number of times. Saturday, we parked the car and walked around.
Bay View has an old, working class atmosphere, but it’s really being revitalized lately with color and creativity.
Starting at the intersection of Kinnikinnick, Lincoln, and Allis is the Wild Flour Bakery and Cafe (422 E Lincoln Ave). They have artisan breads, muffins, barrista coffees, sandwiches, and they also do catering.
We did not do any parts shopping. I just enjoy all the signs.
According to the “Q10” column at the Bay View Compass, you can buy “walking sticks, canes, tomahawks, war clubs, bows and arrows, prayer sticks, turquoise jewelry, medicine wheels, dreamcatchers, wild rice mandalas, ceremonial pipes, chain-sawed yard animals, totem poles, sage, cedar, sweetgrass, ceremonial tobacco, red deer venison sausage … buffalo meat … tanned hides … dance regalia” and more here at Lonefeather Trading Post (2432 S Kinnickinnic Ave).
Signs on the small building assure you that a merchant is on call at 414-489-7779 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and can be over to meet you here in five minutes.
Looking at the website of the Alchemist Theater and Lounge (2569 S Kinnickinnic Ave), it appears there are a number of different things going on here, most of them comedic. The Alchemist’s show schedule includes several sketch and improv comedy offerings. There’s also David Mamet’s satirical Sexual Perversity in Chicago coming in July, a series of Sunday “Old Time Radio” matinees, and maybe some more Transmutative Cinema. The smoke-free lounge “offers a tasty selection of very affordable beer and wine as well as reasonably priced, delicious specialty drinks!”
The Yelp reviews all seem to agree that smoking is permitted at Hi-Fi Cafe. This perky neighborhood joint’s MySpace motto is “Great Coffee —- Great Food —- Great Jukebox,” and both the eclectic music on their vintage jukebox and their coffee seem to be very well regarded. As for the food, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that “If you’re hungry, they have pizza, soups, salads and sandwiches. From 8 to 11 a.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. to noon on weekends, the cafe serves breakfast. If you’re picky, you can make your own.”
It was about 3:20 in the afternoon when we ambled past Magic Dann’s (2691 S Kinnickinnic Ave) and noticed that the New Orleans-themed brunch had ended at 2. Nevertheless, owner Dann himself came out to tempt us in, so we enjoyed a couple bottles of Dixie Blackened Voodoo plus some gumbo and a pulled chicken sandwich.
At this odd hour, we were the only ones in the brightly colored, clean restaurant. Magic Dann’s sports a jazz and blues theme inspired by Dann’s musician parents and carried out through vintage album covers and other memorabilia. A couple of flat TV screens were showing classic jazz concerts, and the sound system was pumping out Dean Martin, Louis Armstrong, and Bing Crosby at a gentle level. Dann told us that since opening in December, the place has been well-received.
There are, of course, plenty more shops and restaurants along Kinnikinnick than I have noted here. I just wanted to convey some sense of Bay View’s atmosphere for those, like us, who are unfamiliar with this appealing little area. As the weather continues to improve, I imagine we’ll be coming back to explore it some more, perhaps for dinner, a few drinks, and entertainment.