Press Release


Milwaukee, Wis. (September 21, 2012) - The team creating the restaurant at the new Downtown Milwaukee Marriott today unveiled early details of the new eatery, a contemporary urban tavern and dining room highlighting the hallmarks of Midwestern cuisine – meat, cheese and beer. Milwaukee Café & Bar – Meat. Cheese. Beer. will feature what the concept's creator calls the "bounty of the Midwestern bread basket," including Wisconsin cheeses, locally brewed craft beers, Great Lakes seafood and heartland-raised meats, along with innovative partnerships with Milwaukee's own Usinger's Famous Sausage and the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.

"Our goal is to bring a fresh, Midwest approach to dining in Milwaukee, creating a local institution that will attract not only hotel guests, but also everyone who works, lives and plays Downtown," said Carl A. Bruggemeier, founder of the CZH Hospitality Group, which is developing the restaurant in an exclusive relationship for hotel manager White Lodging Services Corp. Bruggemeier's extensive hospitality experience includes work with such icons as Tavern on the Green in New York City, Commander's Palace in New Orleans and the Four Seasons and Ritz-Carlton hotel groups.

"Every aspect of Milwaukee Café & Bar – from the menu and bar offerings to locally sourced building materials and urban décor that blends the contemporary with the historic – will celebrate the unique characteristics of the Downtown Milwaukee Marriott, Milwaukee's industrial history and the city's heritage, as well as the distinctly American character and style of Midwestern cuisine," he said.

Locally sourced menu items are important to the restaurant and its anticipated clientele, Bruggemeier said, and Milwaukee Café & Bar is working to build relationships with area experts in locally grown produce, Wisconsin dairy products and other offerings. The hotel is already working with Usinger's Famous Sausage and the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board to feature their local products in many of the restaurant's signature dishes.

"It's just great when you can work closely with people who are absolutely the best in the country at what they do," Bruggemeier said. "Nobody makes a better sausage than Usinger's, and Wisconsin milk, cheese and other dairy products are second to none. We are going to create dishes specifically done around Usinger's products and the finest cheeses Wisconsin has to offer. This kind of collaborative thinking is an essential part of what will put the ‘Milwaukee' in Milwaukee Café & Bar."

"This is a terrific opportunity for Usinger's, as one of Milwaukee's heritage brands, to continue to be part of the city's bright future," said Fritz Usinger, president of Usinger's Famous Sausage and great-grandson of the company's founder. "White Lodging and Marriott have innovative plans for the restaurant, and we are honored to be a part of this new Milwaukee experience."

Peter Leuer, regional marketing manager for the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, said its work with the restaurant will benefit diners and the state's dairy industry as a whole.

"Wisconsin produces more than 600 varieties of delicious, high-quality cheeses, and it's great to see a restaurant of this caliber make a real commitment to highlighting the very best of America's Dairyland," Leuer said. "We look forward to being a part of Milwaukee Café & Bar and to sharing the joy of Wisconsin cheese with hotel guests and everyone in Downtown Milwaukee."

Milwaukee Café & Bar will be located on the north side of the Downtown Milwaukee Marriott, with its entrance, signage and expansive glass windows directly on Wisconsin Avenue. The restaurant, designed by Simeone Deary Design Group of Chicago, will have Wi-Fi and incorporate wood, piping and decorative brick into the décor.

"This new restaurant will complement Milwaukee's already-vibrant dining scene, help our new hotel become a real gathering place and bring new life and energy to one of Downtown's most prominent intersections," said Ed Carow, managing partner of hotel developer Jackson Street Holdings. "Our mission from the start has been to make the Downtown Milwaukee Marriott a positive addition to our hometown. White Lodging, Carl Bruggemeier and CZH Hospitality represent the gold standard in the hospitality industry, and what they plan to bring to Milwaukee is truly exceptional."

The $54 million Downtown Marriott will front North Milwaukee Street and East Wisconsin Avenue and is being constructed around the existing Johnson Bank building at 333 E. Wisconsin Ave. It will incorporate a majority of the existing 19th century Wisconsin Avenue buildings that originally stood on the site and their historic façades. In addition to the restaurant, the hotel will have approximately 200 guest rooms and suites, meeting and banquet space and a full range of hotel services and amenities. Longtime Milwaukee jeweler Schwanke- Kasten already has announced plans for a store in the hotel.

Construction of the Downtown Milwaukee Marriott began in late 2011, with opening planned for mid-2013.

White Lodging Services Corporation - was established in 1985 and is headquartered in Merrillville, Ind. White Lodging is a fully integrated hotel ownership, development and operations company – a recognized leader that has defined and cultivated the ability to achieve consistent, sustainable growth among mid-to large-scale hotels across the country. Its current portfolio consists of more than 158 hotels in 20 states and encompasses representation of the following leading brands: Preferred Hotels, Marriott International, Inc., Hilton Worldwide, Hyatt Global, Starwood Hotels and Resorts, InterContinental Hotel Group and Carlson Hotels Worldwide.