Pleasure is in the DNA of the Nice Times, a vegetal restaurant opened this week

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The herbal scene is heating up on the East Side of Milwaukee, as a heartwarming new vegan hideaway prepares to open Tuesday, December 28 on North Avenue.

Nice Times is the name of the new bar and restaurant, which occupies the former Foster Hotel space at 2208 E. North Ave., a venue that recently (albeit briefly) hosted the Snack Boys.

The new venue will join a growing number of herbal restaurants in the area, including globally-inspired Strange Town at 2101 N. Prospect Ave., as well as the new breakfast and lunch spot, The Lafayette Place, which opened in November at 1978 N. Farwell Avenue.

But it’ll bring a distinctly different vibe – with a small retail store, a comfort food menu, and a slew of cocktails and mocktails – to the proverbial table.

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Behind Nice Times are Stephen Landish, industry veteran and former Snack Boys partner, and Mark Goldwell, co-founder and creative director of Zero Studios, who both saw the opportunity to create an understated concept in a space that has been part of Milwaukee history for decades.

“I would have opened up this concept anywhere with Steve,” Goldwell says. “But this space made it obvious. I did a show here when it was the Foster Hotel… and I think everyone has a kind of affinity for this space, and that makes it really special.

Goldwell says the name effectively sums up the vibe they hope to create at the Nice Times.

“There is a lot of meaning behind it,” he says. “But not either. Ultimately, our goal is to provide an accessible and positive experience for everyone.

Those good vibes begin with a cozy eclectic space that is bathed in sunlight during the day and lit with a subtle glow during the evening hours, plus plenty of room for guests to enjoy food, drink and… well, good times.

Step into Nice Times and you’ll be greeted by a wall of shelves filled with merchandise from various artists and manufacturers (based in Milwaukee and beyond).

Retail shelvesX

Offers include boxes owned by women Forti products, CBD products from Enjoy, as well as books, magazines, tarot decks, incense and more. Bottled wines and cocktails will also be available for purchase.

Focus on the selection of productsX

Goldwell says they hope to support local artists by showcasing their work throughout the space (currently guests will find Ike Harris’ art) and providing a place to sell that work. He says they eventually hope to launch manufacturers’ markets at the Nice Times on Sunday as well.

Retail shelves are adjacent to a downstairs living room with plush seating in the form of brightly colored vintage finds from Ormson procurement in Bay View highlighted by geometric wall coverings designed by Shade Akanbi to Hunting paper.

Lower level living roomX

The bar, decorated in peach tones with green bar stools, is lit by fixtures from Tom Dixon Lighting with mirrored signage reading: “Nice Times Metaphysical Club” by local artist Chris Walker.

Nice Times barX

Meanwhile, a more formal (but equally eye-catching) seating area takes up the space to the west of the bar.

Dining area at Nice TimesX

Upstairs, guests will find a combination of tables leading out to the venue’s second-story balcony terrace, as well as a small seating area hidden to the side.

Nice Times upstairs loungeX

Service at the Nice Times will be quick and relaxed. Customers will place their orders at the end of the bar with pickup at the kitchen service window. The site will also operate as a One Fair Wage employer; therefore customers will see an additional 20% on each order. No additional tip is necessary; but the surcharge will be distributed among the employees to increase their wages.

A sign of fair wagesX

“It’s important for us to make sure people get fairer and more reliable pay,” Goldwell notes of the practice. “COVID has been so hard on people in the industry, so more and more of us are working to ensure that everyone receives a fair and living wage. ”

Goldwell says Nice Times will offer shortened hours (4 pm-10pm) during their first week; but from January, the place will be open from 11am. During the day, guests can order coffee and tea, as well as pastries and breakfast sandwiches like the Thundercat, a fun creation made from sausage tempeh, scrambled kimchi, spicy jam and an avo pump. ($ 9).

Thundercat Breakfast Sandwich
Thundercat (Photo c / o Nice Times)
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“Come have coffee and a breakfast sandwich or a pastry and hang out a bit,” Goldwell says, noting that the space will also function much like a cafe, providing a space where people can work or have informal meetings. .

Beyond the breakfast offerings, Nice Times will also have a menu focused on plant-based comfort foods, including Sloppy Joseph (TVP and vegetarian slop, crispy shallots, tahini ranch, bread and butter pickles, ketchup. marinated, $ 9) and the Nice Burger (topped with shredded lettuce, tomato, pickle, marinated ketchup, pump cheese and special sauce, $ 9.

Good burger
Le Nice Burger (Photo c / o Nice Times)
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Additional offerings include The Clown Car with Ginger BBQ Carrots, Coleslaw with a Kick and Coleslaw ($ 9), as well as Flower Child with Sweet Chili Cauliflower, Quick Pickles and kimchi mayonnaise ($ 9).

Flower Child
The flower child (Photo c / o Nice Times)
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Add AF fries ($ 4), fries that can be loaded with a variety of toppings ranging from pump cheese and avocado pump to pickled ketchup, hot mango sauce, remoulade and Tahini Ranch (+1 $ each). There will also be big ass cookies and brownies to enjoy ($ 4 each).

“There is a cold tension between discovery and nostalgia,” says Goldwell. “So our menu talks about it. The articles are familiar, but there is a little sense of fun and something different too.

Take for example the OMG I po'boy

OMG I X

At the bar, guests will find a selection of canned beers, wines, seltzer and kombucha as well as natural wines to purchase by the bottle (sparkling, white, orange, red and rose). Spirits will also be on stock, including a selection of bourbon (from Buffalo Trace to EH Taylor small batch, Weller, Elmer T. Lee and Blackened x Willett).

But that’s not all. Six cocktails on tap (including two alcohol-free options) will include drinks like “Advanced Hippie Shit” (orange, thyme, turmeric and gin) and “Grandma’s Couch” (date, almond, apricot and rye) as well as Crunchy Ass Garden Face ( sambal, honey, carrot, tequila, each will cost you $ 10.

“The cocktails are all really awesome,” says Goldwell. “But they also taste very good. We want to be a little different in terms of the types of drinks we offer, while also offering something that isn’t all about alcohol.

To this end, customers will also be able to add Enjjoy CBD to any drink for a small additional charge.

“Nice Times is meant to be crazy, laid back and humorous,” Goldwell says. “The point is to create a really well-balanced culture here that doesn’t focus on late night angers. At the end of the day, we just want people to come here and have fun.

PleasantX

During its first week (December 28 to January 1), Nice Times will be open daily from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. (hours may be extended on weekends). Starting January 3, hours will be Tuesday through Sunday 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.


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