NEWS New restaurant and food truck park making headway in Riverwest

New restaurant and food truck park making headway in Riverwest

Last September, we reported that a new Eastside food park was being built for the former Zak’s / Humboldt Gardens building at 2249 N. Humboldt Ave. (aka 1025 E. North Ave.).

Behind this ambitious project is Dark Horse Development owner Clarence Morse’s proposal to completely restore the former Schlitz townhouse dating back to 1890, which was accepted by Milwaukee in 2021. Accepted by the City as part of the RFP proposal process.

After more than a year of work, the project is finally progressing thanks to concept approval from the city’s Historic Preservation Commission.

That’s big news for the long-vacant building, which Morse said has been added to the city’s list of 10 historic buildings at risk of demolition. Four of the buildings on the list have been razed and five refurbished in the past 20 years, leaving only questionable properties in North and Humboldt.


Morse’s plans for the property include an outdoor food park on the south side of the building that would accommodate food trucks, trailers and/or other food vendors, as well as outdoor seating and a stage for live entertainment.

Plans also include a bar, restaurant and coffee shop on the building’s ground floor, as well as commercial kitchen space in the basement, which will serve as a home base for food suppliers and aspiring entrepreneurs.

Current plans also include creating office space and/or event space on the second floor of the building, with the upper floors serving as Dark Horse Development’s headquarters.

Morse is currently working with Port-Land Designs to revise plans for the property before returning to the Historic Preservation Board for final approval.

“The ultimate goal is to create more rungs on the food entrepreneurial ladder,” Morse noted, saying he is grateful for all the support the program has received so far.

“I really appreciate all the support from the city,” he said. “I appreciate the excitement expressed by the community. Ultimately this project will require a community effort, so people believe in it and continue to support it as we move forward.”

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