Since opening in 2012, Odd Duck has consistently set a high bar in Milwaukee’s constantly evolving and increasingly top-notch restaurant scene. Now, Odd Duck owners Ross Bachhuber and Melissa Buchholz have announced plans to open a new restaurant mere blocks away from their base of operations. Earlier this year, the pair signed a lease on the space at 2301 E. Howell Ave. in Bay View, which was last (and briefly) occupied by Lombardi’s Restaurant & Pizzeria. Their new project, tentatively named Hello Falafel, is expected to open in late spring 2016.
“We love the proximity for our second venture—it allows us to expand without feeling like we are too far away from our home at the Duck,” Buchholz says in a press release.
Unlike Odd Duck and its expansive and ever-changing menu, the new restaurant will focus solely on Middle Eastern cuisine, predominantly vegetarian. According to Bachhuber and Buchholz, falafel sandwiches with homemade pita will anchor the new menu, along with house accouterments such as pickles, tahini-based sauces, and hummus. The new spot will retain Odd Duck’s focus on locally sourced ingredients, though the menu will be more locked into seasonal specials and changes.
“This is a small counter-service spot, it will be very low key as far as the vibe goes,” Bachhuber says in the press release.
Chef de Cuisine Theresa Schuenke will head up the kitchen. Schuenke is a veteran member of Odd Duck’s kitchen staff, and has a varied culinary background in both Milwaukee and New Orleans.
Buchholz says the new restaurant will serve lunch and dinner, and possibly brunch or late-night food. “We are really excited for this new place. We have always wanted to do a place that serves lunch, which is just not possible at the Duck, since it is so busy and the menu is ever-changing,” she says. “We think Bay View could use some more options for casual cuisine that is healthy and fast but still has exciting, delicious options for everyone.”
The location of the new restaurant—on the corner of Lincoln and Howell—has seen a lot of turnaround in recent years. It was the longtime home of Guanajuato, which moved a few doors south in 2013; since then, Mr. Webo’s, Strada Pizza, and Lombardi’s have called the building home, some for less than a month’s time. In January, we included the space in our list of “cursed” Milwaukee business locations. But never fear, Bay View: if anyone can turn things around, it’s the Odd Duck crew.