Take a stroll around North Avenue on Milwaukee’s East Side and you’ll find a neighborhood almost completely made over. The empty storefronts and “For Lease” signs of a few years ago are mostly gone, replaced by axe-throwing bars, cat cafes, and—gasp—run-of-the-mill bars/restaurants. The remaining empty sites will soon be filled with everything from food halls to office space. The East Side isn’t dead, it isn’t dying, and it isn’t even changing. It’s changed.
But with that change comes some too-good-to-be-true oddities. On Wednesday, Chicago-based Fusion Poke quietly opened at 1813 E. Kenilworth Pl., finally filling the void left by longtime East Side eatery Hotch. What made that opening unique, however, wasn’t the fact that Fusion Poke had joined the 8,000 other poke places that have opened in the Milwaukee area in the past 18 months, but that it was located directly across the street from another poke place. Yes, Fusion Poke is literally a stone’s throw from Milwaukee’s first dedicated poke place, FreshFin Poke. Remember those hacky jokes about Starbucks being on every corner? Well, replace a venti pumpkin spice latte with a bowl of cubed tuna and you’ve got Milwaukee’s East Side circa 2018.
Don’t believe us? Early this morning, we shot a video demonstrating that, yes, you can totally throw a stone from one poke place to the other. The video involves a lot of unnecessary setup, a bunch of actual horse shit, and a fun cameo. Enjoy, and have a pleasant poke day.