Coffee Makes You Black, located on 2803 N Teutonia Ave. in Riverwest, is a place I love for numerous reasons. One, the fact that it is a black-owned business that supports all-things local makes me believe in this place as a form of economic development within the city. Two, the vibes that I feel when I step foot into this restaurant, with smooth jazz ringing into my ears along with African decor makes me feel right at home, as I explained on Instagram. Three, and most importantly, is how good the food is here. Everything is seasoned to perfection, whereas some popular brunch spots including Engine Company No. 3 serve pretty basic cuisine without a ton of flavor. There needs to be more attention brought to place like CMYB, and this blog will serve as just that as it celebrates Black Restaurant Week here in Milwaukee.
This was my fourth visit to CMYB so I wanted to see how the operations, service and food was still holding up. Needless to say, the service and overall visit was outstanding. The waiters and waitresses were all extremely friendly and asked us repeatedly if we were doing fine, something that seems to be taken for granted sometimes at restaurants. Even if something were to go wrong, I'd like to believe that these waiters would handle it with grace and attention to detail. As my brother and I were deciding on what food to get, we also opted to try coffee, a rare occurrence for both of us.
We decided to live on the edge a little with our coffee selection, but also because this spot includes coffee in their name. It is almost like going to Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and opting to get a peanut butter-inspired treat. Adding hazelnut cream and whipped cream to the black coffee was a great decision, and this drink was delicious. A large mug (only $2) provided me plenty to drink throughout my meal and after. Although I do not drink coffee as I mentioned, it was a nice change of pace to my drink selection and left me satisfied with the taste and amount provided.
The prices at CMYB are stellar, as I ordered two biscuits, two salmon croquettes (fried salmon patties) a bowl of grits and my aforementioned coffee all for just $10.06. Justin ordered something similar, but opted for their potatoes with bell peppers and onions and a side of fruit for around $13. You can fill up nicely at this restaurant and not have to pay a ton either. Their chicken and waffles dish (which I have eaten before eliminating red meat, chicken and fish) is spectacular, as the sweet and salty combination of that option provides a serious punch, all coming to around $8 as well. You can feast at CMYB without feeling like you breaking the bank. This spot opens up at 7:30 AM on most days and closes shop at around 2 PM. Fridays they are open from 5 to 8 PM, with live music running from 6 until close.
The wait for our food was longer than usual, but I have learned to appreciate the art of scratch food and the preparation that is necessary when making food fresh. If your food comes out too quick, then you should probably be worried. As I looked around and ate my food, something dawned upon my brother and I during this trip. Black-owned business run similar to the way baptist churches function, as a safe haven and a place where laughs are heard from afar and the noise level is higher than usual. Interaction is paramount and seems to be a main focus of this place that does not have televisions or any forms of media around to watch. All kinds of races stepped foot into this establishment, something I particularly enjoyed, and everyone seem relaxed and very happy to be inside this place. It felt like you were in a family member's home relaxing and getting food prepared by them, and that was a great feeling.
Everything about the restaurant screamed informal, from a local high school student selling items for fundraising to a man named Anthony who was telling my brother and I about an organization he created that focuses on empowering black men through summits, community engagement and workshops. Although this place is a black-owned business, this place celebrates all races, ethnicities and cultures just like most restaurants should. After leaving from CMYB, it struck me that this place felt like a place I know very well--home. Considering this feeling I continue to have about this establishment, it is safe to say I will be back soon. Thanks for the good vibes, even better eats and showcasing Black Restaurant Week and cMYB; let's keep places like these top of mind when discussing top eats in Milwaukee. I know I will continue to do so with seasoned spots like CMYB that deliver on both connecting the community and its delicious dishes.
There is a new spot for poké bowls in Milwaukee's Murray Hill neighborhood, and it is located on 1806 E North Ave near the corner of Oakland & North Ave. Over the past few years, there has been a shift toward poke bowls, a Hawaiian-inspired dish, also known as unrolled sushi, that is starting to hit the Midwest. Luckily for those living in Milwaukee like myself, Fresh Fin gives city dwellers and others interested in poke bowls an opportunity to consume this newfound cuisine in a chic, minimalist setting on Milwaukee's east side.
I have started to eat more sushi as of late, so the idea of a poké bowl sounded like a good one to my taste buds. Likewise, Fresh Fin incorporates a bevy of spices into their dishes. I also love seafood, and thought this spot would allow me to enjoy it and much more and soon found myself eating lunch with a co-worker one day and my girlfriend two weeks later. When you walk into Fresh Fin, the environment stands out as a simple but unique venue, with white and gray permeating the interior of the restaurant. Clean lines, white walls, soft pastels and earth tones including gray and brown give this place a relaxed feel and make it a welcoming place to eat.
Upon setting foot into the establishment, I became immersed into a vibrant atmosphere, something that was created by the employes at the front counter. I did not know what to get both times I went to Fresh Fin, and the employees basically took me on a crash course for poké bowls. They provided me with recommendations on the dishes customers enjoyed, and what seafood options pair well with certain sauces and vegetables for their build your own bowl. The first time I went I ordered coconut curry shrimp bowl, sans coconut, I ordered a large. (although I had it with coconut last week at Wax Wing's 5th anniversary and thoroughly enjoyed) The shrimp pieces were generous, the crispy onions provided a nice crunch and everything in between was just right. The second time I visited Fresh Fin and ordered the zen bowl (regular size), which comes with sweet potato, salmon (which I added), avocado, mushrooms and your choice of rice or noodles, among other things.
The combination of spices and sweet flavors with the coconut curry shrimp option provided a kick that was enough for me. I am beginning to come around to spicier foods and thought it was manageable, so for anyone who is looking for an option that has bursting flavors and a little bit of spiciness, I'd go with that option. My zen bowl was also tasty (although I might not get mushrooms next time, really only like them grilled) and allowed me to appreciate things including eel sauce and vegetables without having any meat. Fresh Fin also has other options including their mango tango dish (more sweet than anything) and spicy tuna for those looking for an even hotter option. Spicy chicken with cilantro, edamame and spicy ginger, to name a few things, is a bowl that will certainly packed with protein and flames.
For anyone that knows me well, I can eat a lot of food in one sitting and in general so I thought the large would fill me up and allow me to feel content. I was wrong, as it was way too much for me. (I did take a trip to Insomnia next door right after, to be fair.) The regular poké bowl is $7.95 and does the job just fine, as it is packed densely inside the bowl, but if you are extremely hungry or wanting to share, the large option, for $11.95 works fine. Oh, and YOU DO NOT HAVE TO USE CHOPSTICKS. Forks are provided, and thank God, as I am a pretty novice chopstick user to say the least.
I have been told that I am really nice when doing reviews, but that is because I have found myself at establishments that are known for good service and even better eats. I do not think any of us would actively seek out bad restaurants, as that would be somewhat foolish and a disservice to you, the reader. I experienced all good things at Fresh Fin, and I can confidently say that after interacting with employees at their establishment and at Wax Wing's party. I also received a punch card, (you will too, just ask) and am excited to explore more of this seafood-friendly joint in the near future. Your food comes fresh inside of this trendy east side venue, arrives fast, and the endorphins arrive even faster.