One Step in Growing a Diverse City
William C. (Chris) Morse had a vision of owning a coffee shop that has evolved into a food hall with a drive-thru. The North Avenue Market food hall, located at 5900 North Avenue Milwaukee, WI 53208, opened in late September 2022 and has received support from around the state of Wisconsin, including Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers and Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson.
“We’re trying to be open and vulnerable to create a space for communities to connect. This is one component and if we all do our part, we can have a diverse city.”– Chris Morse
3 Years In The Making
The market was an idea Morse had back in 2019. Morse originally wanted to lease a building but couldn’t find one he liked. Eventually, with the support from his husband, he bought an old Associated Bank building and re-developed it. According to Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the $2.2 million building is partially being financed by a $1.86 million loan from Milwaukee Economic Development Corp.
A Unique Dining Space
The North Avenue Market has two levels. The upper level has a coffee shop that can be accessed inside, by drive-through, or by a walk-up window. There’s an island bar that has table-height seating for wheel-chair bound customers. Five vendors, a stage for musicians, and other entertainment are located on the upper level as well.
There’s an elevator to access both floors. The Garden Level, or lower level, has three food vendor booths, a massage/facial vendor, a pop-up space, a cocktail bar, a conference/classroom, five office spaces, and more.
“It’s about creating a space that builds community,” he said. “What part are you going to play in being a bridge builder?”
Nyesha Stone founded Carvd N Stone in 2017 to cover positive news while attending the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Stone has a B.A. in Journalism. She has raised over $30,000 to award grants and scholarships. She has also been featured in ESSENCE and worked with the American Black Film Festival.