Browse the website for Cream City Cluckery, downtown Milwaukee’s newest chicken restaurant, and you’ll see… the website for what looks like a high-quality chicken restaurant.
A menu, delivery app icons, delivery times, mailing list subscription, mouthwatering chicken served videos. Typical stuff.
Downstairs is a pickup address, and that’s where a Milwaukee resident might realize this isn’t your standard chicken restaurant.
400 W, Highland Avenue,
Milwaukee, WI 53203 “
Wait, it’s not right next to …
It turns out that Cream City Cluckery is a ghost kitchen owned and operated by the Milwaukee Bucks, created in the wake of the pandemic that has kept fans away from the Fiserv Forum since March. The team kitchen staff run the restaurant, usually at work in the arena at this time of year. And according to Bucks VP of Hospitality Justin Green, the concept is doing pretty well.
Good enough to stay even when Bucks fans attend games again.
The Bucks restaurant met in 30 days
According to Green, the idea came as a reality as the pandemic would last for at least several months. Without millions of revenue from Bucks games and concerts, the team had to get creative. Once the organization decided to switch to the food concept in June, progress was rapid.
“From the day we decided to start to the day we launched, it took 30 days,” Green said. “We built everything. We built the website, we built the brand, all the logos, all the recipes, everything.
The decision to start a chicken restaurant came after a huge hole was identified in the Milwaukee fast food landscape, a lack of nearly every chicken chain in the vicinity of the Fiserv Forum.
The nearest Popeyes and KFC franchises are miles from the arena. Same with Church’s Chicken, and Raising Cane’s and Bojangles’ aren’t in Wisconsin at all. The only Chick-fil-A in town is inside the Fiserv Forum.
“We looked at what was in the city, we looked at what the competitors were, we looked for holes, we did the math and we saw that there were no main competitors. “Green said. “You don’t have a Chick-fil-A, you don’t have a Raising Cane in this market. People love chicken fillets and there was a hole in the market for it. We jumped on it and it’s been amazing ever since.
Cream City Cluckery could become a permanent business
Rather than selling the chicken fillets typically served at Bucks games, Bucks chef Kenneth Hardiman has created a new recipe that’s a little more worthy of stand-alone restaurant status. New chicken strips are cut every day, breaded by hand and coated in beer, the latter because it’s Milwaukee.
A chicken sandwich sells for $ 7 and comes with tater tots, as does an order of three chicken fillets. Twenty offers will set you back $ 25. Also on the menu are mac and cheese, cookies and an “Ooey Gooey Butter Cake”, the proceeds of which go to the Milwaukee Bucks Foundation.
Since opening on July 8, Green has said business has been strong enough for the team to consider opening a physical location once the pandemic is under control. Some potential investors across the country have apparently even reached out to the team about licensing, and other professional sports teams have asked for details as they try to put their own kitchens to work. Being able to operate in the offseason would be a boon for any team wishing to retain employees in the typically seasonal stadium concession industry.
“It’s something that we initially started that we thought was a way to help not lose great people,” Green said. “It ended up being something that is going to be a long term concept for us and that we are actually looking to develop. “
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