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For Immediate Release
Contact: Madison Goldbeck, [email protected], (414) 708-3820

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City of Milwaukee announces new food and beverage concept from owner of Draft & Vessel at Vel R. Phillips Plaza

MILWAUKEE – The Department of City Development (DCD) is proud to announce a proposal from Nathaniel Davauer of Draft & Vessel to open a food and beverage operation at the Vel R. Phillips Plaza.

The operation, which is yet to be named, will operate seven days a week and offer a unique Milwaukee food and beverage service by taking the city’s strongest food traditions and elevating them in a high-design space. The establishment’s core experience will focus on beer, burgers, and curds. The Soup Brothers will also return as a winter seasonal pop-up and swap in the summer for ice cream service. 

At Draft & Vessel, Davauer has brought several visually creative service options to the draft beverage world, including an antique Ford truck at the Milwaukee Public Market, a retro flaming van at street festivals, and an urban beer garden garage in Walker’s Point. 

“The Vel R. Phillips Plaza is poised to be an exciting addition to the growing and thriving Westown area off downtown Milwaukee,” DCD Commissioner Lafayette L. Crump said. “The Plaza showcases an extension of downtown’s positive economic and societal developments. I couldn’t be more pleased about bringing the expertise from a food and beverage leader in our region to the space.”

“It's been exciting to watch the downtown renaissance in Milwaukee. I can't wait to be a part of the energy on Wisconsin Avenue,” Nathaniel Davauer of Draft & Vessel said. “As a farm kid who would be lucky for a single trip to Grand Avenue in the '80s, the opportunity to operate at Vel Phillips Plaza will be a full-circle experience. Considering the storied history of Wisconsin Avenue in Milwaukee, it's even more significant to be a part of the streetscape’s future in this stunning building at the Plaza.”

The lease is subject to approval by the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee (RACM) and is scheduled to be heard at their board meeting on May 16, 2024, and by the Common Council of the City of Milwaukee. RACM will fund the buildout of the tenant improvements utilizing previously approved funds from Tax Incremental District No. 48 (Park East) as part of the overall funding for the Vel R. Phillips Plaza.

The Plaza will be situated between North 5th Street and North Vel R. Phillips Avenue at 401 West Wisconsin Avenue. It will offer several public amenities, including a garden, an informational kiosk, a future Streetcar extension that will run through the Plaza, and a Milwaukee County Connect 1 East-West Bus Rapid Transit station.

The Plaza will also feature an original City-commissioned art installation in honor of Vel R. Phillips.

The City of Milwaukee has approved full funding for the Vel R. Phillips Plaza. Construction on the Plaza began last summer and will open to the public this summer. For further information on this project, visit city.milwaukee.gov/DCD.

Commissioner Lafayette L. Crump 

Lafayette L. Crump, Commissioner 


 809 North Broadway, Milwaukee, WI 53202 




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