3K meals in 30 days: Campaign looks to bring restaurant business back in downtown Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE -- 3,000 meals in 30 days. That is the goal of a new campaign to bring businesses back to downtown Milwaukee restaurants.

Jill Ruffing

At the corner of Jackson and Wisconsin, 600 East Cafe is just one of the dozens of restaurants eager to serve customers again. A pick-up window has helped them survive when so few of their regulars are even in the neighborhood.

"All the business people in the buildings here walk here. We're not a destination where people would drive up, so we rely on everybody working in these offices," Jill Ruffing, general manager at 600 East Cafe, said.

600 East Cafe

That is where Milwaukee Downtown Business Improvement District 21 is stepping in with the "Comeback Cuisine" campaign.

Erica Chang

"Our restaurants downtown really contribute to a vibrant neighborhood. We see that our nightlife is thriving because of our downtown restaurants, and we want to help them stay in business," said Erica Chang with the district.

Here's how the campaign works.

Companies place an order ahead of time at any of the participating restaurants. Then, restaurant employees get back to work by preparing boxed lunches. Those lunches are then available for companies to pick-up and serve.

Lyle Landowski

Several businesses -- like Collier International -- are finally welcoming employees back to the office.

"As these people come downtown, it's a great opportunity for them to have a nice expression of gratitude, feel a little bit of the energy and give back to the downtown that's helped grow all our businesses," said Lyle Landowski, Colliers International managing director.

It's an effort aimed at helping other businesses grow through the pandemic, and thanking those that have worked around it.

16 downtown restaurants have already signed on. The Businesses Improvement District said more are coming. For information on how to place a "Comeback Cuisine" order online, CLICK HERE.

Comeback Cuisine campaign