MILWAUKEE - The COVID-19 pandemic has created challenges that businesses and entrepreneurs never saw coming, but it's also inspired hope for a better future.
This spring, one Milwaukee restaurant is shining a light on an important cause – while raising spirits across town.
"This has not been an easy time for anyone," said Katie Rose, Goodkind co-owner. "A little goes a long way."
In the heart of Bay View, near Wentworth Avenue and Potter Avenue, a one-of-a-kind restaurant and tavern has weathered the waves of the pandemic by taking cover in the community's support.
"The least that I can do is put that back out into the community," said Rose.
Rose hasn't re-opened for indoor dining since shuttering Goodkind’s doors in March of 2020; however, by pivoting to take-out only, seats have been 'saved' for new endeavors.
Presented by the Black Bourbon Society,* which Moody is a member of, the campaign raises awareness about the need for diversity in the spirits industry.
"Why don't we have more front facing products that are black-owned, black distilled, black operated?" said Rose.
The duo teamed up to create their own rendition of the cocktail.
"We'll start with the base, which is our Uncle Nearest 1856," said Rose.
Uncle Nearest 1856
The caramel colored whiskey they chose – bears a story of its own.
"Fawn Weaver, the founder, a black woman – amazing black woman, dug up the history," said Moody.
Moody said weaver discovered that Nathan Green, known as Uncle Nearest, was a former slave in Tennessee – and the first known African-American master distiller who taught a man by the name Jack his trade.
"So Jack Daniel's history, Jack Daniel's recipe are all owed to this former slave, Nearest Green," said Moody. "Fawn Weaver wanted to develop a whiskey based off that recipe, based off that story, and hence, Uncle Nearest was born."
They've paired the whiskey with Amaro, vermouth, locally made Bittercube bitters – and their 'secret weapon,' inspired by Moody's own childhood – pecan tincture.
"I'm from the south, I grew up with Georgia pecans and I remember going in my Grandma's house when I was young and she had a big pecan tree," said Moody.
Now available, $25 will get you a double dose of the cocktail – serving two – in a reusable jar.
Goodkind's Black Manhattan
But in addition to shining a light on Uncle Nearest's once untold past, Moody and Rose have also set out to support the future.
"Let's make it so that it can benefit somebody in Milwaukee," said Moody. "The idea of the UpStart Kitchen seemed like a perfect fit."
A fixture on Goodkind's menu for the foreseeable future, proceeds from Black Manhattan sales will be donated to UpStart Kitchen.
Some of Burrell's most popular recipes were passed down by her late mom.
"I love to let people experience what I did when I was younger, coming up. Because she would just cook," said Burrell.
Burrell's passion for turning ingredients into the sweet and savory found its way to UpStart Kitchen soon after it opened last September.
"This right here is a launching pad, that's what I call it, a launching pad that will help us get to that place we need to be," said Burrell.
The space is a vision of Bishop Walter Harvey from Parklawn Assembly of God, located just across the street.
"We see ourselves as dream releasers," said Harvey. "We believe everybody is born with a dream and a vision, and our food entrepreneurs certainly have that."
Bishop Walter Harvey
For Burrell, that dream is shared with her own children.
"It's good team building and you get to bounce ideas off of other entrepreneurs," said Jonathan Burrell, Linda Burrell's son. "It's a happy culture here. It feels good that [my mom] gets the confidence."
Along with custom orders, Linda Burrell sells her products at farmers markets, but one day plans to expand: "We're getting the word out there, not just words, but taste."
"It's an amazing adventure," said Pat Jones, UpStart Kitchen manager.
Jones, who has three decades of industry experience said Goodkind's desire to foster their mission is what helps the very heart of this community beat.
"Every dollar counts," said Jones.
"What they're doing for us, we're doing for others. We're all paying it forward, we're paying it backwards and we're sowing into these entrepreneurs," said Harvey. "And as the city prospers, so shall we."
At the end of each month, Goodkind will send proceeds from the Black Manhattan cocktail to UpStart kitchen. Just last week, Rose delivered their first check – totaling to $350.
To support the project by ordering a cocktail to-go during business hours, CLICK HERE.
*Note: The Black Bourbon Society's Black Manhattan Project was sponsored by Mitcher's Bourbon and Branca USA. They are not directly affiliated with Goodkind or the brands used in Goodkind's cocktail.