North Avenue Grill may be a diner, but it’s hardly a greasy spoon. Cooks build sandwiches, soups, and omelets from scratch, using local ingredients and a creative New American approach. Many dishes—including stacks of steaming pancakes—are gluten-free, and most that aren’t can be tailored to the needs of guests with wheat, barley, and rye sensitivities. Breadsmith, Rocket Baby, and Molly’s loaves form the foundation of many sandwiches, from the meaty Tosa cheesesteak to the vegetarian Portabella Baby.
Coffee comes from Sven’s in Bay View, whereas ice cream hails from Madison’s famous Chocolate Shoppe. Burgers are crafted by hand with fresh ground chuck and sirloin, rather than an 8-ounce can of hot-pink Play-Doh. Diners can relax in burnt-orange leather seats as they eat, or take part in Wednesday night movie trivia and Throw You Out Thursdays, when lucky diners are tossed to the curb after dining but before paying their tabs.
The technicians at Natural Cleaners revivify garments while respecting the earth's delicate ecosystem, eschewing traditional petroleum-based solvents for GreenEarth, a nontoxic formula made of silicone derived naturally from sand. Five Milwaukee-area storefronts bustle free from fumes and pollutants as suits, dresses, and coats shake off dirt during dry or professional-grade wet cleanings. Wedding-dress cleaning and preservation primes gowns for years of heirloom storage or Miss Havisham costume contests, and an in-house seamstress alters hemlines and cuffs to create dashing silhouettes. Household textiles also kowtow to Natural Cleaners' expertise as draperies, bedspreads, and feather pillows return home spic and span.
The friendly clothing cleansers at Martinizing Dry Cleaning have been scrubbing the enrobements of southeastern Wisconsinians for more than 40 years. The noble employees will confront any stain with strong words and all the dirt-scattering ammo in their arsenal, ensuring your garments return to you soft, clean, and smelling like pastoral Latvian pancake houses. Sweat-soaked blouses ($8.03), mud-caked slacks ($8.04), butter-drenched bedspreads (starting at $24.31), and your beloved sea-water-doused prom jumpsuit ($21.30) will be cleaned, freshly dried, and folded into neat origami ostriches. The Department of Natural Resources–partnered environmental dry cleaner will bestow upon you the freshly cleaned garments on recycled hangers, enclosed in recycled bags.
In 1928, John H. Harris, the manager of the Sheridan Square Theatre in Pittsburgh, found a month-old baby girl abandoned in one of the theater chairs with a note asking someone to take care of her. He took her in, dedicated his social club—the Variety Club—to underwriting her support and education, and named her Catherine Variety Sheridan. Harris’s efforts drew support from other entertainers internationally, who joined together to provide aid to disadvantaged youth and children with disabilities. Today, Variety – The Children’s Charity has chapters in 14 countries and 10,000 members and works to enrich the lives of children around the world.
The Wisconsin chapter was started in 1935 by businessmen with ties to show business, and it assists children with disabilities through three programs. The Freedom Program funds durable medical equipment to grant youth greater mobility, and the Caring for Kids program donates medical equipment and therapeutic devices to local clinics and hospitals. The Future Kids program provides educational experiences for young people, including trips to museums, sporting events, and shows.
When a baby room takes the place of a man cave, once-cherished leather couches and entertainment centers often wind up curbside, waiting for their ride to the landfill. The Habitat for Humanity ReStore saves furniture from an untimely demise and stocks new and used building materials, using the proceeds to help to create affordable homes for the city's low-income families. Manufacturers, businesses, contractors, and individuals regularly stop in to donate a variety of items ranging from caulk to file cabinets to paintbrushes. The mostly volunteer staff at ReStore spent 2010 keeping more than 730,000 pounds of usable supplies out of landfills and trash mountains.
Opening a small business might seem like a big step for some people, but Ron Wimmer had seen enough in his life to take a risk. After traveling the world as a photojournalist for five years, Wimmer returned home and opened his first professional studio. He moved his family and studio to the Midwest in 1994, and he has since kept busy doing what he loves: capturing intimate moments from behind the camera. Today, Wimmer works both on location and in a Wauwatosa-based, 2500-square-foot studio, snapping photographs of individuals, groups, and families, among many other subjects.