Bay View home to charming community

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  • Crepe from Cream City Swirl

    Photo by Brian Boyle

  • Cream City Swirl offers frozen yogurt

    Photo by Brian Boyle

  • Sven Cafe serves soups, salads, signature sandwiches and paninis.

  • Crepe from Cream City Swirl

    Photo by Brian Boyle

  • Crepe from Cream City Swirl

    Photo by Brian Boyle

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Just south of the Historic Third Ward lies peaceful Bay View. Filled with restaurants, bars and cafes, this neighborhood’s small-business setting offers an ideal attraction for someone looking to explore Milwaukee without the urban blitz and tall buildings. Kinnickinnic Avenue forms the backbone of the neighborhood and the hub of most activity.

Cream City Swirl, a frozen treats and dessert shop at 2663 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., near perfectly epitomizes this trendy south-side neighborhood. The shop offers a variety of desserts such as handmade sweet and savory crepes, soft serve ice cream, sorbet, milkshakes and warm beverages for cold winter days.

Susan Nolan, 54, has owned Cream City Swirl since 2011 and has lived in Bay View for 30 years.

Kinnickinnic Avenue, or just “KK,” houses the several-block stretch of locally-owned bars, restaurants, diners, cafes, shops and stores. Right next to Cream City Swirl is The Vanguard, a popular brat and sausage restaurant-bar. Just down the street is a mom-and-pop gym, and the entire street is dotted with used record stores, bars and cafes. A couple miles off campus, and just south of the Third Ward, KK and Bay View make for a worthy alternative to the usual downtown fare for students looking to burst out of the Marquette bubble.

“Downtown is definitely stretching south,” Nolan said. “We’re trying to offer a lot, and (the college) age group is perfect for Bay View. There are bus routes, and you can Uber here. It’s very easy.”

Even on a winter afternoon, most of KK feels alive. However, like the rest of Milwaukee, Bay View shines brightest in the summer according to residents.

“You got your weekend bar scene,” Jason Crummer, 26, said. “In the summer, you got Chill on the Hill at Humboldt Park. They play live music and screen movies and things like that. There are a lot more crafty people down here, and things like that make a really cool feeling. No offense, but the college thing – love it or hate it – on the East Side, you get a bit too much of that. So coming down here is refreshing.”

Dan Dehling, 55, owns the Luv Unlimited, a record store on 2649 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. They have had four different locations since 1987. This store features roughly 4,000 records dating from 1950 to the present from artists such as Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. Dehling believes that Bay View is becoming “more cultural.” He said one of its unique qualities is that in summer, people come by boat on Lake Michigan.

Bay View can expect to see more success in the near future.

“There’s a lot of small businesses, and we have a lot of potential.” Nolan said. “There’s still more to come. I think in the next five years, it’ll be double. Mark my words.”

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