Downtown Kenosha Blog

4 years of celebrating Craft Beer in the Kenosha Area

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Kenosha is lucky enough to have a long-distance race in its own backyard; on Saturday, May 6, the Wisconsin Marathon threads its way through downtown, north to Carthage, south to Carol Beach and back north again to finish along the lake. The race continues to grow each year, as more and more runners are drawn to the breezy lakefront course, beautiful scenery and post-race beer and brats! The race course showcases all that Kenosha has to offer. Whether you’re running the 5K, half or full marathon--or just cheering on your favorite runner--being part of the Wisconsin Marathon day is a great new way to experience Downtown Kenosha.

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10. Food. With over 25 restaurants, pubs, cafes, and food-themed stores to enjoy - everything from wine and steaks to beer and burgers – you won’t leave hungry.

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The warm temps we enjoyed at the end of February have left me with a severe case of Cabin Fever in March. As a March baby, I am no stranger to the very real struggle of Mother Nature’s teasing – I’ve seen everything from snow and sleet on my birthday to sunshine and seventy-degree days. Don’t get me wrong, I love snowy days and cozy cups of tea, but by my birthday I start to Think Spring.

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By Rosemary Herr

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If you weren’t around Downtown Kenosha the past week and a half, you sadly missed out on Downtown Kenosha Restaurant Week. Restaurant Week this year included 20 restaurants throughout Downtown Kenosha that had fixed menu options, for either breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert. This was a great way to explore the different restaurants available downtown, that you’ve always wanted to try. But just because you missed Restaurant Week, doesn’t mean you can’t try all these great restaurants on your own! Here were some of my favorites from the week:b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_1322.JPG

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It’s always exciting to hear about business success stories like the Uline story of how they started from their basement in 1980 and now are North America's leading distributor of b2ap3_thumbnail_Elsie_20170220-145144_1.jpgshipping, packaging and industrial supplies and employ 5,000 North Americans.  Which is why it's important to take notice as there’s something great to be said about our downtown business success stories.  For instance, that of Elsie Mae’s Bakery & Cannery, where she started at our very own Kenosha Harbor Market, moved to a small Downtown Kenosha store front, and steadily continues to expand at her current location at 5819 6th Avenue.  That’s Huge!  As you continue to read about other businesses that are growing in our Downtown area, please focus on their desire to remain in our Downtown where they are supported and believe in what’s to come. 

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Over the holidays, I made a very conscious effort to do a lot of my shopping at locally owned establishments. Specifically stores in Downtown Kenosha. From bags of popcorn and bombers of beer for stocking stuffers to hand bags and wall décor, I found so many wonderful things for my friends and family – and maybe one or two things for myself, too. (Hey, don’t judge. I was pretty good and Santa agreed!)

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My sister in law and I went downtown to check out Alpaca Art Pottery & Painting.

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Having grown up in Brooklyn, New York, Bess Bajrami, owner of Slice of NY Pizzeria, decided he wanted to bring a piece of New York to Wisconsin so that we may experience “Real Pizza”.  Led by his father in 1976,  Bess grew up watching his family run a pizzeria in Little Italy, New York.  Little Italy is where the first pizzeria in America was founded in 1905.  It was Bess's experiences growing up in the restaurant business where he found his love for cooking and food. He went off to college and studied, however, his passion for  the restaurant business called him back.  Lucky for us, Bess opened up his pizzeria here in the heart of Downtown Kenosha at 5703 6th Avenue, and is soon to celebrate his 5th Anniversary.

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By Alex Kudrna

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While my primary job is working at the Visitors Bureau, I have the privilege of managing the social media channels for Downtown Kenosha, too. If you’ve ever wondered who was talking to you on the Downtown Kenosha Facebook page or Instagram account… that’s me! J

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I don’t know about you, but each year seems to be a challenge to find the right Christmas presents for everyone in my family. This year I’ve decided to do most of my Christmas shopping at local stores! This past weekend, I checked out the International Holiday Faire, hoping to get some gift ideas. The event had Christmas themed gifts, food, and decorations galore.

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We had big plans for Lightin' Up Downtown Kenosha.  We were going to be there to countdown the lighting of the tree in front of the Public Museum.  We were going to paint an ornament at Alpaca Art.  We were going to have melting snowman hot chocolate at Scoops.  We were going to have holiday cocktails at Franks Diner (well, I was anyway). 

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By Racheal Hernandez, Organization Committee Chairperson

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I broke my own rule last week. THE RULE being that there is to be no sign of winter or holidays other than Thanksgiving until after Thanksgiving!

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I recently attended a University of Iowa “Hawkeye visit day” with my 14-year-old daughter. Each student received a lanyard with a VIP pass. As we shopped our way through town after the tour and learning sessions, it was a nice surprise to receive discounts and specials when business owners spotted her VIP ticket. It definitely made our visit a little nicer and helped us feel welcome.

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I saw this little house and was curious about what it was. My imagination started to run wild, what could it be? 

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Fall can be an enchanting time in Downtown Kenosha.  Leaves are changing color, the cool wind is coming off the lake, and the geese are starting to fly south for the winter. But what do I like most about fall in Kenosha? The pumpkin flavored treats, Oktoberfest beer, and watching the Green Bay Packers alongside strangers who become friends at the local sports bars. 

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A few weeks ago, my friend Kim and I threw a baby shower for our friend Francesca. Neither Kim nor I have kids, but we sure do enjoy planning special events. We also love supporting locally owned businesses. We were able to plan the whole shower using vendors located in Downtown Kenosha – and they didn’t disappoint. So my heartfelt thanks goes out to the amazing businesses in Downtown K-Town!

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By Dana Hutson, Guest Blogger

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Don't miss out on the Kenosha Big Read of True Grit, a classic Western novel about 15-year-old Mattie Ross' quest to avenge the death of her father. The Big Read, funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and hosted this year by Gateway Technical College, brings communities together, promotes literacy, and highlights local businesses and institutions. 

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This place holds all the history of Kenosha. If you want to learn about your home town, or a someone passing through, or better yet someone new to the area and would like to learn about the history of Kenosha.

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The downtown area is as diverse as the people who live, shop and stroll there. Social media can (sometimes) be a wonderful thing. I recently asked several local friends of mine to share with me what they would do and where they would go, if they had two solid hours of “me time” in Kenosha. Their answers were creative, inspiring and frugal! Best of all, nearly all of the responses involved taking a walk along Kenosha’s lakefront—a beautiful and free activity available year-round—and they served as a good reminder of the many colors of Downtown Kenosha.

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Since I was young, I have loved reading.  Books have entertained me, brought me comfort, taken me to faraway places, and taught me much of what I know.  Downtown Kenosha offers opportunities for me to indulge in my reading hobby and promote a love of reading in my kids.

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The temps are slowly dropping and I can already feel the colder breezes coming off the lake. But that doesn’t mean summer is over yet! These are the best days to take advantage of Downtown Kenosha. The weather is not as hot and the restaurants and bars are a little less crowded, since tourist season is simmering down.
On this particular Friday afternoon, my boyfriend and I decided to take advantage of the great weather and bike downtown to check out the newly opened Lake House Bar & Grille. The new restaurant is located at the Kenosha Yacht Club. We arrived there around 4:15pm, when we quickly realized that the restaurant doesn’t open until 5pm. Instead of sitting around for 45 minutes, we walked over to The Boat House for a quick drink.

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I don’t have children of my own, but I do have an adorable 18-month-old Godson and a friend with a baby on the way. This translates to the fact that I am going to have to start paying attention to what is cool for kids. One thing that I have noticed recently are all the awesome places in Downtown Kenosha that offer kids birthday parties – you know, places much cleaner and more fun than the usual kids play areas that host hokey birthdays with cheesy games and junk for party favors. So this “auntie” is taking notes early so that she can help plan the coolest birthday parties in town in the future. Maybe this information will help you…


b2ap3_thumbnail_Screen-Shot-2016-08-16-at-9.28.13-AM.pngSandy’s Popper
As if we needed one more reason to love Sandy’s Popper (I am a frequent flyer, especially this summer with the Pineapple and Watermelon Sherbets!). On a recent visit to this popcorn and sweet shop, Sandy was playing hostess with the most-est to a little girl’s birthday party. The seating area on the ice cream parlor was blocked off and kids all had games to play, ice cream in hand, and a Sundae cup filled with popcorn and other goodies as a party favor. Sounds like a pretty great outing to me!


b2ap3_thumbnail_Screen-Shot-2016-08-16-at-9.20.19-AM_20160816-142748_1.pngAlpaca Art
There are no little girls in my world, so the opportunity for crafting fun is pretty limited. However, Alpaca Art Pottery Painting offers paint-your-own pieces for boys, girls, kids, adults, and everyone in between. You can bring in your own snacks and beverages and have set pieces for kids to paint, or let them pick from a selection of pieces in the same price range. There is a separate party room that you can completely takeover so there is ample room for you and your guests (no matter what age) to paint, snack, and have fun! With Elsie Mae’s Canning & Pies and Scoops Ice Cream just down the block, there are some great options for treats.


b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_3182.jpgTop Dog Gaming
I know nothing about video games, but this is another area I suspect I will be learning about as these little boys grow up. Top Dog Gaming now offers birthday party rentals – yup. Rent the entire gaming space for your kid’s next birthday or bring a smaller group and take over a corner of this gaming center. Again, great for kids of all ages, as they offer a number of game systems. No more fighting over the game controllers during parties at your house! Bonus: Robin’s Nest Cakery is right next door, so you have easy access to cupcakes and cookies!

Who am I kidding? One would not need to have kids to enjoy a birthday outing at any of these venues. I know a few adult women who would go crazy for a scoop of ice cream and a craft night, and plenty of guys would enjoy a night out gaming with their buddies. (Perhaps add on a stop at Wine Knot or Sazzy B afterwards, too?) Hopefully my recent observations will help you plan some awesome birthday parties for your friends and family in the year ahead!

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With temperatures in the 80s, it’s another warm week. But, that doesn’t mean you have to hide inside. Downtown Kenosha is literally the coolest place to be when it’s hot out.

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After only minutes of walking around the Downtown Kenosha lakefront, you’ll soon notice runners and walkers taking advantage of the undisturbed views of Lake Michigan and the pleasant cool breezes. This is where I find myself running several days a week. The Kenosha lakefront has developed a pathway that is ideal for running, walking, and biking. The pathway stretches the entire length of Downtown Kenosha, past Simmons Island, the harbor, and Wolfenbuttel Park. Along with the smooth pathway, multiple “bubblers” or drinking fountains line the path, as well as, several public restrooms.b2ap3_thumbnail_sunriserunners.jpg

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My sister and I went for a walk along 3rd Avenue for lunch one day and stumbled along this path.

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A few weeks ago, my friend Mike and I went out around lunchtime to shoot some photos. My role at the Visitors Bureau and Mike’s role at the Chamber of Commerce have a few similar goals, and getting to indulge our hobby of photography is one of the perks of the job. We wore our comfy shoes and packed up a crew of lenses and set out for a few hours of enjoying the summer sunshine in Downtown Kenosha.

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When the weather is perfect, there’s no better way to explore than to go for a stroll. I started out the morning with a huge brunch at The Coffee Pot. This is my favorite brunch location around, mainly because of their CoffeePotOmelet.JPGCoffeePotOutside.JPGhomemade toast and huge omelets. Besides their endless coffee, I also chose one of my favorite items on the menu, the Godfather. If you like lots of meat and cheese, then this is your omelet! It's pretty much like combining lasagna and omelet in one.  

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While many know Kenosha for its expansive lakefront and recent additions like its museums, Sculpture Walk and unique shops and restaurants, there are also many hidden treasures. If you go for a walk along the winding lakefront path, you'll find yourself surrounded by beautiful flowers, boats, sculptures, monuments and fountains.  I thought I knew Kemper Center pretty well, but just stumbled upon the trail that moves behind its grounds and over to Anderson Arts Center

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I went downtown for a walk on a beautiful Thursday evening. I have lived here all my life and I tell you I see different things everytime.  On this evening it was still early, lots of people walking, talking and shopping in a variety of shops. What really caught my eye was all the beautiful art work, in all different forms.
 
I walked along the Harbor Walk and I saw several tall, colorful sculptures that make up Kenosha's Lakefront Sculpture Walk.  This is one of many:
 
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I ended in the heart of downtown.  In front of Elsie Mae's Cannery and Pies, the store had window art.
 
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I turn around, and right there on the corner was another store with colorful art on their building. Equinox: The Body and Soul Boutique.IMG 0006 
This was a sight to see, downtown has art work in every form everywhere, if you are truly looking for it.
 
 
Kenosha's Lakefront Sculpture Walk, 54th Street, Harborpark
 
Elsie Mae's Cannery & Pies, 5819 6th Avenue, 262-914-9198
 
Equinox: The Body & Soul Boutique, 5901 6th Avenue "A", 262-656-1830

I’m usually with my kids when I’m Downtown Kenosha, but on a rare, kid-free night recently, a friend and I went out to see Naomi Marie perform with The Southport Sound at Fusion.

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What to do on a Friday night in downtown Kenosha? I was not sure what to expect after living several years in Chicago and then Milwaukee. In Milwaukee, I got used to the abundance of bars and breweries that were a part of the lifestyle. After several months of living in Kenosha, I finally did some exploring around downtown. To my amazement, we had a brewery! Well more than one actually. So after an always delicious fish fry at Boat House, my boyfriend and I walked over to the Public Brewery to give it a try.

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I love when people say that there is nothing to do in Kenosha. Especially in Downtown Kenosha.

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Kelsey Brunner, Downtown Addict, here!

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Let’s set the scene:  It is Saturday.  It is raining.  It is 12:00 p.m.  In other words, kids are off of school, it is not a nice day to take them anywhere outdoors, and it is exactly “lunch time” for kids everywhere.  Do I dare take my five- and one- year old sons out to a train-themed restaurant under such conditions? 

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Recently my children and I stumbled across Alpaca Art’s monthly family night. While we have been to the pottery painting wonderworld before, we really enjoyed the specials and the family-friendly atmosphere. (Tip: reservations are strongly encouraged—our group was lucky enough to snag an open table at the almost last-minute). My son, two daughters and a friend each picked a different object to paint and personalize. I enjoyed the last dregs of my coffee while sitting and grabbing paints, stencils and booklets as needed. What struck me was the quiet. It wasn’t silent at Alpaca Art, of course, but it was quiet as each of my children began to focus on his/her own art piece. They carefully selected colors and different-sized brushes, turned their piece over and around, cocked their heads and pondered different designs. There was no quick work done. Instead, over the course of two lovely, relaxing hours, each child sketched, painted, dotted, and painted some more—all without the need to be constantly connected to their cell phones. They even took inspiration from designs other patrons were painting. In the manner of true artists, they took the time to observe what they had painted and to determine if more or less paint was needed, if the initial design would work, if they needed more detail, etc. In the midst of all this artistry, there were free flowing conversations, suggestions and lots of smiles. It warmed this busy mom’s heart.

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Downtown Kenosha is home to five museums. Count them: Kenosha Public Museum, Civil War Museum, Dinosaur Discovery Museum, Kenosha History Center and Southport Light Station Museum. Five. That is a pretty incredible number of museums for a community our size to have, let alone to house them all within about a mile of each other. Chances are, if you are a local resident, you have been to at least one of these great attractions… but there are some things you may not have known. So, here are some of my most favorite little known facts about each museum….

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Written by Tina Shanahan, a mom, English instructor, and doctoral student. If she had free time, she would enjoy reading popular non-fiction, being active outdoors, and posting pictures of homemade food online.

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Written by Laura Tyunaitis, Downtown Blogger, Cover Photo by Dan Joyce

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Written by Laura Tyunaitis, Downtown Blogger

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Written by Tina Shanahan, a mom, English instructor, and doctoral student. If she had free time, she would enjoy reading popular non-fiction, being active outdoors, and posting pictures of homemade food online.

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By Laura Tyunaitis

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City of Kenosha Christmas Tree Lightin Up Downtown Kenosha So, you know how some people roll their eyes when they see their neighbors putting up Christmas lights before Thanksgiving? I am not those people. “We need a little Christmas, right this very minute!” I try to show restraint and enjoy each holiday as it comes… but I have a hard time containing my excitement when it comes to THE holiday season. In fact, I have a team of folks around town who are trained to call me when they see the City of Kenosha’s Christmas Tree in route to its place of honor in front of the Kenosha Public Museum so I can go take pictures to share with everyone (it arrived on Tuesday morning last week, in case hyou were curious)! I am the person who knows when the holiday movies start on the Hallmark channel. I am the person who announces when holiday music takes over certain radio stations – okay, who am I kidding. I put Christmas music on to write this blog! And I am definitely the person who makes sure to squeeze every last bit of holiday fun out of the season. After all, “the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear!”

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As I was out running errands on my lunch hour last week, I spotted a truck filled with baskets of flowers. It was hard for me to believe that mid-October is here and the beautiful flower baskets that are so iconic to our downtown community were being carted away now that cooler fall temperatures have arrived. Boats are starting to be removed from the marinas. Patio furniture is slowly being put away at area restaurants. The final outdoor HarborMarket event has come and gone. Sure signs that summer is over.

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By Mary Beth Lindqvist, KACVB Community Blogger – Downtown Docent

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For the last few weeks, I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing some of our Downtown Kenosha residents regarding their take on the current happenings such as dining, shopping, events and the nightlife of our ascending downtown.  It was very delighting to hear words like, “It’s definitely improving,” “We are moving in the right direction.” and simply,  “Our downtown is growing.”

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By Bob Lichter, Downtown Ambassador

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By Bob Lichter, Downtown Ambassador

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By Bob Lichter, Downtown Ambassador

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Downtown Kenosha is a happening place. Whether you enjoy the dining and nightlife, or the shopping and art galleries, there is something for everyone. There is an event for everyone, too! It’s no surprise that with beautiful Lake Michigan as the backdrop, Downtown Kenosha and HarborPark are popular places for festivals and special events. While this is not the complete list, here is my Top 10 Summer Events in Downtown Kenosha list (in no particular order)…

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Written by a Downtown Enthusiast

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May is National Bike Month, and I can’t think of a better place to enjoy a bike ride than in Downtown Kenosha. Part of the Pike Bike Trail is HarborPark in Downtown Kenosha - which offers a ride that includes views of Lake Michigan, plenty of parks and green spaces, and of course some shopping and dining options along the way.

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If you have spent any amount of time in Downtown Kenosha in recent years, you are probably familiar with the delicious dessert options available. From pie to cupcakes and even Kannebulle, there is something for everyone.

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Written by Steve Rawson, Downtown Enthusiast

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While I do not have children of my own, I have a lot of friends who have children ranging in age from newborns to upper grades of elementary school. I also have a new godson, so I have been more intune to children lately. I am constantly amazed at how smart kids are these days – how much more they want to know about EVERYTHING. I don’t remember being that intelligent at those ages.

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I'm a slob. I don't think I own a tie or shirt that doesn't have a stain on it. Soup and pasta are my mortal enemies, they are to me as Kryptonite is to Superman. I try to go to a nice place for dinner or dress up for a wedding and I'm faced with a shirt containing evidence of last Thanksgiving's gravy, or a tie bespotted with soup from my Aunt Connie's 50th Anniversary. What's a guy to do?

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I took several days off around the holidays to enjoy time with family. One of our outings included a visit to Trolley Dogs for lunch – one of our favorite downtown spots. While eating, “JZ” (John Ziemba, the manager at Captain Mike’s) walked in for his lunch break. He shared with me that the new Mike’s location – Mike’s Donuts & Chicken – would be opening for some trial run days before their Grand Opening in February.

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Looking for a super fun, super healthy, and super affordable outlet to your daily routine? If so, get off the couch ... and DANCE, you'll love it! One of the great gems of downtown Kenosha is Laurenzi Dance Studio - locally owned and operated by the ultra-talented and artistic director, Gina Laurenzi. My daughter and her fellow 'dance mates' have had an amazing experience as part of the Laurenzi Dance Troop -- enjoying a very memorable, lifelong experience of learning new dance numbers, performing in various shows and recitals throughout the year, and enjoying close team bonding! This studio attracts all ages -- toddlers through adults – males/females, beginner through intermediate dancers. It's so enjoyable to see kids of all ages dance and perform, and adults enjoying the great hobby of dancing!

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I like to eat; that’s pretty obvious by just looking at me; to call me “large” would be being kind. Food isn’t always on my mind, but when I want to relax and have a good time, food plays a major part in my plans. So as you can imagine I’m always looking for unique and good food; the wife and I travel whenever we can, and we always search out cute little places that offer something different. So a while back on one of our travels we came across a really great place. A cute little outdoor café, sitting on a beautiful boulevard. The wife ordered salmon and I had bouillabaisse. Bouillabaisse for crying out loud! It was delicious. Wine Knot, Downtown Kenosha, WIWe enjoyed some wine, enjoyed the street activity as it passed us by…and guess what…an old fashioned street car passed by, its little bell ringing. The whole scene was very pleasant, very tranquil and very Kenosha. Yes! This all took place in downtown Kenosha. Not in some small village in France, but right at 6th Avenue and 56th Street, at Wine Knot Bar & Bistro, one of the great gems of Downtown Kenosha. When I said we found this place on our travels, I fibbed a little. We traveled here years ago from our home on the west side, and eat here frequently.

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Restaurant Week is coming to Downtown Kenosha!
February 14 - 22, 2015

This will be a great opportunity for people to try some of the fantastic eating establishments in the downtown area. Get more details now at downtownkenosha.org/rw

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