Dave Swanson doesn’t call himself a chef. He refers to himself as a cook. Yet his vision extends far beyond the plate.
More than 20 years in the making, Braise Restaurant, 1101 S. 2nd St., is the conversation Swanson wants with his community. It includes more than 400 farmers from southeastern Wisconsin, a culinary school and getting fresh foods on more tables. It also means storing more than 10,000 pounds of carrots each season.
Swanson put in the time and elbow grease to create his 80-seat Walker’s Point restaurant. Much of the space is his own vision, though he enlisted an architect to ensure ideas would work. He hand-stained pieces himself. Barn wood throughout the building comes from a farm in Burlington. The building’s original bowling alley floors got new life on the bar, and tables were created from recycled materials.
The interview that follows Kierzek’s introduction is fascinating, so check it out here. For more, watch this installment of Wisconsin Foodie that features Swanson and his Braise Restaurant, and check out this profile in the Chicago Tribune.