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Twisted Willow Restaurant Due in Mid-May in Port Washington

By Carol Deptolla of the Journal Sentinel
April 19, 2013 8:00 a.m.

Twisted Willow, a restaurant that will grow some of its produce this summer on an area farm, is projected to open in mid-May in Port Washington.

It will open at 308 N. Franklin St., the former site of Wind Rose Wine & Martini Bar.

Jill Bunting said the staff is finalizing the menu; the chef is her brother, Dan Wiken, who previously was the chef at the Packing House on Milwaukee's south side for many years.

Bunting's husband, Rick, is one of three friends, all physicians, who own the building and the restaurant. Ken Jensen and Doug McManus are the other owners.

"As couples, we've been friends for over 40 years," Jill Bunting said. "Planning the restaurant has been a lot of fun for all of us."

Bunting said she and her husband had planned to open a bed-and-breakfast inn at their farm in Grafton, but it evolved into the restaurant when Wiken was ready to try something new.

Wiken's interest in gardening and heirloom seeds helped shape the restaurant, Bunting said. Seeds for some vegetables to be grown at the Buntings' farm in Grafton have been started at the restaurant, under lights in the basement.

Twisted Willow's aim is to incorporate natural and local ingredients; grass-fed beef will be from Wisconsin and greens will be from Growing Power, for example.

That will extend to ingredients for the bar, as well, Bunting said. The bar will have a piano, with entertainment on the weekends.

The menu is expected to offer plates for sharing such as flatbreads and entrées such as short ribs, and the kitchen will grind its own meat blend for meatloaf and make bratwurst for sliders. There'll be vegetarian and gluten-free dishes.

Twisted Willow at first will be open for dinner only, Tuesdays through Saturdays, with hopes to add lunch service later.​

Business | The new restaurant will takeover the former Wind Rose space

By Lyssa Beyer of The Port Washington Patch
April 22, 2013 

The former Wind Rose location in Port Washington's downtown won't be sitting vacant for much longer.

Twisted Willow, a restaurant that will be infusing a local focus with its menu, will open in mid-May, according to a article. Foods will include grass-fed beef from Wisconsin, self-grown produce on a farm nearby and greens from Growing Power, to name a few.

The restaurant is located at 308 N. Franklin St., and "Now Hiring" signs recently dotted the entrances. Patch will follow up with the owners to bring you the full story soon.

Business, The Neighborhood Files
Local, Organic Experience Focus of New Restaurant in Port's Downtown 

Twisted Willow will open late May to the public, with a focus on locally grown and organic products and a unique menu with specialty drinks and homemade dishes.

By Lyssa Beyer of The Port Washington Patch
May 7, 2013 

Potted plants sit on a tall shelf awaiting planting behind the bar at Twisted Willow, a new restaurant launching in the former Wind Rose space in downtown Port Washington that puts a focus on organic and locally grown products.

Owner Dan Wiken will operate the restaurant, also as chef. His sister, Jill Bunting, is a partner in the business.

"This opportunity came up, and I ended up moving out here," Wiken said, explaining that Bunting had debated opening a bed and breakfast at the farm where she lives in Grafton, but instead the Wind Rose space became available. Wiken worked as a chef for 38 years in Milwaukee; he has also been gardening for more than 30 years, experimenting with various heirloom vegetables and organic practices that will be applied to the restaurant.

The plants currently inside the business will be grown on Bunting's farm, and used for cooking at the restaurant. Bunting said she'll also be raising chickens that will eventually provide meat for some of Twisted Willow's meals. The restaurant will serve organic coffee, and drinks at the bar take a local, homemade focus, too.

"We decided to do everything the way that we like to eat," Bunting said. 

Burgers will feature grass-fed beef from Black Earth Farms, and french fries will be homemade with a press hanging on the kitchen's wall. A bratwurst slider menu item will feature bratwurst meat handground by the restaurant. 

Other favorites on the menu include a roasted vegetable salad, featuring beets, parsnips, carrots and butternut squash, as well as a coconut shrimp curry appetizer, which is grilled shrimp with jasmine rice, and topped with pineapple and cilantro. 

Flatbreads will be homemade, and an Asian Barbeque Salmon entree features locally produced honey. The Little Billy menu for kids features many standard options such as mac and cheese — but extra care is still given to the little ones, for example, with homemade chicken strips.

Jan Bruder, a manager with the restaurant who is overseeing the bar area, said she's carried over the focus on local in the beverage selection, choosing craft beers and specialty drinks.

"(The bar mimics) the rest of the experience that you'll have here — everything is fresh ... everything is made from scratch," she said. "So, you'll see a lot of shaking, muddling and such at the bar."

By everything — she means it: even margaritas will incorporate agave nectar and real ingredients rather than premade mixes. 

"No fillers," she said. "You won't see squirt, or sweet-and-sour or anything." 

Specifically, the bar plans to stock beer from 3 Sheeps Brewing out of Sheboygan, Lake Louie Brewing from Arena and O'So Brewing Company from Plover. Specialty drinks will include names such as the Porch Swing, the Pain Killer and an Esquire Manhattan using Templeton Rye. The bar will also serve seasonal drinks depending on what's growing, such as using fresh mint or strawberries, and ice cream drinks will be available for dessert.

Speaking of dessert, the restaurant has a few unique items planned: table top s'mores; homemade cookies using milk from Sassy Cow Creamery; and a cherry crumble dessert using Door County fruit, served with ice cream.

"(We'll) start out with homemade (ice cream) and see if we can keep up (with demand," Wiken said.

The group has been working to make improvements to the building that has been sitting empty all while preparing the restaurant plan and menu, calling for "a lot of late nights so far," Wiken said. 

Much of the work to redecorate and furnish the restaurant was done by the restaurant crew themselves. They painted the walls, refinished old chairs purchased from the Habitat for Humanity ReStore and built cabinets seen throughout the dining room — even incorporating old barn doors from Bunting's farm in Grafton.

The light fixtures in the dining room had once before been used in the building — when it was a hardware store in the 30s, Wiken said. The group found them in the basement and cleaned them up before reinstalling the pieces.

"We wanted to rehab things and reuse it," Bunting said, adding that the tables were formerly from Turner Hall in Milwaukee.

The restaurant will be open to the public the week of May 20, starting out with dinner hours only. The bar will open at 3 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and dinner tables will be set at 4:30 p.m. The restaurant will be closed Sunday and Monday.

Twisted Willow is located at 308 N. Franklin St. and can be reached by calling 262-268-3700. Plus, learn more about the restaurant on it's website : 
Twisted Willow logo