Caitlin Cullen

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Where do you work and what makes your role awesome? 
The Tandem at 18th and Fond Du Lac Ave in Miwaukee’s Lindsay Heights neighborhood. Owning a restaurant means I sleep rarely, eat even less frequently, and wear the same jeans far too regularly. That said, having a staff that shows up to work early because they enjoy their workplace, stays late because they love socializing with their restaurant family, and takes my resting cranky face with a grain of salt, makes all this craziness worth it.

How long have you lived in MKE & what brought you here?
I’ve been in Milwaukee just shy of four years, and got here by closing my eyes and pointing at a map of the midwest. When I got the MKE lowdown on Wikipedia, and stumbled across the portion of the article about the Bronz Fonz, I knew Milwaukee was a place that could be home for me.

What do you love most about MKE?
People here are friendlier than any place I’ve ever been. Pass someone on the street and they smile and say hi. That’s insane.

What is your favorite MKE tradition?
Dang if it isn’t a fish fry… Milwaukee and Detroit have so much in common, but being in Michigan on a Friday (at least outside of Lent) breaks my heart. Where’s my perch? Where’s my old fashioned with olives? Where’s all the families eating together? I know a fish fry is more accurately a Wisconsin tradition, but I met my first Friday fry at the Packing House and never looked back.

What neighborhood do you live in and why do you love it?
While my apartment is in Riverwest, my home is in Lindsay Heights – I spend upwards of 80 hours a week on Fond Du Lac and 18th and wouldn’t change it for the world. Lindsay Heights is home to some brilliant, motivated minds who drive positive change in their community because someone’s got to do it and who better than themselves. Walking down North Ave, everyone knows everyone by face (and likely name and family), and it only takes a few meetings to become a true friend. I love Lindsay Heights because it loves itself.

What’s your favorite hidden gem or secret fact about the city?
The egg and cheese sandwich, quick heated and adorned with Sriracha, at the Fuel Cafe on Center, kept me alive while planning and preparing to open a restaurant. Each morning, I’d have about 6 minutes to drive 30 city blocks, shove some food in my mouth, drink my coffee, and prepare for a 15 hour day of manual labor. A large black coffee and a sandwich for the same price as McDonald’s? That’s the definition of a gem in my book.