“The Milwaukee Hotel Experience”

500 W. Florida St., Milwaukee

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The Iron Horse Hotel is the transformation of a 100-year-old warehouse into a one-of-a-kind hotel that delivers an authentic Milwaukee experience. As the industry’s first upscale hotel geared for business travelers and motorcycle enthusiasts alike, we meet the distinct needs of both corporate and leisure guests with special services, unparalleled amenities and 100 loft-style guest rooms. (from The Iron Horse website)

Located a block away from the Harley-Davidson Museum, the hotel is a hot spot not only for travelers, but also Milwaukee-area patrons who mingle, drink, dine and hang out in the public spaces at the Iron Horse – Smyth, Branded, The Yard, and the Library.

Places to eat within the Iron Horse:

Smyth

Chef-inspired and locally influenced, Smyth delivers great food in an iconic setting

Monday-Friday 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

Monday-Thursday 5-9 p.m.

Friday-Saturday 5-10 p.m.

Sunday (for Route 66 brunch) 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Branded

A classic Milwaukee bar, vintage modern décor matches the cocktail list.

Sunday-Thursday 11 a.m.-11 p.m.

Friday-Saturday (food until midnight) 11 a.m.-close

The Yard

Described as “Miami meets Milwaukee” and located adjacent to the Sixth Street Viaduct, the hotel’s popular patio features a full food and cocktail menu during the summer months

Monday-Wednesday 11 a.m.-11 p.m.

Thursday-Friday (food until midnight) 11 a.m.-2 a.m.

Saturday (food until midnight) 7 a.m.-2 a.m.

Sunday 8 a.m.-11 p.m.

Enjoy the blues at Sunday Sounds or Bike Nights on Thursdays, where locals and guests showcase approximately 300 motorcycles each week.

Popular dish: Milwaukee brat

The Library

Breakfast and special events room

Proprietor:

Tim Dixon (B.S. Management, ’89)

His backstory:

Dixon opened his first restaurant – Timothy’s in West Bend, Wis. – in the 1980s. But that short-lived venture did not foretell the successes still to come in his career. After the restaurant closed, Dixon went on to pursue his education at Stritch, discover his passion for restoring historic buildings, and eventually founded Dixon Development, LLC.

The lessons he learned along the way and his visionary outlook on hotel operations led to the creation of The Iron Horse Hotel as well as other developments, including several restaurants. A carpenter by trade and owner of his own Harley, Dixon introduced the Iron Horse Hotel to the community in 2008 and earned immediate praise and prestigious industry awards.

Dixon’s other Milwaukee restaurants:

Stack’d

In downtown’s restored Kramer Foundry Building in the Fifth Ward, Dixon describes this as a destination, high-end restaurant even though it’s a burger joint.

170 S. First St., Milwaukee

Combining quality grass-fed beef with premium local ingredients, Stack’d is Milwaukee’s burger bar for foodies. We are a locally owned burger bar that understands that keeping business local is vital to the community, which is why we purchase and support local ingredients and products whenever possible. At Stack’d we believe quality comes first. Our cook-to-temperature burgers and sides may take longer, but trust us – it’s worth it. (from the Stack’d website)

Monday-Thursday 11 a.m.-10 p.m.

Friday 11 a.m.-11 p.m.

Saturday 11 a.m.-11 p.m.

Sunday 11 a.m.-9 p.m.

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Recommended dishes: Vegetarian burger, gluten-free or vegan options, bison burger

Dixon’s favorite: The Hangover Stack (grass-fed beef, smothered with fried onions, bacon, Wisconsin cheddar, lettuce, tomato and a fried egg)

Wolf Peach

1818 N. Hubbard St., Milwaukee

(414) 374-8480

Wolf Peach pays homage to rustic European cuisine that draws inspiration regional ingredients - namely, the noble tomato. Fueled by passion and a 6,000-pound wood-fired oven, we pair beautiful ingredients from local farms, purveyors and artisans to create food to feed the soul. (from the Wolf Peach website)

Dinner nightly

Brunch Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Happy hour 3-6 p.m., Monday-Friday

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Points of pride at the Iron Horse:

The décor: Dixon along with Milwaukee artist Charles Dwyer conceived the Americana flag in the Iron Horse Hotel lobby, created from 32½ pairs of jeans (29-inch waist, 34-inch inseam). It’s a signature, conversation piece that is part of the overall industrial chic décor.

“I wanted the space to feel like it was put together over time, kind of knick-knacked together.” In addition to the flag, the lobby features custom, high-end furniture accented by vintage mercantile pieces and the whole hotel showcases bits of history and the essence of Milwaukee through carefully chosen and meaningful artifacts.

Secret to success:

A carpenter by trade, Dixon has a life-long love for old buildings. Whether rural or urban, Dixon says inspiration for his work emerges from their unique locations. In fact, building in the context of the environment is a Dixon mantra. (from the Iron Horse website)

Business philosophy:

“What underpins Dixon’s considerable passion for building is a desire to make the communities better than he found them.” (Stritch Magazine)

Awards/recognitions:

2011 Top 100 Gold List by Condé Nast Traveler (The Iron Horse ranked 10th best hotel in America out of the 100 that made the list)

2010, 2011 “Boutique Hotel of the Year” by Boutique & Lifestyle Lodging Association (BLLA)

2009 Best New Development by the Milwaukee Business Journal

Two-time Hotelier of the Year by BLLA

Ranked the #1 hotel in Wisconsin since nine weeks of opening in 2008

AAA Four Diamond ranking

Community involvements:

As described in Stritch Magazine’s Fall/Winter 2011 magazine, Dixon founded Build, a nonprofit that challenges at-risk high school students to work alongside master builders and faculty advisors to rebuild a motorcycle and, in the process, learn valuable trade skills.

Other business ventures, owned by Dixon Development LLC:

For more than 20 years, the company has specialized in re-development of underutilized buildings and land within urban and rural developments, creating apartments, condominiums, and restaurants, and “turning gritty warehouses, forgotten blocks and old factories into residential and commercial properties that retain more than a hint of their origins.”

Stritch memories:

“It was the hardest, best education I ever had. I literally learned to read, write and articulate my thoughts all over again at Stritch. It gave me the tools to do what I do best, which is this,” he said, gesturing around the grand lobby of his hotel.

Future plans:

New restaurant: Next door to the Iron Horse, Dixon plans to open The Butchery, a steak joint that will feature grass-fed animals that are humanely slaughtered. They plan to dry-age the whole animal and provide off-cuts in addition to the standard cuts of meat. The remaining meat will be ground and used at Stack’d, where they go through 2,000 pounds of ground beef in a month.

New hotel: In addition, Dixon and his business partners announced plans to redevelop the historic Detroit Fire Department Headquarters into a 100-room upscale independent hotel in 2015.

Summing it up:

“When I bought the building, I knew what it could be. We’ve created a destination,” said Dixon of the Iron Horse. “Milwaukeeans have embraced this place as their own.”