What started out as a butcher shop concept, has evolved and changed over the years to become a full-service restaurant and butcher shop concept. On the one hand, Bavette is a modern rendition of a time-honored tradition, which is that of the neighborhood butcher shop. Through the butcher shop, Bavette strives to honor those traditions of quality and excellence by sourcing whole animals raised responsibly on small, local farms and custom cutting the meat. By getting in whole carcasses, Bavette achieves more sustainability and less waste. In addition, Bavette provides total traceability of its meat back to a singular farm and a singular animal. At Bavette, the consumer will enjoy complete transparency of its food moving from farm to plate. In conjunction with the butcher shop, Bavette is also a restaurant, serving these meats on a daily changing menu consisting of salads, sandwiches, small plates, pâtès, cheese, and charcuterie boards. What you see at the meat counter and on the menu each week are all from the same animal. The restaurant truly is a farm-to-table restaurant, sourcing not only the meat but most of its produce from nearby farms. In addition to the highly seasonal menu, there are chef-curated retail items, such as Wisconsin cheeses, local charcuterie, artisanal jams, pickles, salts, vinegar, and oil. Going along with the thoughtful menu is a select and unique offering of craft beers, wines, and cocktails.
Karen Bell is a Milwaukee native with over 20 years of culinary experience around the world. She has lived and worked in Chicago, San Francisco, Paris, Madrid, and Caracas, with each place adding to her culinary identity. Along the way and as her career progressed, she became more interested in where our food comes from and how it gets to our plates. After opening and successfully running her own restaurant in Madrid, Spain, she decided to move back to Milwaukee to embark on a new chapter. Opening a butcher shop was her way of carrying on a dying craft, honoring time-old culinary traditions as well as providing a direct link from farmer to consumer. When not in the kitchen, Bell has a passion for travel and food and wine from around the world and now leads food and wine trips to mostly Spain, but also Portugal and South America. Bell was honored to be nominated as a semi-finalist for James Beard Best Chef, Midwest region, in 2017 and a finalist in 2018.