Cheese tea coming to Milwaukee

Trends on trends: A ramen shop opening downtown in July also will serve cheese tea, a drink that’s spawned long lines of customers in China and Taiwan and has landed in New York.
Artisan Ramen will move into 530 E. Mason St., said co-owner Xiaoyu Liu, who projected a mid-July soft opening. 530 E. Mason briefly was the site of Hibachi Boy restaurant and previously housed fajitas and arepas restaurants.
Cheese tea this year caught the eye of writers at Food & Wine magazine and the Food Network. Liu described the drink as fruit tea or green tea with a cheese topping — kind of like the cream cheese frosting on a cake. The foamy topping, typically made of cream cheese blended with sweetened condensed milk, can be sweet or salty.
Liu said the restaurant will serve the cheese topping over coffee, as well.  Artisan Ramen also will serve standard coffee because, Liu said, that area of downtown is underserved by coffee shops.
Liu, who is from southern China, near Hong Kong, and moved to Milwaukee several years ago from New York, said she wanted to open a ramen shop to bring a new experience to diners downtown.
Although downtown doesn’t have its own ramen shop, the Japanese noodle bowls have been appearing around the city for several years. The east side alone has Red Light Ramen, Japanese restaurant Izumi’s and the recently opened Yokohama; Kawa Ramen and Sushi is due to open in August on Murray Ave.
Milwaukee’s ramen restaurants typically use noodles made by vendors elsewhere, often by the well-regarded Sun Noodle. Artisan Ramen will make its own, with a machine it’s importing from Japan. Liu said she also plans to offer gluten-free noodles.
The restaurant will serve four or five kinds of ramen, including vegetable-based and spicy broths. Liu said Artisan also wants to develop a ramen for Milwaukee — perhaps one with cheese.
It will also have a half-dozen appetizers, including steamed buns and edamame.
The interior is under construction to give it a more contemporary and brighter look, Liu said.
Once construction is finished and permits are issued, the restaurant would be open Monday through Saturday, with the kitchen and bar open until 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays, Liu said.

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