By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Dec 01, 2023 at 10:03 AM

Temple Goddess Cafe and Adonis Burger Co. are among the newest vendors to join Crossroads Collective, the East Side food hall at 2238 N. Farwell Ave.

The plant-based concept, which showcases flavors from around the world – including the Mediterranean, India and Asia – is slated to open on Friday, Dec. 8 in the vendor stall that formerly housed HotWax. 

In turn, guests can look forward to a culinary experience that blends international flavors with history and mythology through dishes like Pasticcio Stella, a Greek favorite inspired by a family recipe.

“This isn’t humdrum vegan fare,” notes Emily Chirillo, Hospitality Director at New Land Enterprises, the development company behind Crossroads. “Each dish tells a story and celebrates its ingredients. The global flavors and plant-based focus make Crossroads a destination where there truly is something for everyone.”

Pasticcio Stella
Pasticcio Stella (Photo: Temple Goddess Cafe)

From NY to Florida to MKE

Behind the concept are Chef Gregory Cilmi, who credits his global inspiration to early roots in a Sicilian household, cultural exchanges with Indian and Turkish friends, and a love of sharing food; and Eve Savva, a Cyprian bellydancer and yoga instructor with a deep understanding of the importance of nutritious, delicious food in a healthy lifestyle. 

Originally from New York, Savva and Cilmi initially established Temple Goddess as a dance and yoga studio in Florida in 2009. While doing so, they found themselves increasingly disappointed with the availability of plant-based cuisine in the area. So, they took their more than 45 collective years practicing a vegan/vegetarian lifestyle and made the move to launch a vegan cafe and juice bar as part of their studio.  But, by 2019, they felt the pull of home.

“We missed the change of season, the geography, and the cultural diversity of living in a metropolitan city,” Cilmi explains, noting that he’d traveled to Milwaukee on numerous occasions while living in Florida.

“Every time I visited Milwaukee, it felt like I was going home. There was so much that reminded me of New Jersey, and I felt very comfortable here.”

The couple initially launched their business as vendors through Paper Table, the ghost kitchen on Milwaukee Street Downtown, but found their match at Crossroads, where they hope to contribute to the East Side community.

“We are excited to bring the spirit of Temple Goddess to Crossroads Collective,” says Savva. “The vibrant atmosphere and community-centric vibe align perfectly with our vision of creating a space where people can enjoy delicious, healthy meals while sharing stories and experiences.”

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.