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WHERE IT ALL BEGAN
Where It All Began:
Behind the Eyes of a Lifelong Bucks Fan
By: Sean Wille
In the Midst of an exciting playoff run for a lifelong Bucks fan, I can only smile in knowing that I played the smallest of parts of a major event. I had a window into a subtle defining moment of the season. Before a single tip-off, Giannis Dunk, or Money Middleton three. Before the Bucks officially had a head coach. There was “The Breakfast” and I was there.
When an opportunity comes, you jump at it. That’s a common life theme for many these days. So when an opportunity to help build a hospitality group back in my hometown of Milwaukee came, I leapt. First thing to happen before I packed a bag or stepped on the plane from NYC to MKE, I sent a text to my brothers with two words: “Season Tickets.” There was just a single response: “Done”.
Flash forward two years with Stand Eat Drink. We’re planning parties, events, weddings with Meli, Holiday services, brunches, meetings, late-nights, adult proms, Stranger Things Halloween, Sangria-Fests, Sangria Labs, and then... a private brunch for the Milwaukee Bucks. They needed a space for a morning meeting with trustworthy discretion. Everyone within SED will tell you that I’m always ready to talk about the Bucks. “How’d They do last night?” “What do you think of the trade?” “Is Giannis the MVP?” In short: great, great, and YES! So when SED owners Aaron and Andrei came to me to arrange a private meeting between a potential coach and a couple Bucks players, I jumped at the opportunity. All I could think of was a line from the 2001 Bucks anthem, “Who’s gonna win it… The Bucks, The Bucks”.
During our Team Meeting the day before, we came up with a menu, arranged the seating, and cleared the morning calendar - the start of the 2018-19 Milwaukee Bucks season was set for the following day.
The next morning we were gearing up and watching Bucks highlights on the televisions before the first few members of the Bucks staff were scheduled to show up. When they arrived, they told us that we had ten minutes until the prospective coach was to come straight from the plane. Then we welcome Mike Budenholzer to Hotel Madrid, and realize the first people in Milwaukee to greet him is Stand Eat Drink. There was a little chatter about the trip from Atlanta to MKE and an order of Rishi tea before the coach was ready to meet. Five minutes later, Giannis and Khris walked in. As they were ducking under the archways and joking about how early it was, I escorted them to the table where fruit boards and Iberian Jamon were waiting.
They took a second to look at the menu, then ordered two plates of eggs with bacon and one plate of steak and eggs with a whole lot of privacy on the side. They needed to get into details about a potential season together. They spent a short amount of time on intros and their meals before they got right into the real discussions. The three men sat there - Giannis with his black notebook, Khris asking a few questions, Mike getting right down to details about philosophies, tendencies, offense to defense, and leadership. An hour and half later with 3 carafes of Orange Juice and a few more servings of tea consumed, the meeting ended with handshakes and began what we now know as the start of the NBA’s best team.
We asked for a quick picture with Giannis and Khris on the patio next to our newest edition, a T-Rex Mural, which they kindly and happily took part in. While we were outside Giannis commented, “Wow this is all the same place. This is nice. Gonna have to come back here.” And just like that they were into their cars, off to the next meetings, back to reality and another full workday ahead.
Stand Eat Drink hosted perhaps the most important meeting of Milwaukee’s Summer 2018. The breakfast has been written about and tweeted about. It’s made headlines and cover stories. Stand Eat Drink hosted it. Stand Eat Drink hosted “The Breakfast”.
It didn’t take long for my imagination to run. We just potentially witnessed the start of the season, the start of a division championship, the start of the league's best team, and the start of an NBA title. It’s fun to think we could have started everything. Or that we could’ve messed everything up.
Or maybe we were just there when it happened. But there is Hotel Madrid. Where it all began. And I was there.