In early 2011, a young Chicago couple found themselves unemployed at the same time. Kate Riley, 29, quit her tutoring job at Harold Washington College, and Dan Jacobs, 32, had been laid off from his executive chef position at a French bistro. They were renting a house in Chicago they couldn’t afford, and all their money from odd jobs went straight to rent and food. Both agreed it was time for a change.
“At one point we thought, ‘wouldn’t it be fun to move to another city?’” remembers Jacobs. In April 2011, he answered a Craigslist ad for an executive chef at a Milwaukee pizzeria, and got the job. They moved immediately. A few months later, Riley picked up a part-time gig at a homewares shop and began focusing on her ceramics, a passion that had fallen by the wayside in Chicago.
Jacobs now works as the executive chef at a newer restaurant called Wolf Peach in Milwaukee’s Brewer’s Hill neighborhood, and Riley has been selling her plates to local restaurants. They pay $1300 a month for a 3-bedroom house with a garage and an art studio in Bayview, a neighborhood Jacobs describes as “the safest and chillest neighborhood in the city.” Most neighborhoods, he adds, are much cheaper.
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