Big plans ahead for Pfister hotel bees, roof

CREATED Jun 13, 2014

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MILWAUKEE - About 23,000 honeybees are the Pfister Hotel's newest guests and they're hard at work on the building's roof. 

"They're busy laying eggs and making babies.  They're pretty active today," said Executive Chef Brian Frakes. 
Soon, the bees will turn their focus to honey.  They're expected to produce 60 pounds of honey by this fall and as much as 240 pounds by next year.
"We're gonna spin some of own signature honey ice cream, we're gonna do lots of honey dinners, so seven to nine course dinners all including honey.  We're gonna bottle a little of it, give it to our guests and clients, we're gonna put it in our pastries."
Frakes came up with the idea of producing his own honey because he wanted to do something as local as possible. 
"Everybody's doing the rooftop gardens and the herb gardens, which we will have by the end of the week, 20 foot planters with vegetables, flowers, and herbs.  But really, I'm a strong believer in local, organic, indigenous foods.  We work with a lot of Amish farmers from around the area and around the state.  So what's the next level of true local?  For the bees to go out and gather from this immediate area, what's more local than that?" said Frakes. 
As a chef, he also felt a need to help bees.
"Everybody's a little bit aware of the ongoing decreasing population of honey bees, and not that these two hives will save the world, but it helps," said Frakes.  "The whole food chain, honey bees are the basis of it.  Some would say over half the things we put in our mouths are because of bees.  They pollinate pretty much everything that grows."
He says it's a cause that's extremely important.
"If they go away then most will say so do we.  So maybe we are saving the world a little bit up here on the rooftop of the Pfister."