920 E Locust Street, Milwaukee WI 53212
info@lushpopcorn.com – 414-215-0052
Tuesday – Thursday 4pm-7pm
Friday & Saturday 4pm-9pm


by BB Bishop

How does a food upstart launch in a new neighborhood and transform a dive spot to an upscale lounge? Similar to giving an every-day snack a makeover with luxurious chocolate, adult flavor notes and unexpected pairings. As delightful as the gourmet flair of the farm-to-kettle popcorn, is the updated, sleek interior at Lush Popcorn on Locust Street—and the sibling duo behind the magic: Marc and Marcia Taylor.
As the unmistakable aroma wafts through the air, enticing passersby with flavors like CBD-infused Chocolate Strawberry Love, and Crown Apple Caramel, so drifts the contagious cheer of the proprietors. Successful alumni of the original cohort of Sherman Phoenix upstarts, they have recently relocated to Riverwest after five years at the marketplace. They join fellow Phoenix graduate Honeybee Sage Cafe and Wellness, who also moved to the neighborhood on King Drive in late 2022.
While a sampling of popcorn flavor experiences is the perfect complement to an evening of sophisticated cocktails and upscale ambiance, they are also serving up snacks from—you guessed it, another Sherman Phoenix fellow, Funky Fresh Spring Rolls. One cannot exist on popcorn alone. Featured are specialty rolls beyond the brand’s core four flavors, recently offering Butter Chicken and a hashbrown-laden brunch roll.
Meeting the pair behind Lush Popcorn—whether behind the bar or behind the scenes in their newly expanded production space—is likely to happen during business hours, which currently are early evenings Tuesday through Saturday. It’s the perfect location and timing for a happy hour stop-off. The move from the 300 square foot Phoenix space to Locust Street, in the old Klinger’s, effectively decupled their production space, while creating one of the most elegant event spaces in Riverwest. The expansion has also allowed them to hire a crew of seven staff members, which leaves time to mingle with customers. It’s not uncommon for someone stopping in for a gift purchase to also peruse the specialty cocktail menu, with a delightful selection of local spirits. A secret retail upside—customers buy more after a drink.
As spring and summer approach, nightly specials offered are Turn-Up Trivia on Tuesdays, Wednesday Wine Night, Thirsty Thursdays, plus Friday Karaoke and games. Tranquil Wines, a new venture from a female Black-owned business, are locally blended and will be paired with specially selected popcorn flavors. May 31st will mark Lush’s ten-year anniversary and should be a sweet time to stop in; also, don’t forget to come say hi during Locust Days.
While these culinary entrepreneur success stories are a source of pride for Milwaukee’s food biz scene, taking the time to chat with the pair reveals personal narratives, aligned but distinct, from a sister and brother who are more than just business-minded gourmet popcorn pushers.
Along with Marc’s twin sister Marisa, the Taylors grew up in a hard-working, solidly middle-class Detroit family; dad was a teacher, mom a nurse. This was a time when junk food was at the heart of American consumption, producing the timeless sugary cereals, lunchbox treats and huge bags of salty snacks that kids and parents both craved.
At Christmas, all three Taylor kids competed for the best out of the classic three flavor popcorn tins—which depending on your taste could be caramel or cheese—leaving baby Marc, the youngest by a few minutes, left with plain old butter. He also recalls at a young age, experimenting with different flavor combinations of Kool Aid, reminiscent of what goes on behind the bar and in the kitchen today.
An emphasis on education and diligence meant college was mandatory for the young Taylors. Marcia originally wanted to become a doctor, but remarks “people only go to the doctor when they’re feeling bad.” Pivoting to a more promising path, she completed a degree in Biomedical Engineering at Michigan Tech, attending school in the Upper Peninsula. Marc, a true Detroit son, pursued Automotive Technology at Ferris State University. He dreamt of working for the Big Three, as sister Marisa now does, and still has deep love for motor vehicles.
Before starting the company that has been delighting taste buds for the past decade, the pair made their way from Michigan to Milwaukee. It started when Marcia landed a position at GE HealthCarew in Pewaukee. The opportunity and the landscape were different enough to be intriguing yet not too far from home. Seventeen years later, she is still with GE and has built a solid career as a Product Manager. Along the way her extracurricular hobby has become just as successful; originally, her white chocolate popcorn was her specialty item brought to corporate employee potlucks.
Marc moved to the city three years after his sister, knowing “not much” about Milwaukee, but found friendship here, as well as a lot of country roads perfect for driving fast.

Speaking of fasting, he is an avid wellness devotee, and includes the practice into his regimen. Formerly a personal trainer, he focuses on nutrition as much as exercise. These days, he researches food and is intentional as to what he consumes. This filters down into the choice of ingredients that go into Lush popcorn flavors, as well as the kernels themselves. Grown locally, Tietz Family Farms supplies the corn directly. Their small kernels are known as “butterfly” popcorn for their shape (the rounder popped corn, “mushroom”).
Milwaukee has found a place in the family, as Marc and Marcia found their place here. Their parents will be marking their 40th wedding anniversary in 2024–and the celebration destination will be here.
So you won’t find a singular visionary mastermind behind the success of Lush Popcorn. What you will encounter, by way of lots of early mornings and hard work, punctuated by sincere, beaming smiles, are a pair of talented, good people making it happen. Reflecting on where they -are at this point in their journeys, Marcia remarks that her life purpose is to “spread joy”, while for Marcus, it’s been to “bring people together.” Their new space allows for both.