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planning Milwaukee wedding: seeking fab food

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Hello there!

I've been lurking for awhile, but this is my first post.

I've always hated most wedding receptions because the food was usually so terrible (tasteless chicken cordon bleu or tough prime rib in an ugly hotel ballroom, blecch), but now I'm planning my OWN wedding, so I'm looking for suggestions from fellow food-lovers. I'm looking for a good reception site and/or a place to hold my rehearsal dinner. I need lots of help, mainly because I do not live in Milwaukee - I'm from Oklahoma! (We're having the wedding in Milwaukee because my fiancé lives there and we'll live there after the wedding.)

Details: My guest list is not going to be huge - probably 100 - 125 people at most. Half of them will be from out-of-town while half of them will be native Wisconsinites, so I want to dazzle both groups with wonderful food at my wedding.

I'm wanting to have a Saturday noontime brunch in October of 2002, so I've gotten a few suggestions like Hubbard Park Lodge (which looks fabulous) and the Hotel Metro (which seems much different than your usual hotel ballroom.) I'm leaning towards a place like the Hubbard Park Lodge, because the view will be fabulous for a daytime reception, but I'm willing to look at a lot of different places. Our budget is around $5000 for the reception (perhaps a little more, if needed).

The church where the ceremony will be is just south of the downtown area, so the downtown locations are great (just ten minutes away), but other suggestions are welcome.

As for the rehearsal dinner place, I want something reasonably priced and casual - nothing too fancy, but something classic and comfortable so we can relax before the next morning's events. I'll have maybe 50 people there. I've gotten a few suggestions, including the Historic Turner Restaurant. I need some more places to check out!

I would love any suggestions you can offer... or, if you'd like, you can shoot down the suggestions I already have. :) I'll be making a trip to Milwaukee in early August and I hope to get some arrangements made then.

Thanks so much -

Stephanie

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  1. Hey, Stephanie!
    Glad you stepped from behind the lurker curtain into the full 'hound sunshine to post! Glad to have another Midwesterner posting. I'm sure Milwaukee hounds will add to your list of great to perfect places for your wedding. Congrats, and post again soon!

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      Barbara Marshall

      Hi Stephanie. Congrats on your upcoming wedding. My husband and I were living in California when we got married 6 years ago in Milwaukee (which is where we grew up). We are living here now and my absolute first choice hands down for an October wedding is Hubbard Park Lodge! So whoever gave you that suggestion has superb taste, in my opinion! Hubbard Park is just beautiful, especially in autumn when the leaves are changing. The Milwaukee River runs through the park and there is a nice walking path along the river. The lodge has a wonderful atmosphere - very warm and homey. They are only open to the public twice a week - Friday night for dinner and Sunday brunch. The rest of the time (especially Saturdays) they have weddings and other special events. We've eaten there several times and the food is always very good. It's our favorite place for Sunday brunch (and we've tried them all)!

      I also like the Metro, but frankly their food is not consistently good and can get quite pricey. I don't mind the price if the quality is always there, but I don't think you can rely on the Metro right now. They have had a tremendous turnover in the kitchen since before they even opened for business a few years ago.

      Another place we really like for the excellent food and beautiful atmosphere is Lake Park Bistro. It's more expensive though. Joe Bartolotta, the owner, is well known in Milw. and has a few other restaurants as well. He also operates Bartolotta Catering if you find another location for the wedding where you can bring in your own caterer.

      The only other caterer I would recommend in Milwaukee is Scott Shully (Shully's) which is located in Thiensville, just north of the city. He does a magnificent job, and of course, charges accordingly!

      You might hear recommendations for Renaissance Place on Prospect Avenue. This is a place where you have to provide catering, and they will only work with certain caterers. Personally, I don't especially like the place.

      I'll give some thought to rehearsal dinner places and how you can work out the logistics with lots of out-of-town guests. If you'd like to contact me directly with more details about the kind of place you might have in mind, I'd love to hear from you.

      Good luck!

      Barbara Marshall
      bmarshall@foleylaw.com

      1 Reply
      1. re: Barbara Marshall

        Barbara,

        Thank you so much for your suggestions, especially for seconding the recommendation of the Hubbard Park Lodge. This is, in fact, the place I'm already leaning towards, as you may have noticed, even though I've never seen it. :) It just seems perfect for what we're looking for. (I've also heard that the Hotel Metro can be a bit inconsistent, so thanks for adding your input to that matter too.) We'll also look at the Lake Park Bistro.

        I'll keep you updated on what we eventually choose!

        Thanks so much,

        Stephanie
        PS: berkleybabe, thanks for the welcome!

      2. d
        Dean visiting my brother in San Fran, but live in Milwaukee.

        Hello Stephanie,
        I just discovered this site. I am assuming by now you have nailed down your sites for your events. Hubbard Park Lodge is a wonderful site for a reception. If the weather continues to hold up, your guests will be given an additional brilliant show of fall colors. It will help your guests if you can print up some form of map to the site. The street entrance is a bit tricky if they are not watching carefully.
        If you selected Lake Park Bistro another excellent choice. Beautiful views, excellent service, tremendous food.
        What are the two of you doing for some quiet quality private time before the wedding? I am partial to Mr. B's on about 170 ? & Capital Drive. This is another place from the owner of Lake Park Bistro. They have wonderful steaks, fish and fowl selections. Mr.B's has a decent wine list. Dinner for two ranges from $40 to $70. More depending on the wine.
        If the two have a preference for seafood, The Red Rock Cafe (In Shorewood.) is the best. The menue selections range from standard to creative and are fantastic. Always fresh and imaginative. One of my favorite dishes there is a grilled shrmp salad with a blueberry vinegarette!! Solid wine list. The service is very good. Has about 20 tables. It is located on the corner of Oakland and Capitol Drive.
        Have a wonderful wedding. Find time for the two of you. That quality private time before the wedding will create an additional important and wonderful memory.
        Dean R.S.

        1. I am planning a wedding in Milwaukee and I am in San Francisco...This is some tough work not being able to see the rooms any more than a little picture on the internet!! Well...The Historic Turner restauraunt looks really good to me...has anyone had their food? Any other suggestions?
          Thanks!
          Jenny