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Downtown Milwaukee Recs

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I will be attending a 4-day conference in downtown Milwaukee in early August. I am traveling with SO and will not have a car. Looking for recs for breakfast, lunch and dinner (particularly dinner). Looking for something "Milwaukee"-either specific food made only or better in Milwaukee and/or great views or experience. Casual is not only OK but preferred. Thanks

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  1. No recommendations at all?? Any good German food (or Polish)? Where is the best outside dining in downtown (good river or lake views). Best sausages? Best custard? Anything?

    1. I have not lived in Milwaukee for several years but here is what I remember...

      I really liked the German food at Mader's 1037-41 N. Old World Street Tel: (414) 271-3377
      but my parents claim that Karl Ratzsch's Restaurant is better: 320 E. Mason St.
      Phone: 414-276-2720

      If you can get to Kopp's Frozen Custard it is THE BEST!

      You may want to see if there is a festival going on down by the lake when your there. There is usually an ethnic festival of some sort with great food and music.

      For Italian food head to Calderone. It is right across the street from the Hyatt. Calderone Club 842 N. Old World Third St.Phone: 414-273-3236 This is the real deal. And if you go tell Gino "Carrie from Stout says Hello". Best Italian food I have EVER had. And I'm not just saying that because I did an internship there :)

      I use to like to go to Elsa's on the Park
      833 N. Jefferson St., (414) 765-0615

      Watts is a china shop that has a great lunch upstairs. I recommend the cream of broccoli soup!Watts Tea Room 761 N. Jefferson St. Phone: 414-290-5720

      Pieces of Eight is a seafood restaurant right on the lake.Pieces of Eight 550 N. Harbor Drive Phone: 414-271-0597

      I have always heard but have not been to Three Brothers Serbian Restaurant 2414 South St. Clair Street (at Russell)
      Tel: (414) 481-7530

      I'm at a lost for breakfast I'm affraid. Sorry.

      There are some micro-brewery's with outdoor seating. Rock bottom is good.Rock Bottom Brewery 740 N. Plankinton Ave phone: 414-276-3030

      But if you like beer make sure to try two local favorites:
      Leinenkugel (any of them) and Sprecher (even the root beer is awesome!)

      Have a great time! Milwaukee is really a great under rated city!!

      1. Water Street Brewery has great beer & good food. Try Miss Katie's for breakfast. Trocadero for dinner. Second Karl Ratzch's for German food. If you can get out to Leon's Frozen Custard its a Milwaukee tradition...and you can't find it better anywhere.

        1. A couple weeks ago my husband and I had a great late lunch/early dinner at Coquette Cafe. It's located in the Historic 3rd Ward and just up the street from Milwaukee's new public food market (don't expect San Francisco's Ferry Building but hey, it's a start) which would also be a good place to grab a quick bite or good snacks. We were dressed for the Cubs/Brewers game (so definitely casual) and didn't feel out of place.


          1. Unique Milwaukee dining experiences include frozen custard mentioned by others, unfortunately the best custard places aren't in downtown, but Culver's in the food court at Grand Avenue is good and if it cools down you can sit outside in comfort. Another Milwaukee tradition is fish fry, but that is a Friday (and in some places Wednesday) event. Downtown, I'd recomment Turner Hall for a fish fry.

            You wanted casual, Ratzsch's is not casual and it is not cheap. Mo's Cucina and Mo's Irish Pub are nice lunch places (~$8 w/o beverage). I also like the lunch buffet at Thai Palace (next door to Calderone on 3rd).

            1. IMO: Leons has the best custard ever anywhere but you'll have to bus it down 27th street/Second for Coquette Cafe/Others to try: Ardor for fried fish any day of week ( and is non-smoking pub with Wisc. tavern feel), Beans & Barley, Hooligans, see a movie at the Oriental theater, Cubanistas(something like that), Downer Ave: eateries from Chancery to Sendiks market and Bartolottas newer place, It is really hard to think about this without having a car...but I hope this helps. If you can get to Brady Street area you can sample lots of great stuff that will take up a few days easily. Also good stuff to eat in Bayview.

              1. Some favorite Milwaukee eateries:

                Jake's Deli: Corned beef sandwich
                Benji's: Breakfast, lox & bagels. corned beef, hoppel popple
                Kopps: Custard
                Nite Owl Drive-In: Cheeseburgers
                Three Brothers: Serbian
                OHP: Breakfast
                Jalapeno Loco: Mexican
                Beer Belly's: Blue gill and perch on Friday
                Zaffiro's: Thin crust pizza
                Martino's Italian Beef: Vienna Beef Chicago style dogs & Polish
                At Random: Ice cream drinks-alcoholic & non-alcoholic


                Born in Chicago
                Escaped to Wisconsin
                Business Instructor

                1 Reply
                1. re: chicagostyledog

                  Good List CSD! I just remembered At Random's scene-hot. Awesome link to hdu site also--will have to visit again.

                2. For a great view while having a few after dinner drinks, go to Blue, the bar on the 23rd floor of the Pfister Hotel