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May 4, 2008 07:09 AM

Milwaukee Looking for new ideas

I've been to Milwaukee several times but somehow get the feeling its best chow is eluding me. Can anyone help?

Particular things I wonder about:
-local whitefish
-local smoked whitefish
- meat/fowl (lamb & duck/goose)
-places unlikely to be found in popular guide books etc. but excellent to try
-Wisconsin breakfast as it should be done
- always 24-hour diner type places

Any hints on general geography ("NW side for this or that ethnicity" etc.)

I fondly also remember stumbling into one of the uncountable neighborhood bars where they played nothing but Wagner and had impressive beer selections. If only I could find that place again. Wagner & suds works well for me.

Anyway mainly looking for something that will enable us to latch on to the real food locals savor.

Thanks a bunch.


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  1. Hi,
    I really like Yaffa. It's downtown on Wells st. It's middle eastern influenced. Love the dates stuffed with blue cheese and wrapped in bacon, great lamb, duck... Interesting drinks ginger mojitos etc.
    Have fun!

    1. Here is a recent thread that highlights some restaurants and areas;
      I can't really say particular geographical areas are known for certain cuisines. There is a high concentration of Mexican restaurants on the near south side, 5th Ward. There are Serbian and Polish restaurants on the south side too. German restaurants are throughout as well as Italian.
      24 hour diners are abundant , for some reason Milwaukee has a lot of Greek family style restaurants that are open 24 hours. Ma Fischers on the east side is a favorite late night/early morning destination.
      Do you remember what part of town you stumbled into and found your Wagner and suds place? That may help to narrow it down.

      6 Replies
      1. re: Living4fun

        Thank you. "Greek Diner" is music to my (ex East Coast) ears. :-)

        As I recall the Wagner (mind's eye only) it is on the south of downtown although I cannot say whether also south of the airport (but I think maybe just North or South thereof). I can visualize a very wide street with brick old houses along both sides, some of which (duh!) are bars. You parked on the street right outside.

        I seem to recall having to climb up a set of steps so the houses/bar may have old-fashioned steps up to them.

        The bar was along the right wall as you walked in (this is not a huge place) and there was a sort of "self serve" cooler with all sorts of beer exotica on the left (far left) wall as you went in. There may have been a back room maybe that was a dining room at night. I recall scant eats: but a bologna sandwich was rustled up. (Maybe this was a Sunday prior to catching a flight home.) Maybe a staircase on the right past the bar as well. Up or down? Maybe down to the "facilities." Not sure.

        I am not sure that there was not also a railroad nearby. That I may be dreaming. As you looked out you woul dbe looking east towards the lake. I am pretty sure of that. But it was a very residential are in feel except for these businesses. Farther to the south (north?) you ran into more industrial warehouse areas.

        On this topic,. rather than a quest for the Holy Grail (Wagnerian joke) recaptured, are there any bars you can instantly feel at home in and never want to leave that you might recommend. I like the Wisconsin habit of "light & airy" bars (even with kids about) with windows and looking out versus any dark and claustrophic watering holes.

        This was a nice place.

        I keep vowing to keep a "little black book" with me at all times to jot down the names and locations of such places. One always tends to think one's memory will stand up but absent 10 years (this was since I was there) the memory goes.

        Thanks a lot.


        1. re: bishopsbitter

          And as I think about it I think it had a verandah or at least a little patio area out front with a couple of tables. I think that's where the kids were hanging out with their parents.

          Those who have not contemplated "The Ring" as good drinking music need to load up a Bayreuth CD and chug a few. I guarantee it's a good combination.

          1. re: bishopsbitter

            Hmmm, thanks for the great description, I'm going to have to think about this for a bit. Hopefully I can help you out on this one.
            Neighborhood bars are abundant in Milwaukee. A bar and church on every block, so it seems. There is a great bar in the Bay View area called The Palomino,2491 S. Superior St.,Milwaukee, WI 53207. They serve good food and they also have live music. Their Sunday brunch is very good.

          2. re: bishopsbitter

            It was Zur Krone [sic?] on the near south side, I bet. While there's probably lots of places with good beer on tap, Von Trier on the corner of Farwell and North (east side) has a good beer selection on tap. No food. Lot's of places nearby. A search with east side will turn up a bunch

            1. re: mike_d

              EUREKA - That was it. The name is instantly ringing bells.
              In fact I found
              I was right about the steps, and the "verandah" in summer must have been tables on the sidewalk only.
              But . . . CLOSED. Why does this keep happening to me!!!!!?????

              1. re: bishopsbitter

                Zur Krone is closed but in its place is a great restaurant called Crazy Water. The Chef cooks everything right behind the bar area.


                Crazy Water
                839 S 2nd St, Milwaukee, WI 53204

        2. Omega on 27th & Morgan is, IMO, the best 24 hour Greek/diner place in the city. Beats Ma Fischer's food by a mile. Only in Milwaukee will you find dinner specials that include entree, soup or salad, dessert, AND BEER.

          My favorite Mexican is Riviera Maya in Bay View (2200 ish block of S. Kinnickinnic.) Much more of a true restaurant experience as opposed to the Walkers Point places, which are more of a loud cantina type atmosphere. They have six mole sauces--out of this world.

          1 Reply
          1. re: MilwaukeeChow

            After Singalong Sound of Music concludes at the Cabot / Skylight theater (guilty confession that is partly why we are going to MKE! unrequited goatherd (not goat cheese: chevre is not my cuppa tea) obsession~ !) Omega has our name on it for a late dinner. Thanks!

          2. Just got back from a dog show at Oconomowoc (about an hour west of Milwaukee) - had great German food at Schwerfels - liver dumpling soup, sauerbraten and strawberry schaum - big lunch menu. Also had dinner at Wisconsin's oldest restaurant "Zak's Pleasant Valley Inn" in West Allis WI ( 414-321-4321) - great historical building, great food; it was lobster night but we chose the duck and the halibut - great ambiance, comfortable chairs, nice service and A+++ food. I had one of their speciality cocktails Brandy something and lived to tell the tale. Definitely worth the detour as Michelin would say.

            1. Not probably found in a guidebook, but excellent is Emperor of China. It has blasted the restaurants I have tried in the Chicago area out of the water with its Chinese cuisine.