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Apr 7, 2009 06:05 PM

Good Eats In Milwaukee?

I am new to Milwaukee and need the scoop on the where to eat. I am a true foodie (think Adam Richman from Man v. Food) so give me those great spots that know how to serve the good stuff. Here's my wish list of foods but I'll take any suggestions:

Burgers (the messier the better)
Pizza (this is a staple of my food supply)
Tex Mex (I know there's a lot of authentic mexican up here and I respect that but I'm a tex mex guy)
BBQ (I used to live in the south so if you're gonna suggest something it better be good)
Samiches (sandwiches to most people but messy cheesy goodness to me)

Thanks in advance fellow Chowhounds!

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  1. If it's still there...Kopp's for burgers, in this Disney-Epcot-Tomorrowland cement dome...AWESOME burgers, skinny fries and fantastic frozen custard!

    1. I haven't found any pizza that I like in Milwaukee (I'm a Chicago native, so my standards are high). For burgers, I second the Kopp's suggestion: the butter burger there, and at Culver's, is a Milwaukee classic. You should probably abandon your dreams of Tex Mex and BBQ and try to develop a taste for frozen custard...

      1. For burgers, you have to try Sobelman's Pub and Grill-Get the Sobelman Burger (or better yet the double) and thank me later!

        For Pizza I like Zaffiros or Balistreri's on 68th.

        Speed Queen BBQ is a must.

        Tex Mex-I have no idea

        The corned beef at Jakes is awesome.
        Suburpia has some good sandwiches.
        The Philly Way makes a really good cheese steak sandwich to satisfy the messy cheesy requirement.

        Sobelmans Pub & Grill
        1900 W Saint Paul Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53233

        Speed Queen Bar-B-Q
        1130 W Walnut St, Milwaukee, WI 53205

        Jake's Delicatessen
        1634 W North Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53205

        Zaffiro's Pizza & Bar
        1724 N Farwell Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53202

        Balistreri's Italian-American
        812 N 68th St, Milwaukee, WI 53213

        Original Suburpia
        10853 W Bluemound Rd, Milwaukee, WI 53226

        Philly Way
        405 S 2nd St, Milwaukee, WI 53204

        4 Replies
        1. re: David Z

          A second on Sobelman's. If you're on the east side, Hooligan's has a number of burger options, all of which are good.

          Zaffiro's is good. Lisa's Pizza on Oakland is my fave. I don't think you can find a deep dish like Chicago has, but I grew up in Chicago on thin crust anyway. Haven't had Angelo's (near Marquette) in years but hear it's still good. Near Sobelman's

          Haven't made it to the Philly Way, but again an east side substitute is Chubby's Cheesesteaks, and yes they have CheezWhiz

          1. re: mike_d

            Yeah, Philly Way is, in fact, comparable to a true Philly cheesesteak (having lived there for 4 years) if that's what you crave (though whenever in Philly I'm much more interested in the roast pork w/spicy greens, but that's another post).

            Pizza crust is really thin here, to a cracker-like degree, which I'm only so-so about (Lisa's, Pizza Man, Marchese's Olive Pit).

            I'd second Elsa's for burgers.

            And I'd throw out that you should hit up some local-style places. Old German Beer Hall seems at first like a place to get half-assed bar food but it'll really impress with the sausages and if they have this hard-boiled egg/meaty thing w/mustard, eat the hell out of that thing.

            Cafe Hollander/Trocadero's (same owner) both are very solid for both brunch and dinner, both with excellent beer selections (try regional breweries like Capital and Founders).

            I'd also mention that one of my favorite things about living here is the completely foreign yet delightful practice of everyone giving you a beer chaser with your bloody mary. I've never seen this elsewhere in the US, but I think it should become mandatory.

            Fish fries, I'd add, are not just hype. The average pub here has achieved a mastery of batter and crispness, along with freshness of fish, that would probably put them in any sort of "top fish and chips" list elsewhere in the US.

            And this, "I define Tex Mex as being a bolder flavor than Authentic Mexican," well, those are fighting words but as I live in the midwest now I will let it go in the interest of being a welcoming new neighbor.


            1. re: joypirate

              I'm with you on the pizza crust, I like thin but not cracker thin.

              Egg, meat and mustard? I'm in for trying that!

              It didn't take me long to figure out that fish fry fridays are akin to a religious experience around here. I'm not a big fried fish fan, although I have consumed many meals in the south that were nothing but "golden brown goodness", mostly chicken. With that said you've sold me on trying the fish!

              I'm not looking to fight just eat so maybe I'll find some authentic Mexican that will change my opinion, I hope so!


          2. re: David Z

            David you know how to eat, bro! You only missed to must trys, McBobs on 49th and North, corned beef or tacos(they claim tacos are Gaelic) and Solly's. Their burgers don't drip butter, they pour butter from them. Milwaukee classic.

          3. I also recommend Sobleman's for burgers.

            Cafe Lulu in Bay View has a great sandwich selection.

            Pizza . We like Ann's in Hales Corners.

            BBQ I'd go with Speed Queen too.

            Tex Mex There are plenty of places but I don't know if they live up to true Tex Mex.

            1. Welcome to Milwaukee. if you can tell us what side of town you are located in, we may be able to help you with nearby places.

              For burgers (and messy ones at that), no one can beat Solly's. Great shakes too.

              Sobelman's is a really good burger too if you prefer a bar setting to a diner.

              Lalli's Pizza is the best I've found since the original Al Calderone on the east side closed. They do not have a website, they are located at 8826 W North Ave. Cash Only, and no inside seating, but if the weather is mild, there are some tables outside. Also, I havent been to Maria's Pizza, but this place LOOKS fantastic!

              BBQ being as subjective a thing on a par with chili, and you being from the south, you might not find much to like here. Speed Queen is really good, and their sauce is some of the best, but Ashley's at 1501 W Center should not be overlooked. Carry-out only, and there is not much ambiance to the neighborhood, but their rib tips are the best.

              But speaking of chili, if you can accept Cincinnati-style chili as chili at all, Real Chili (two locations, both on Wells) does it really well.

              Jake's for corned beef, Suburpia for subs. My own personal favorite for hot dogs is Mike's Red Hots at 6914 N Teutonia (pronounced TIE-tone-ya, NOT TOO-tone-ya. The latter will peg you as a newbie).

              Like the others so far, I am unable to recommend a place for Tex-Mex.

              8 Replies
              1. re: Fydeaux

                Real Chili is a must try for a Milwaukee resident. Simply classic.

                1. re: cscott4313

                  What's the difference between Cincinnati chili and Milwaukee chili?

                  and can someone please tell us more about the bloody mary - beer chaser phenomenon? is this a brunch thing?

                  1. re: sarapeater

                    I've only seen it at brunch but that's also the only time i order one, so not sure. Some places don't even ask if you want it, they just bring it out. Some ask. It's almost always a small glass of beer (a highball glass sometimes), or even special tiny bottles (i've seen corona and heineken). it's always a lighter beer, like a hoegarden or something in that neighborhood.

                    1. re: sarapeater

                      Milwaukee, for all the great things that can be said about it, never seems to have developed a truly native chili tradition. Therefore, the styles of chili to be found here all derived from other places, be it Cincinnati, Texas, or what have you. There is Green Bay-style chili, but I have never had it that I can recall, so I dont know what distinguishes it.

                      As for Bloody Marys, they are often served with a small beer on the side. Many people like to have the beer as an ingredient, and it is not unusual to have a bartender ask if you want the beer in the drink or on the side. (I have heard the beer in the drink version referred to as red beer.) I dont think this is strictly local, as I can recall having Bloody Marys in both New Orleans and New Mexico with beer served on the side without asking for it.

                      1. re: Fydeaux

                        Made with clamato juice and beer (among other things), a bloddy mary is turned into a "red sky." Wonderful drink, but in no way native to Milwaukee. I recently saw them being served in Puerto Vallarta (obviously, called "rojo cielo" there). On a seperate note, I have heard roomers of some bloddy mary's being served with sausage sticks in them, along with the cellery and whatever. Only in Milwaukee could you find this haha.

                        1. re: cscott4313

                          yeah, comet cafe has a bacon bloody mary. and old german beer hall has bratwurst chili.

                        2. re: Fydeaux

                          ok. I'd never heard of Mke Chili either. That makes me feel better.

                          but the bloody mary + beer thing still has me spinning. I love it. I'll get back to you after I dig around

                          1. re: Fydeaux

                            If I remember correctly, the original owner of Real Chili got his recipe from Chili John's in Green Bay. So, if you've had Real Chili......