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Milwaukee food help

Hello all,

I'm a former Milwaukeean who has been living in New york for the last decade. I'm coming back for a visit this summer and am overwhelmed at all of the new dining choices in my old home-town.

Besides the obvious stops that I'll be making: Five O'Clock Club, Kopps, Speed Queen, Zaffiro's, The King and I (dig that Volcano Chicken), George Webb's, Philly Way, At Random, Vitucci's possibly a PJ's sub or two...I'm wondering about a few things.

1) I'm going to have a family get together...not too big (maybe 12 people) and need advice on a good, casual, and not too pricey place for dinner. I'm thinking the Milwaukee Ale House or Cafe Hollander? Or maybe someplace cool and eclectic? Third Ward, Downtown, East Side are the best places. I was thinking La Perla since we're staying at The Iron Horse but then a bunch of Mexican food followed by a night of drinking could be a bad idea.

2) I want to take my wife out to a romantic spot. I've heard good things about Roots...is it any good? Any other choices?

3) I need a good fish fry. I went to one at Turner's last time I visited and it was OK...not as amazing as I remembered. Fish Fries that aren't on a Friday are good to know about too.

4) Steakhouse. I like it old-school; Coerper's and the Rafters is what I grew up with. I'm not so into the trying too-hard to be fancy places (i.e Carnevor) I can get that in New York. Some people I know swear by Butch's and Mo's. I kind of compare every steak to the ones at Coerper's 5 O'Clock (including Brooklyn's Peter Luger and let me tell you Coerper's beats them hands down)...I'd hate to go someplace else and be disappointed.

5) Any dog-friendly bars/restaurants? We're bringing our pooch and she loves to watch us drink.

Any and all suggestions are appreciated.

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  1. Just taking a quick break at work and saw your post.

    Bad news: I think PJ's closed.

    Good news, dog friendly most anywhere with outside patio, for booze and food, I'd recommend Hooligan's (their menu has really improved in the last 10 years), for booze The Nomad on Brady. for coffee the next day Rochambo or Anodyne, both on Brady.

    Have to think on the other points

    1. In response to your fancier place, I have not been to Roots, but have heard pretty good things about it. However, I have been to Sanford's several times, and am always impressed with their seasonal dishes. I would highly suggest you check them out.
      http://www.sanfordrestaurant.com/

      1 Reply
      1. re: pastry634

        I keep forgetting about Sandford's. Their sample seasonal menu looks amazing. Anything with ramps and fiddlehead ferns is OK in my book.

      2. You could consider combining #1 on your list with #3 and go to the Lakefront Brewery. You can have a fish fry inside a brewery wit live polka music. Depending on various factors of course, perhaps it could take care of #2 as well.

        Have a good time.

        2 Replies
        1. re: stewy

          Polka music? Fish Fry? Beer? That sounds great!

          1. re: pastoralia

            I highly recommend it, and taking a brewery tour first is great. the guys who run the place are very nice, love beer, and pure Milwaukee.

            http://www.lakefrontbrewery.com/

            and restaurant

            http://www.cafevecchio.com/palmgarden/

        2. Sanford's is of course great, but you may not have seen the view, the room,
          from here, for the romantic angle, and you can search the board for the reviews.

          http://www.lakeparkbistro.com/

          1. My wife and I were down in Milwaukee about 2 months ago and really enjoyed Hinterland http://www.hinterlandbeer.com/. I'd recommend the lounge area which is in the back of the restaurant. Some great small plates to share, we ended up ordering 6 or so. Drinks were fabulous as well. Not sure which number this place would fill....maybe romantic???....but I'd recommend it.

            2 Replies
            1. re: b ster

              I'd second The Hinterland. We have had dinner in the main dining area as well as the lounge. The main dining area is fine dining with a casual flair. The lounge has a great vibe. The staff is very attentive and knowledgeable.

              1. re: b ster

                Thanks for this tip...Hinterland looks wonderful.