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Any ideas for Milwaukee?

What's good for breakfast or brunch in Milwaukee?

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  1. Curious...what are your expectations? Looking to stay downtown or are you open to a bit of a drive out of town?

    1 Reply
    1. re: MikeB3542

      brunch not too far from downtown. Either something nice or some great local place

    2. Agreed. It would be helpful to get more specifics. Are you looking for a diner type place or a fancier brunch? Regular breakfast food or more lunch options? Dressy or not? And, of course, will you be downtown or along the North Shore or South Side or West? I know it sounds like a lot of questions but it will help to narrow in the choices. Good news is that there are GOOD choices for any of these........... :-)

      1. weekend? if so, Knickerbocker Hotel, Roots, Cafe Hollander (east side, not that I've had brunch at the Wauwatosa location but I've generally heard it to be not as good), Trocadero. Comet Cafe is good too, and a bit more of a diner-feel is Blue Egg in Wauwatosa (not too far). All are local, unique places.

        Blue Egg has it during the week too (Comet too, maybe).

        1. Another place that does a great Sunday brunch is Envoy, in the Ambassador Hotel, a mile west of downtown Milwaukee (you can walk through the Marquette campus to get there). I ate there a year or so ago and they had an amazingly creative menu. Plus, even though the menu was a la carte and everything was prepared to order, the brunch was all you can eat for a reasonable fixed price, so if you finished something and you wanted to try something else, it was all included. I thought it was outstanding. www.envoymilwaukee.com

          1. I love Comet cafe and Blues Egg but both will have long waits on a weekend. Worth it, but be prepared! I actually like Comet Cafe better since it is fun people watching. For a really lovely view of the lake and a pricey but WONDERFUL brunch, you may want to try Lake Park Bistro. They have a three course brunch that is lovely! The restaurant is in the park and overlooks Lake Michigan. The view is lost at dinner in the dark but, for brunch it is really great. Another beautiful location is Hubbard Park Lodge in Shorewood. The brunch caterers changed recently and I have not been back to taste the new offerings. but, you may want to look it up on the internet. It is a unique setting, in a small park overlooking the Milwaukee River in Shorewood which is the first suburb north of the city. The Knick, downtown is good but used to be better............. And, for a fun place on the east side, Beans and Barley has great brunch. Hope that helps. Enjoy!!

            Bartolotta's Lake Park Bistro
            3133 E. Newberry Blvd, Milwaukee, WI 53221

            2 Replies
            1. re: rjlebed

              >> I love Comet cafe and Blues Egg but both will have long waits on a weekend.

              Some places accept reservations for Sunday brunch, which is a good way to avoid a wait. Those mentioned above which accept reservations on the Opentable.com website include Envoy, the Knick, and Bartolotta's Lake Park Bistro.

              1. re: nsxtasy

                Lake Park Bistro is definitely a great choice -- not inexpensive, though. The location is 10 minutes north of downtown off of Lake Drive. Great food, great views of the lake, and great ambiance, I don't think you can go wrong here.

                Saz's, on State St. west of the Miller brewery, does a good brunch. Come back later in the day for ribs. Check out the unique bar.

                For classic diner ambiance, Miss Katie's Diner on West Clybourne (Marquette). Ma Fischer's on North Farwell is a classic if you need a breakfast fix at 2 am.

                For a nice light breakfast, I like Alterra Coffee. Outstanding coffee with various baked goods and pastries, breakfast burritos if famished. The Lake Park location, in an old water works building, is their flagship shop, but they have a couple other locations.

                You can't go too wrong at any of the hotels downtown (Knick, Pfister, Intercontinental, etc.)

                Bartolotta's Lake Park Bistro
                3133 E. Newberry Blvd, Milwaukee, WI 53221

                Miss Katie's Diner
                1900 W Clybourn St, Milwaukee, WI 53233

            2. I'm also a big fan of Blues Egg. I'd also throw in McBob's if you'd like a more laid back bar atmosphere. The corned beef hash is unbelievable!

                1. re: jpgood

                  The best value, and most unique brunch in Milwaukee, is at Polonez, down in Cudahy. It's a quick ride over the Hoan Bridge. Homemade potato pancakes, kielbasi, bigos. The other brunches are fine, upscale, but this is something unique to Milwaukee. And, if you're lucky, they'll be some accordion music.

                  Polonez Restaurant
                  4016 S Packard Ave, Saint Francis, WI 53235

                2. Hotch-a-Do http://www.hotch-a-do.com/
                  Excellent ingredients, great prep.

                  1. Keeping in mind that you are trying to stay close to downtown...

                    Lake Park Bistro - They have a casual French brunch menu. Very good food and service. Good atmosphere. It is just a little bit north of Downtown on the bluffs overlooking Lake Michigan.

                    Watts Tea Shop - A very classy, old tea shop downtown that serves very tasty breakfast/brunch/lunch Monday through Saturday.

                    The Pfister - I'm not a huge fan of buffet style brunches but this one is pretty good if you prefer a buffet. It is right downtown and offers valet parking if that is a concern.

                    I have heard the brunch at Roots is good but I have not tried it.


                    1. Where did you end up going?

                      1. I'll be in Milwaukee in June for the Twins series, and and while Saturday before the game is filled with a variety of brewery/brew pub tours, we will be looking for a good place to go and eat/drink Saturday night after the game. We're "late nighters", so a good place where a good beer selection, live music (or not), and decent chow that's not a chain. Not looking for the exotic, more the "local" flavor. Willing to cab around, but I'd imagine more in the downtown (vs the ballpark) area anywhere up to Glen Lake (where our hotel is). The brunch options given here will be great for Sunday morning.

                        10 Replies
                        1. re: johnnybgargoyle

                          The Hinterland on Erie st in the Third Ward, is a Gastropub and brews their own beer. The chef has a creative menu. There is a separate more casual menu and then they have a more in depth fine dining menu
                          I'm not familiar with Glen Lake...I've lived in the area all of my life and haven't heard of Glen Lake.

                            1. re: Living4fun

                              Just be aware that the bar and lounge at Hinterland is open later, but the main dining room is only open till 10:00, and you would probably get there later than that after a night game at Miller Park. So you'll be limited to the bar menu, not their regular dinner menu.

                              Hinterland is indeed in the Third Ward. It's only a few blocks south of downtown Milwaukee. If you don't feel like paying for a cab, you can catch the #90 Miller Park bus at the ballpark after the game and get off at Wisconsin and Water, then walk five short blocks south. More transit info at www.ridemcts.com (As it happens, last year I ate at Hinterland BEFORE going to a night game at Miller Park.)

                              1. re: nsxtasy

                                Hinterland is a pretty expensive meal. I love the place but if you are looking for something that is just "decent chow" it may be a bit more pricey than you had wanted. If you want another option, you might want to try Trocadero which is more bar menu. Not sure how the new offerings are since they revamped. Perhaps someone else can comment. Another option might be Elsa's on Cathedral Square for burgers and other bar food.

                                1758 N Water St, Milwaukee, WI 53202

                                1. re: rjlebed

                                  Good things to know. We don't mind paying 'good money' for good food, just don't like spending money on the "trend of the moment" or paying to "be seen" at "the hottest" place in town if you know what I mean.

                                  1. re: rjlebed

                                    >> Hinterland is a pretty expensive meal.

                                    Not true if you go there after a Brewers night game. As I already noted, at Hinterland after 10:00 you will only be able to order from the bar menu, which is very INexpensive (no item over $16). You can view their bar menu at www.hinterlandbeer.com/menu/Hinterlan...

                                    1. re: nsxtasy

                                      Sorry about that. I did not realize that there was a bar menu........ I have only been there for regular dinner.

                                      1. re: rjlebed

                                        I really like the bar and the beer at Hinterland, I just don’t know that’s where I’d send people for a fun late night time. I just feel like the atmosphere is a bit chill and the food probably would be more on the exotic and trendy side of things. (If you do go though…the Luna Stout is my favorite and when we were there last weekend they had this special bourbon barrel beer that was also excellent.)

                                        The Ale House comes to mind, although they are changing up things in their kitchen, but visitors always seem to like that place.

                                        You could try Hi-Hat or Balzac on Brady Street…then you’d be in an area with a bunch of bars to go out at afterwards.

                                        Hooligans on North has really good bar food and a good beer selection. There’s a lot of bars over there, but the scene may be pretty college heavy.

                                        Our friends that live in Glendale love the Village Pub in Shorewood, but I have not been.

                                        Are you looking for just one dining destination or are you concerned with being sort of in an area with other options after you eat?

                                        1. re: bte576

                                          We're wide open. We'll be at Miller Park through the game, and after that ???? I just noted that our hotel is in Glendale to give a reference as to where we'll be ending up at the end of the night. As I said, we're hitting some brewerys and brewpubs during the day along with Holler House (can you actually bowl on the old lanes?). And it's true that we are looking for a bit of nightlife, just didn't want to get off the food track too far. Polish/Russian/Czech would all be good (lunch on Sunday?) Irish pub? Anyway, somewhere that has reputable food, is open "late" (or has a open late dive next door) and people like to go (30s/40s)

                                          Holler House
                                          2042 W Lincoln Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53215

                                          1. re: johnnybgargoyle

                                            Still thinking the Ale House in the Third Ward might fit the bill, but that might be on your daytime list of brewpubs.

                                            There are obviously different areas in Milwaukee that have their different "scenes". I like the Brady Street area.... and like I said, some of the bars there have good food. (There's also a counter style Greek restaurant that does serve beer called Apollo Cafe you could sneak into and then continue your fun.) The area is a little more casual, more local, and the crowd should be a little older than just college kids.
                                            Then you'd be close to some great dive bars, specifically just up from Wolski's which is a fun place to go at the end of the night...then you can get the infamous "I closed Wolskis" bumper sticker.

                                            The Brocach Irish Pub has a late night menu and that's close to this area too.

                                            Ok...I feel like I could go on forever as there is no shortage of bars in Milwaukee, but since I brought up Irish pubs, my favorite for food is County Clare and for just drinks is Paddy's Pub, if you can fit those in.

                                            Milwaukee Ale House
                                            233 N Water St Stop 1, Milwaukee, WI 53202

                                            Apollo Cafe
                                            1310 E Brady St, Milwaukee, WI 53202

                                            Paddy's Pub
                                            2339 N Murray Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53211

                                            Wolski's Tavern
                                            1836 N Pulaski St, Milwaukee, WI 53202

                                            Brocach Irish Pub
                                            1850 N Water St, Milwaukee, WI 53202

                            2. About half way between Miller Park and your hotel is the East end of North Avenue. Hooligans is located there and is a fun place that has some of the best bar food in the city. A good beer selection too. After eating there you could walk about a block or two down North Ave. to a traditional German beer house and beer garden called Von Trier. They have an excellent selection of beer, an old German beer house atmosphere and if the weather is nice an outdoor beer garden. There are many other bars within walking distance from there as well. Closer to your hotel is the Silver Spring House on Green Bay Avenue in Glendale. The place has been around forever. They have a lively bar and serve good bar food but it is an older crowd than the East North Avenue area.

                              Have a good time!

                              Silver Spring House
                              6655 N Green Bay Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53209

                              14 Replies
                              1. re: Sailing77

                                I believe the Twins series with the Brewers also is the first weekend of Summerfest. Fulfills the music/food requirement and definitely a "true" Milwaukee summer experience. Not to mention the fact that festival grounds are easy walking distance to all the bars/restaurants in the Third Ward.

                                On the East Side though, Balzac is always my recommendation. Tasty food, good wine/beer selection and great for people watching in the Brady Street area.

                                1. re: mse924

                                  >> I believe the Twins series with the Brewers also is the first weekend of Summerfest.

                                  Nope. The Twins are at Miller Park Friday-Sunday, June 24-26. Summerfest starts Wednesday, June 29 and runs through July 10 (except not July 4).

                                  1. re: nsxtasy

                                    Well screw that idea then. In my defense, though, the Twins and Brewers ARE playing the first weekend of Summerfest....in Minneapolis :)

                                    1. re: mse924

                                      Here are some additional ideas to supplement those above: Ginger, Honeypie, Metro Hotel, City Market, Plaza Cafe, Crisp, Smyth, Corazon, Knick, Rustico, Stone Fly, Mr. Perkins (not the Perkins chain), Alterra, Kil@wat, Palms, Birdie's Cafe, Brochach, Beans+Barley, Glen Cafe, Chuck's, Off the clock)

                                      223 N Water St Ste 100, Milwaukee, WI 53202

                                      Honeypie Cafe
                                      2643 S Kinnickinnic Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53207

                                    2. re: nsxtasy

                                      Yeah, amazingly the series is the one weekend when there are no big cultural festivals or fests going on.

                                      1. re: johnnybgargoyle

                                        While I do understand that these are billed as "cultural festivals", I do find it humorous when juxtaposed against the real thing!! Short on culture, long on food, beer and general debauchery!! :-)

                                        1. re: johnnybgargoyle

                                          Well, there's always *something* going on around town, especially on any weekend, although Summerfest is the biggest event of the year by far. You can find out about other activities on the official Milwaukee tourism website at www.visitmilwaukee.org

                                          And there's only one series a year (at most) for any given interleague pairing in a particular city. So it could have been worse - the Twins could have been playing in MKE in April or September. At least late June is more likely for the weather to be pleasant (although unlike Target Field, Miller Park has a retractable roof).

                                          1. re: nsxtasy

                                            We try to go to a different driving distance "away" park each year if it works out. This is the 1st year where the Twins @ Milwaukee series has fallen on a weekend that worked for us, so that's where we're heading. Catching the Friday night Beloit Snappers (Twin's A affiliate) game on the way in too.

                                            When we went a few years ago to the Twins/Cubs series at Wrigley, it was the same weekend as Ribfest and the Chicago Blues Fest. Nirvana!

                                            1. re: johnnybgargoyle

                                              You probably noticed that I have my own food plans surrounding a baseball series, in which I'M traveling to where YOU live, just a few days after your trip: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/781935 :)

                                              1. re: johnnybgargoyle

                                                Johnny, depending on your schedule you should try to swing through Lake Geneva on your way from Beloit to Milwaukee. It's right on the way off I-43 and there is a WONDERFUL breakfast/lunch place called Simple that I try to force every person I know to go to. Locally sourced and some great seasonal dishes (I had an andouille and chard frittata there a few weeks ago that was to die for)

                                                  1. re: mse924

                                                    mse924 - What's your take on Kirsch's?

                                                    1. re: Sailing77

                                                      I wish I could say that I have an opinion, Sailing, but I honestly haven't been to Kirsch's in probably 10 years (about the time I moved out of Lake Geneva to Milwaukee). From what I remember, it was decent steakhouse/pasta fare, but nothing too groundbreaking.

                                                    2. re: mse924

                                                      >> there is a WONDERFUL breakfast/lunch place called Simple

                                                      I had lunch there today, and really enjoyed it - everything from the delicious food (I loved the "simple benedict", and the sandwich and soup were great) to the whimsical "elementary school" decor. What a great suggestion! www.simplecafelakegeneva.com

                                                      I also stopped in at the bakery called Sweet House of Madness right next door, which was worth a stop as well. www.thesweethouseofmadness.com

                                                      Simple Cafe
                                                      525 Broad St, Lake Geneva, WI 53147

                                                      Sweet House of Madness
                                                      Lake Geneva, Lake Geneva, WI 53147

                                        2. I'm going to be having breakfast in the Milwaukee area one weekday next week, so I'm posting here to see if I'm overlooking anything.

                                          I'm going to be staying on the west side near the zoo, then going into the city. I'm using MCTS to get around and I'm pretty darn good at it (I did the same thing last year, too) so I can cover a pretty wide area, including the towns of Brookfield, Elm Grove, or Wauwatosa, as well as most of the city itself.

                                          I just went nuts looking at the website menus of the places mentioned here. Some of them sound okay, but nothing looked like a place I GOTTA go. I really love places that have a much wider selection than the usual omelets and egg dishes, particularly the sweeter dishes, like unusual kinds of French toast or pancakes.

                                          I normally love the Original Pancake House; it's my go-to breakfast chain and I've been to their locations all over the country. Unfortunately, I've been to the one on Bluemound twice, and it was dreadful both times, the worst location BY FAR that I've been to. So rule that out.

                                          Right now I'm leaning towards one of two options. I might go to Nora B's in Elm Grove for breakfast, which I could combine with a walk to Le Cakery to check out their pastry selection and maybe get something to take with me. Or, I might go to the Pfister downtown. (Even if their buffet is only on weekends - ? - they have three kinds of French toast on their website menu.) Honorable mentions - Envoy sounds good (I mentioned above, I love their Sunday brunch, but haven't been for weekday breakfast) and Blues Egg sounds okay (great selections of savory dishes, not much for sweeter things).

                                          Let me know if I'm missing anything, especially anything that has some unusual sweeter dishes.

                                          I'll report back afterwards...

                                          Oh yeah, here are links to the breakfast menus at the four places I'm considering:

                                          Nora B's (west suburban Elm Grove) - www.norabs.com/images/menu_front_lg.jpg
                                          The Cafe at the Pfister (Milwaukee, downtown) - www.thepfisterhotel.com/pfister_pdfs/...
                                          Envoy (Milwaukee, just west of Marquette) - www.envoymilwaukee.com/media/docs/Bre...
                                          Blues Egg (Milwaukee, just south of Wauwatosa) - www.bluesegg.com/Menus/BluesBreakfast...

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: nsxtasy

                                            I just finished breakfast at Nora B's in Elm Grove. In fact, I'm still sitting in Nora B's using their wifi as I type this. I liked it a lot! I had chocolate chip pancakes and they were superb, with a slight crispiness on the edges, sheer perfection. Such a cozy place, I'd come back here in a heartbeat!

                                            I see (in a clipping on the wall) that Nora B's was named in the Milwaukee magazine article on the 25 Best Breakfasts. Well-deserved.

                                            One thing to be aware of if you come here - the restaurant has virtually no visibility from the street. Even though the street address is 890 Elm Grove Road, there's no frontage on Elm Grove Road. If you turn in just south of the building that's 900 Elm Grove Road, you'll see a big sign for a strip mall called Village Court that says 890, but the big sign doesn't say Nora B's on it. If you can get that far, just walk between the two buildings and Nora B's is in the courtyard between them.

                                            Thanks, all, for the suggestions!

                                            Nora B's
                                            890 Elm Grove Rd, Elm Grove, WI 53122

                                          2. Incidentally, the December 2010 issue of Milwaukee Magazine did an article on the 25 best breakfasts in town. Unfortunately, I can't find it on the internet. The magazine's website at www.insidemilwaukee.com/Article/31620... has links for buying the article, either electronically or hard copy, but I can't get those links to work. :(

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: nsxtasy

                                              Blues Egg is great, but they do more with savory ingredients for sure.

                                              As far as missing anything, you could check out the menu at Daymaker Cafe in Tosa. They do feature a pretzel bread french toast if that interests you at all as a unique sweet...but really, I just love their perfect execution of pancakes and hash browns.

                                              Maxfields Pancake House also just opened by Mayfair. Haven't been...but I just looked at the menu and they do seem to cater to the sweet breakfast eater .

                                              1. re: bte576

                                                Yes, Maxfield's is more along the lines of what I like (although Daymaker is interesting too). I'll keep it in mind. Thanks!

                                                1. re: nsxtasy

                                                  I've only tried Daymaker once, and I thought the food was OK but overpriced, and the service was far from adequate. Normally in my own hometown, I would try a place at least a second time before removing it from any future consideration, and I havent had a chance to do that yet, but I thought I'd mention it anyway.

                                                  But right up the street from Daymaker is Cosmos Cafe, a little Greek place that I have found to be excellent:
                                                  They are only open for breakfast on Friday, Saturday, & Sunday; I dont know if that will work for you or not.