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Apr 7, 2012 08:13 PM

Waukesha County, WI - Hounds on the move

These Lake Geneva, WI, Hounds are pulling up stakes and moving to Waukesha County. It's very weird to go from being the one in-the-know to the newbie. I'm looking for the insight, recommendations and tips to help us feel like locals again. Everything from good diner, good meat market, good vanilla beans, good place to take the folks, good bakery, good special occasion, good Italian, good pizza, good deli, good Chinese, good Mexican, good specialty cooking shop, good date night place, good anything food!

Willing to travel around the county. Would prefer something besides Milwaukee fine dining recommendations and would prefer something besides chains (but I'll give a shout-out to The Machine Shed off of I-94 for being good comfort food and to the TGIFridays at Miller Park ... okay, technically not in Waukesha County but dang fine atmosphere, french onion soup and ribs).

We've already discovered the Peachtree in New Berlin (family diner); the Butler Inn in Pewaukee for amazing steaks, the Cornerstone in Genesee Depot, and the Chocolate Factory in downtown Pewaukee. Oh, and I've heard that Brennan's on Bluemound is THE place for cheese but haven't been there yet. Also have been impressed by what we''ve seen at the Sendik's on Capitol.

What's next??? Have map and are ready to go enjoy your recommendations for our new home!!!

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  1. I've only spent a little time in the Brookfield area, not much in the rest of the county, but here's what I can share. Mitchell's Fish Market in Brookfield is very good for seafood. Louise's in Brookfield is very good for California/Italian cuisine. I love Nora B's in Elm Grove for breakfast/lunch. (Strongly AVOID the Original Pancake House in Brookfield; this chain is usually good but this particular location is dreadful.) For bakeries, I wasn't all that impressed with Le Cakery in Elm Grove - it was just okay - and I'd go the few extra miles out of the county for Le Reve in 'tosa, which specializes in French pastries and baked goods. HTH

    1. Hi shaja,

      Waukesha County is quite large and rather diverse. Everything from chain restaurants in Brookfield to hole in the wall Mexican places in Waukesha to some good lakeside dining in Lake Country. It sounds like you already have some good places in mind. Here are a few food and beverage places I recommend in their category...

      Cajun/creole/seafood - Fishbones in Delafield

      Spices - Penzey's in Delafield

      Meat /seafood/upscale grocery - Grasch's Fine Foods and Fresh Market (both are in Brookfield)

      Pizza - Doc's Dry Doc on Pewaukee Lake in Pewaukee

      Affordable everyday but nice grocery shopping - Pabst Farms Pick 'n Save in Oconomowoc ( I hope I spelled that correctly :-) )

      Upscale date night with live music - Piano Blu on Pewaukee Lake in Pewaukee

      Mexican brunch - La Estacion in Waukesha (we really love their brunch!)

      Mexican lunch/dinner - Senor Tomas in Hartland

      Cheese - Brennan's and Sendik's in Brookfield

      Wine store - The Wine Cellar in Elm Grove

      Steaks - Butler Inn on Peaukee Lake or Flemmings in Brookfield

      Mahogany wood/oriental rugs/comfortable place to have a martini - Delafield Hotel in Delafield (very good food as well)

      Fish Fry - The Phoenix in Hartland

      Sports Bar with decent food - Chammps in Brookfield

      Good place to have a patio drink with beautiful lake views - Seven Seas in Hartland (but avoid their food)

      Local Brew Pubs - Delafield Brewery or Water Street Brewery both in Delafield

      Wine Bar with Food - Wine Maniacs in Oconomowoc

      Wine tasting events - Delafield Hotel in Delafield

      I will think about this a bit more and try to come up with some additional recommendations. Best of luck in your transition!

      9 Replies
      1. re: Fowler

        Wow, thanks much, folks! We're going to print out that list and hang it on the back door. Really intrigued by the Mexican brunch Fowler recommended.

        We have been to both Mitchell's Fish Market and the Water Street Brewery; liked both and would return (actually did, in Mitchell's case). We also went to Bravo at the Brookfield Square Mall, and while the service was attentive I wasn't that crazy about their food so I am glad for the Italian recommendation. Does anyone know anything about Matteo's, just off of Hwy. 164 on Sunset in Waukesha?

        1. re: shaja

          Quick comment about my experience with Louise's...their wood fired pizzas are very good. I ordered something once that was similar to beef spiedini and it was drastically overcooked and tough as an army boot. I have also ordered their baked stuffed chicken breast and it was served still partially frozen! Not sure if either item is still on the menu but both showed a total lack of proper cooking. Never had a bad pizza there though. :-)

          I have not tried Matteo's but if you go there please let us know how it went. Milwaukee County is really your better bet for Italian. One of the best Italian restaurants in the state is just east of Waukesha County in the Village of Wauwatosa. Well worth the drive.

          1. re: Fowler

            Awww, you can't tease me like that! What is the name of this Italian heaven???

            1. re: shaja

              Ristorante Bartolotta. If we have guests from out of town that want to go out for Italian that is where we take them.


              1. re: Fowler

                That's part of the Barolotta restaurant group, which offers some of the best places in the Milwaukee area, including Lake Park Bistro and Harbor House.

                1. re: nsxtasy

                  Yes, and I have been told the same famiglia also owns successful places in Chicago and Las Vegas.

              2. re: shaja

                Ristorante Bartolotta would be good full-circle for you Shaja. Their Sous Chef is a Lake Geneva native (grew up right across the street from me!)

                I'll throw in a recommendation for Good Harvest market in Waukesha, right off I-94 at Silvernail Road. It's a Whole Foods-esque place with a great deli/cafe.

                1. re: mse924

                  Yea, I know where that Good Harvest is (without a map!) I've driven by there! That's around the corner from that German restaurant, isn't it? Gasthaus, I think is the name.

                  Can't wait to try Ristorante Bartolotta!! And pretty cool about the LG connection - six degrees of Kevin Bacon to be sure! (Sorry, just had to make that a "food" reference.)

              3. re: Fowler

                Yes! Love the California style pizzas (and salads), but always find myself disappointed when I order anything else at Louise's.

          2. I work in Waukesha--here are my favorite lunch spots.
            -Pat's Rib Place on Sunset in Waukesha for pulled pork
            -Rochester Deli for good corned beef and other sandwiches--great baked goods too.
            -Steaming Cup and Sprizzo--Cafes with great lunch choices
            -A new frozen yogurt chain--Orange Leaf--recently opened in Waukesha which I've been enjoying.
            There is also an Au Bon Pain in Waukesha that opened under the radar.

            We do enjoy Mitchell's for chain seafood, but have also enjoyed Bonefish Grill.
            Parkside 23 is nice for upscale casual with a good beer selection.
            North Star Bistro-- Some of the dinner entrees can be hit or miss, but I always enjoy the pizzas, sandwiches, and more lunch/brunch type items.

            We also enjoy the Capitol Drive main drag in Hartland. There is a wine shop/cafe called Bin 111 that is fun to stop in and we like the bar areas at the Hartland Inn and Palmer's. Although, we did have a weird interaction at the Hartland Inn last time--they insisted we site at a table in the dining room rather than eating at the bar and I didn't care for that atmosphere at all...

            In Delafield, we've had good meals at Zin and at Kurt's Steakhouse, but those were both several years ago. Not sure how they are faring.

            Commenting on cheese shopping, I find myself annoyed that Brennan's only packages fairly large pieces. The selection is good though. I prefer to buy cheese at the Sendik's at 124th and Capitol. I enjoy the wine selection at that Sendiks as well, but also like the recommendation by Fowler for the Wine Cellar in Elm Grove.

            3 Replies
            1. re: bte576

              Those are great ideas, bte576! Is there now a Sendik's at 124th and Capitol? The only one I am familiar with in that area is the one around 124th and North Ave. I really like the one on Capitol and Brookfield Rd at Sendik's Towne Centre (sic) when it comes to cheese. Their meat is good as well.

              1. re: Fowler

                Total brain lapse/typo...I meant the one at Brookfield Road and Capitol.

                1. re: bte576

                  Thanks for the clarification. It is a great store. The wine guy, Dick, who is roughly 115 years old once owned one of my favorite wine shops in Milwaukee. He really knows his stuff.

              1. Yokoso on Barker and Blurmound is a good sushi spot. As is Wasabi on the corner of Moorland and Bluemound.

                Lagniappe Brasserie on Greenfield in New Berlin always gets good reviews, and I've wanted to try for a few years, but I just don't seem to get out much (darn kids).

                You liked Peachtree? I'll have to try it sometime.

                Brennan's is a family favorite for produce, cheese, and microbrews. It has been dubbed "the tasting store" by my kids.

                3 Replies
                1. re: atcpa

                  My rule of thumb for any diner is to expect good sandwiches, soups and breakfasts, but dinners are hit or miss, and so I order accordingly. Peachtree pretty much lives up to my model. I love their American fries. Unusually, their chicken dumpling soup is heavy on peppers, but that works for some reason. Mr. Shaja really likes their cream of broccoli soup because there is actual chunks of broccoli in it, not just the usual "hint of broccoli crumbs" you see in cream soup.

                  1. re: atcpa

                    I enjoyed Yokoso, but it has closed as far as I know.

                    1. re: bte576

                      That's too bad. I really enjoyed it there.