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Jun 6, 2012 09:13 PM

Milwaukee in Early July - Kilbourn Town and maybe a bit further

I will be in Milwaukee with friends for the Latvian Song Festival, Milwaukee, from July 4-7, 2012. We are well-travelled throughout Europe, North America and other various places, and generally adventurous, so we are open to just about any type of food. Local specialities are always VERY welcome, but travel too far from our convention area (Hyatt Regency Milwaukee, Hilton Milwaukee City Center, DoubleTree By Hilton Milwaukee Downtown, Pabst Theatre, Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, St John's Cathedral, US Cellular Arena, Milwaukee Theatre) can be probhibitive because we won't have a car and are on a schedule. Fine dining is not really realistic for everyone, but paying a little extra may be worth it if the food is THAT good.
Depending how and when we hook up, we could have a party between 3-10 people, not always plannable too far in advance. Sometimes we may have to rush for a bite between performances.
What can you recommend?

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  1. I'm wondering if Maders would be a good choice. It fits the criteria of being in the area, it's German and part of the Milwaukee heritage, can accommodate groups, and the food is very very good. Just not sure if they can accommodate a rush seating ... one of the Milwaukee-based hounds would know better than me; I've only eaten there once but enjoyed it a lot.

    2 Replies
    1. re: shaja

      Let them know when you enter. They have always been most accomadating to me.

      Hofbrau Haus Bier imported from Germany is a few doors down the street with very basic food.

      1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

        If you're considering Mader's, you should also consider Karl Ratzsch's. Both of these places have been around for over a century, and both serve excellent German food. Both are the kind of place that might be able to accommodate groups at the last minute (although it's still a good idea to phone ahead). Many people prefer Ratzsch's, others prefer Mader's; the two are noted more by their similarities than their differences. (For this reason, I'm not sure I would go to both.)

    2. Thanks for those first two great suggestions, but as we will be there a few days and always looking for food, all meals, what else can you suggest?

      1. You have a lot of options downtown. Milwaukee street has a lot of restaurants - not necessarily local specialties, but good food. Distil is a favorite of mine, but that might be because of the craft drinks. Rumpus room is on Water street, and opened to great reviews in the Spring. I like the German recommendations too. That is in l one with the local specialty you were looking for.

        4 Replies
        1. re: atcpa

          Last call, any other suggestions?

          1. re: ilinda

            I think what's throwing us is that your group is on a tight schedule. How much time you do have between performances/concerts? Do you have time to walk or take a bus?

            1. re: shaja

              After your great suggestions, I thought I would report back..
              Firstly, I HIGHLY recommend a visit to Milwaukee to anyone for any reason, not just a convention or festival. I hadn't been there since I was 16, so now 25 years later I could see that, if I had more time, I could have spent some real time enjoying the city. Lots to see, lovely atmosphere, friendly people.
              I came a day later than my friends, so of course they took the first evening to hit the Brauhaus without me, meaning I missed the focused German night. However, they said they enjoyed the food and beer. Unfortunately can't add more. (Darn)
              I had a wonderful burger in great atmosphere at Buck Bradley's. Actually, everyone at the table had a different burger and all were very happy. They also accommodated a table of 7 quickly and with a smile. Loved the high ceilings and wood-panelled interior.
              We were VERY disappointed by the Port of Call, as they were SO under-staffed that they had to turn away 2/3 of their clientele. Very bad planning.
              We went to the Rock Bottom Brewery between shows, but they were already out of the specially-brewed Latvian Lager, so I enjoyed the IPA and nachos as a snack. The beer tasted great, not too hoppy for an IPA, and the view and vibe was electric on the river-side patio. Buzzing and sunny with people enjoying the long weekend.
              For dinner I had seafood pasta at the Calderone Club, and thought the Italian was very well executed. They also seemed to be able to deal well with the large crowds.
              We really enjoyed stumbling onto the Milwaukee Waterfront Deli, with the delicious sandwiches and quirky interior. Where else do you have your order delivered to your second-floor table by a special conveyor. Lovely patio outside overlooking the street. Too bad we were in a rush to get to the next show/
              Some of us also ate at the King & I for one lunch and thought the buffet was very good for the price. It also fit perfectly within our really short timeline.
              I vaguely remember a final hangover-hazy lunch at the Milwaukee Chophouse in the Hilton Milwaukee City Center. There was soup...there was Buffalo chicken strip salad... let's just say satisfying hangover food.
              The restaurant options downtown were actually very broad. We wanted to go to some other places like the Safe House and other recommendations from here, but ran out of time, plain and simple. Would have loved to have done more fine dining, but we never really had more time than strictly 1.5 hours.
              All in all, food never disappointed in Milwaukee!
              Thanks for the help!

              1. re: ilinda

                I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed your visit, and I really hope you get to return with the constraints of the event. There is MUCH more to experience.

                And I didnt get to attend, but I heard from many people that the Latvian song festival was wonderful.