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Since MKE discussions have been slow, how about your shopping recs?

Regular stuff: Woodman's
Great service: Sendiks
Special poultry: tower chicken. I am upset about this one. I lived here for 20 years before stumbling on them. My "peeps" (sorry...) were "duh, everyone knows them". In other words, the reason for this post.
Bulk: GFS (bonus seeing what eateries charge for reheating GFS stuff)
Produce: Cermak. (There is a place further south that Brazil folks visit. My wife refuses to go there because they consider queuing a contact sport)
Asian: rhino foods, the Hmong mall at Mill and 76th.
Fish: I hesitate to say this but Pacific Produce. For frozen, rhino. Sometimes Empire. Empire is expensive though. If you can go there, H-mart in Naperville or Niles, Flatland territory.
Smoked fish: duh. Ewigs. Has the great smells I grew up with in NE.
Meat: bunzel's on burleigh OR my favorite, Meisfields, Sheboygan.
Outlets: Usingers, klemets, I used to like Old Wisconsin but they raised their prices and it is not worth the trip.
Cheese: since Hennings has been promoted and discovered, my favorite place is to be mentioned. I have to mention the time we locals got into an insult contest. I got the worst "may your son grow up to be a bears fan".
For other things: Neesvigs. Great source for duck fat. Awesome customer service.

Please add. We deserve better that the s**t hole Roundy's has become.

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  1. Great post! I second Cermak for produce - just discovered this place recently. Was wondering where people went. The only grocery in our neighborhood is a small Pick N Save which very much underwhelms.

    We also do a monthly run to the H-Mart for Korean /asian groceries.

    Any suggestions for good butcher and bakery? we would like to find a butcher who will do custom Korean meat cuts.

    3 Replies
    1. re: ginkonut

      Bunzels, 85th and burleigh is my local butcher. They will do/investigate anything you want. Very nice, very busy.
      Grash in Elm Grove will do whatever you want, but expect to pay. I mean $$$. They stock things that nobody else will.

      76th and mill, the Hmong mall (next to CVS) have several great stalls that will be happy to give you places to go. If you go there the best pastrami in MKE is across the street at Spartan Gyro.

      Pacific Produce, 27th in greenfield is a poor rendition of h-mart, but what we have locally. OK for frozen seafood.

      You mentioned H-mart as a trip. I have two neighbors (Milwaukee county, north side) that always want to go to H-mart/Assi. I would be more than wanting to do a trip south on my dime. To be honest, I have been threatened with castration by one of them if I went without her.

      As well as going north. Toy's in Sheboygan and a couple of other places in that area need more advertisement in the Milwaukee area. I have to go to Meisfield's, my favorite butcher shop

      So, if you want to do a trip south to H-mart and assi, I will drive to let a neighbor be happy. If you want to go "Nort" to Toy's, a Hmong store, my favorite butcher, the best cheese store (Hennings),

      Please, the reason for this post is to get more interest to MKE and get people talking.

      1. re: exvaxman

        Thank you! I will try Bunzel for bulgogi/kalbi special order this weekend.

        Might be hard to take a day trip - we usual go for the weekend and stay at our parents bc of the newborns.

        We just came back yesterday and the Korean pears are very good right now!!

        1. re: ginkonut

          You might want to call instead of going to Bunzel's. the weekends are crowded, and I am assuming even more crowded this weekend with "the game" coming up. I wouldn't want to put newborns through the crowds :).

    2. We've become fans of the Sentry in Delafield. Good selection, nice people, and Mr. Shaja loves their fish counter.

      2 Replies
      1. re: shaja

        I randomly stopped in that store on my way home from Madison and got quite the surprise. I had no idea it was a more upscale store and thought it was great. I normally would stop at the Delafield Pick N Save when coming in from the west, but will definitely be switching to Sentry!

        1. re: bte576

          In the past, I did some of my "day to day" grocery shopping at the Delafield Sentry. Word of caution though and I may have mentioned this before. They have that case along the back right-hand side of the store where they sell their own frozen seafood. I learned the very expensive and hard way that when it expires they simply relabel it with another date. And they are so brazen about this that they will not even remove the old label. I purchased some perch and there ended up being label upon label upon label on top of each other with an older and older expiration date.

          That was not an accident. That was intentional so who knows what other type of shenanigans are going on in their seafood department.

      2. I have lived in Milwaukee most of my life and never heard of Tower Chicken either. Neither had my wife, who spent most of her life here but grew up in a completely different apart of town. So I took a drive down Saturday afternoon. What a place! Beautiful birds, huge, and excellent prices too! Plus, they were just bringing in a load of fresh eggs directly from the farm while I was there!

        I bought a 5 lb roaster and cooked it in a rotisserie last night; just wonderful!

        I live near Bunzel's, and it is a super place to have in your neighborhood. Rupena's on Beloit Rd is also a good place to know about. But when I want a brisket or a tongue, I head to Mercado El Rey on S 16th.

        I do like Larry's Brown Deer Market for cheese, although the cheese department at the Sendik's way out on Capital Drive [is that Brookfield?] is quite nice too.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Fydeaux

          >> Sendik's way out on Capital Drive [is that Brookfield?]

          Yes, that's Brookfield.

          Can someone explain why there are at least three Sendik's websites, each showing different locations from the others?


          1. re: nsxtasy

            Somehow in the past, probably either in the wake of a divorce or the death of someone with an ill-prepared will, different locations passed to different family members. Further sales of stores ensued; I am pretty sure that the location at 124th & North was owned by Piggly Wiggly well before the store took on that name.

            1. re: nsxtasy

              Apparently there are two branches of the family.
              The very expensive Sendiks in shorewood is owned by someone outside of the family who licensed the name.

              1. re: nsxtasy

                There are actually FOUR different Sendik's "clusters" in Milwaukee. Originally there were only three:

                #1...the Shorewood (Oakland Ave) Sendiks

                #2...the Downer Avenue Sendik's

                #3...the Whitefish Bay Sendik's

                The Shorewood store was the original one, founded in 1926. The Downer Ave store opened in 1929. The couple who owned both of those had three sons. After WWII one son ended up continuing the Shorewood store. Another continued the Downer store. The third opened the WFB store in 1949. From that point forward all three stores were separate entities although they shared the same Sendik's name.

                The Shorewood store was sold to the Nehring family some time ago. The Nehrings also run V. Richard's in Brookfield and G. Groppi in Bay View.

                The Downer store is still owned by descendants of the original brother. The Bayside and Elmbrook stores are part of that "branch" although they are selling the Bayside store to the Whitefish Bay Sendik's part of the family.

                The Whitefish Bay store has turned into the largest enterprise of them all. This is the "red bag" Sendik's that advertises on TV. It wasn't until relatively recently that this "branch" has expanded significantly around the area.

                The large Brookfield store at Capitol & Brookfield Roads which opened in 2001 is owned by a cousin of the Whitefish Bay "branch" of the family. It is a stand-alone location not affiliated by ownership with the other three.

                1. re: MilwaukeeChow

                  Sorry if this is a double post, the reply block disappeared. In any case, the most embarassed I ever was happened at the grand opening of the Sendiks in Brookfield. I was having a nice discussion with the cheese master, and he asked my then four year old if he had a question. The son-of-a-gun asked where the "square" cheese was. I got such a withering look from the cheese Meister before he turned away.....

              2. re: Fydeaux

                Larry's is almost walking distance from me, but I more often go to Woodman's for commoner cheeses, Sendiks in Mequon, and despite the fact Roundy's owns them the people running the cheese section at Metro Market in Mequon are wonderful to deal with. While the girl at Sendiks was very snotty and refused any requests, the people at Metro have always done orders for something I like.

              3. Several more places I forgot to mention
                My elderly neighbor has me drive her to Kosher Meat Club (I think that is the name) on Burleigh once in a while. Kosher foods.

                International foods on Capitol in Shorewood for hard sausage.
                Many different and wonderful sausages and some great pastries.

                Karl's Country market. Dad liked their sausage. Very expensive good quality butcher. They also have a small German import section that comes in handy when I have to cook for the kid's German class.

                Thai Asian Market. On silver spring dr, in a strip mall by the intersection of Lily.
                Very NICE owner. Small shop that has a huge local following for special orders. Very, very crowded when her husband backs up the delivery truck.

                Gloriosos Italian market. I do not go there often, but it is a treat. Some harder to find items, good deli, good hard cheese selection and my wife always gets an ice cream cone.

                For spices, Taj Grocery (Indian) lover's lane and Silver Spring.

                Middle Eastern. Holy Land, 5623 s27th. I haven't been there in ages, but when I need goat, they are the place.

                2 Replies
                1. re: exvaxman

                  I go there rarely, usually for smoked eel and bulk frozen gyro strips, but Parthenon foods, 92nd and Cleveland in West Allis.
                  Check exp. dates, but a decent place.

                  For Pakastani groceries (and next to a Pakastani resteraunt) there is one that starts with an A, 851 west Layton. Ashalla maybe?

                  I usually go in there just for rice mixes that the kid likes, but there is a small Indian grocery in Brown Deer on brown deer road in a strip mall that holds a Dairy Queen. 6800 brown deer rd. a woman was telling me to go there for spices but I am stuck on the one on Lover's Lane.

                  1. re: exvaxman

                    I agree. Parthenon is one of my favorite ethnic stores. Excellent ajvar, tzatziki, olives, gyro meat, Greek caviar, fresh feta from different countries, Hungarian Nightsticks, good baklava and,OUZO!

                2. The newish Sendiks at Moorland and National just doesn't seem to be big enough. Easily better than Pic n Save across the street, but I still find myself taking the long drive to Capital rather than 5 minutes to this one.

                  The liquor store in Waukesha still has the best variety for wines that I have found.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                    >>>The liquor store in Waukesha still has the best variety for wines that I have found.<<<

                    Is that the Discount Liquor in downtown Waukesha? If so, you would really like their wine selection at their larger store around 50th and Oklahoma. The same family owns that store and the younger brother and sister run it. Fantastic beer selection as well.

                    1. re: Fowler

                      Been there also. It depends on where I am headed that day. I have pretty well given up on the false economy of Trader Joes. Half of the last case I bought was fit only for cooking or the drain. And I was at the higher end of the prices.

                      1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                        In my experience, the vast majority of wines at Trader Joe's (at least in WI) are the equivalent of green cigars. Cheap, poorly made but you get what you pay for. The only two wines I will purchase there is a Prosecco and an actual Chianti Reserva. Both are pretty good and inexpensive. I still have an $18 bottle of Barolo I picked up there but I do not have high hopes. I will probably end up having to braise some short ribs with it or something along those lines.

                      2. re: Fowler

                        If you are going to that store, my favorite shop in Milwaukee is on 66th and Oklahoma. American Science and Surplus.

                        1. re: exvaxman

                          YES YES YES! AS&S is one of my favorite stores anywhere! I always take out oftown visitors there and they are always asounded!

                          No food though, except the occasional thing like lolipops with bugs mbedded in them. But they do have bandages that look like strips of bacon.

                    2. I've never heard of tower chicken, but you can bet I'll be visiting there soon!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: atcpa

                        The bacon wrapped stuffed chicken breasts are not done by Tower, but they are awesome. Try the "Wisconsin" one loaded with cheese. Your heart will not thank you, but your taste buds will.

                        Their duck is frozen, not fresh, but several folks I have bought their ducks for swear by them. Far meatier than standard grocery stores.

                      2. I like Outpost for dairy and other local items. That's where I get my Yuppie Hill eggs, Sassy Cow dairy & Purple Door ice cream. Also a good selection of Wisconsin yogurt. Very good beer selection, too.

                        I like Woodman's but they are not convenient to my side of town. Unfortunately that means I go to Pick 'n Save for pantry items and get meat & produce at Sendik's.

                        I still like Grasch's for meat. Again not on my side of town, but worth it for special occasions. Expensive but you get what you pay for, and the butchers there are top notch.

                        Don't forget European Homemade Sausage on the south side for the best Polish this side of Poland.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: MilwaukeeChow

                          Grash's does carry some oddball items. For a company lunch a co-worker said that she would try anything brought in. So I hit grash for lamb fries which were cooked in a crock pot with BBQ sauce. Actually tasty, but she tried one and ran to the bathroom. This being a polite forum I cannot repeat several comments by co-workers on their astonishment that it would upset her.

                        2. Bread and produce at The Fresh Market.

                          I posted something some time ago on chowhound about this, but you can order retail fish from Mitchell's Fish Market at Brookfield Square and the quality is great.

                          Was out of town when this started and don't think I have any other new ones to add (thanks for all the tips), but I was just thinking the other day that I wanted to start a thread about shopping at Woodman's.

                          I actually walked in the door and back out the first time I went to Woodman's. The crowd and size freaked me out. I actually LOVE shopping at the Fresh Market for the compact size reason--but after some return visits I have started to appreciate it.

                          Now I have certain things I make a point to shop for at Woodman's if in need--thought I would post that list and was interested if anyone else has any other tips on their buys there.

                          - Smoked Pork Jowl
                          - Cryovac packed beef short ribs
                          - Pre-packaged lunch & cured meats--I was especially excited about finding Serrano Ham
                          - Random special "ethnic" ingredients like Lyle's Golden Syrup or tahini
                          - Dairy products
                          - Anything in the liquor store..
                          - More specialty grains like farro and bulgar, as well as special flours (Good Bob's Red Mill selection)
                          -Dry/canned goods in general are priced great and the options can't be beat--I always joke that if you think something has been discontinued, you should look for it at Woodman's first

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: bte576

                            one thing I found at Woodman,s that I could not find elsewhere was duck flavored ramen. For Beef short ribs I like the Korean style at Trader Joes. For smoked items, I like the Pig on capitol, and forgive me for saying PNS has something, The PNS on 76th and Good Hope. If you can ignore the lack of clean and the long lines and the hatred of customers.

                            Woodmans does have the cheapest seaweed wrappers in the area for sushi rolls.

                          2. Great news... The Asian mall on 76th and Mill has applied for a grant to enlarge from 14k sq feet to 80k sq feet, enlarging the food court and allowing for up to 250 vendors. Already 80% of the enlarged space has been leased out according to JSOnline.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: exvaxman

                              I haven't been in here yet, but going past it looks interesting:
                              Delta Southern Groceries.
                              3511 W Villard Ave, Milwaukee
                              (414) 464-1702

                              They had a sign out that mentioned something about Ham (hopefully real Country ham for my wife), something that had just been brought up from Arkansas, and a yelp review mentioned that you could get Hoppin John there as well along with smoked meats.

                              1. re: exvaxman

                                I was finally able to check this place out Saturday; I never knew it was there, and their signage doesnt exactly call attention to the place. But it was fascinating walking in to the little restaurant area, and the bahn mi I brought home were delicious.

                                I think it was you that also mentioned the pastrami at Spartan Gyros across the street; I tried that on Saturday also, and you are right. That is some awesome pastrami!

                                I havent gone into Delta Southern Grocery for quite a few years, but I do remember seeing quite a few product that could not be found in regular groceries. And I remember getting some excellent spicy breakfast sausage from their meat counter. But it has been quite a while.

                              2. If you like meat and specifically sausages, Bernie's Fine Meats is a great place to visit. Very old school and I believe everything is made in-house. I am headed over there either later today or early tomorrow to stock up for the MU and Badger games.


                                5 Replies
                                1. re: Fowler

                                  Obviously stopping at Ewig Brothers at the same time for the smoked fish?

                                  If you go the back route out of Port Washington, there is also
                                  an elk processor for meat. Turn by the Lion's Den park turnoff.

                                  Just remember that the road is a well known speed trap.

                                  1. re: exvaxman

                                    Thank you for the link to Lakewinds. I absolutely love Elk but never knew of a place that sold it retail. Now if I can just recreate Sanford's version of Elk loin in my own home.

                                    Ozaukee County is really becoming a great source of game. They have small farms raising and selling everything from Bison to Ostrich. A guy I used to work with said there is even a farm up there that raises Yak. Heck, if the price were right I would try it.

                                    1. re: Fowler

                                      I knew of the Yak farm in Clintonville, I didn't realize we had one closer. Lots of llamas and alpacas in the area as well!

                                      1. re: exvaxman

                                        While reading through this thread earlier to see if anyone else mentioned game options, I noticed the polite discussion you and I had regarding a certain Sendik's owner has been removed. I know I did not flag it and I am fairly sure you did not either.

                                        1. re: Fowler

                                          I noticed it as well, and it was probably for the best.