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Unexpected delicatessen treasures in Milwaukee...

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Deli quality around here is uneven. All the more pleasant, then, to find an unexpected culinary treasure behind the glass to purchase and take home.

Here is one I found yesterday:

Grilled asparagus from Glorioso's Italian Market on Brady Street.

Anyone want to continue the list?

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  1. I have spent of lot of time during my life on the East Coast so I have grown spoiled when it comes to deli's. Milwaukee is really not a great deli city but there are some decent ones:

    Jake's - 16th and North Avenue in Milwaukee. A Jewish-style deli that just serves the barebone basics like hot corned beef, matzah ball soup, reubens, hot pastrami, etc. It is not a nice neighborhood but there is an armed guard that controls who they will unlock the door for. They also have a branch in the Grand Avenue Mall but I have never eaten at that one.

    Larry's Brown Deer Market - 8737 Deerwood Drive in Brown Deer. An American-style deli. They have a good selection of meats and cheeses for sandwiches. Tasty soups and other things as well.

    Benji's Delicatessen - 4156 N. Oakland Ave (Not sure if that is technically Milwaukee or Shorewood). A fairly typical Jewish style deli with lox, corned beef, soups, pastrami, tongue, etc. They serve a good breakfast and I like their Hoppel Poppel. I prefer the meats at Jake's though. Benji's also has a location a bit further north on Port Washington Road.

    Koppas Fulbeli Deli - 1940 N. Farwell in Milwaukee. An American style deli located in the back of Koppas Grocery Store. They make excellent sandwiches to order and the sausages they make in house are very good. Especially the Italians.

    I only included places that make food to order for you. There are several nice grocery stores that have good deli items but you would have to take the bread, meat, cheese, condiments, etc. home and put it together yourself.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Fowler

      Thank you, Fowler, for your detailed response. I'm familiar with all the eateries you mention except Jakes. I was there many years ago in the "Ben Barkin" era, and found it quite good. But now they have different owners; I don't know if the place has maintained its quality. I should give it a try.

      I don't think I phrased my query as well I could have. I'm not looking for a good "sit-down" deli in Milwaukee...quite frankly, I don't think anything around here stands in the same constellation as, for example, Manny's, in Chicago. That's where go when I want to have a real corned beef sandwich!

      What I 'm looking for around here are impressive foods found in the "take home deli" sections found in food markets. Milwaukee is not big enough (alas, or thankfully, depending upon one's point of view) to have great sit-down delis, but it is big enough to have charming independent "ethnic" food markets (like Glorioso's) that have excellent "prepared food" sections. I hope that clarifies my question. And in those sections may be found dishes like the wonderful grilled asparagus I found at Glorioso's the other day.

      Now that I have clarified my query, here is another addition to the list:

      The churros at any El Rey market.

      1. re: Fowler

        Benji's also has a place in Fox Point. I just got my better two-thirds a corned beef from there for lunch. My excuse to go into the Fresh Market or whatever it is called and get a couple of Moxies.

        Larry's is not on my favorite list. Karl's across the street from Larry's is OK. Their Chili is too mild though. Larry's seems very overpriced to me. I forget the name but the bar next to Larry's going north used to have a great burger. Due to the construction I have not gone into that area for a while.

        I will never eat at Jimmy John's because the franchise owner threatened to sue if Jakes did expand like they planned into Glendale. They apparently have had a place in the Grand open for a while.

        1. re: exvaxman

          The place next to Larry's was Augie's, but I think it's just called the Prime Time Saloon now. The have a really good smelt fry on the menu. But it is not a deli by any stretch.

          1. re: Fydeaux

            Prime Time it is. Thank you. Didn't mean to have anyone think that they were a deli, just a decent burger. There is a social media site that I argue politics on that when face to face meetings are required to calm things down we meet there. The "communist liberals" walk there and get drunk, the "right wing" contingent also picks up "those that don't pay taxes" folks but doesn't drink as much since we drive. Running joke. All friends, but the arguments get heated. Just mention St. Ronnie and duck. Great fun for all.

          2. re: exvaxman

            True enough that Larry's is a bit pricey, but I am willing to pay a few extra rupees for the ambiance. It is a quaint, small shop; a bit quirky but a nice chance of pace from the behemoth "Fresh Market" and "Whole Foods" places that somehow (and thankfully) have not succeeded in driving Larry's out of business.

            Plus, apropos the original subject of this thread, Larry's has a dish in the take-out deli section of their shop worthy to be placed on the " unexpected delicatessen treasures list:

            Creamy Coleslaw.

            It is rich, a touch peppery and sweet... altogether tasty.

            So far then, we have on the list:

            Grilled Asparagus -Glorioso's
            Churros - El Rey
            Coleslaw -Larry's Market

            I do hope that I will not be the only compiler!

            1. re: Altoclefgus

              I dont know if they offer them any more, but Larry's used to have Lobster Bisque and Mushroom Bisque that set the standard for which any I have had since are measured.

              1. re: Fydeaux

                Thank you, Fydeaux, for adding to the list of take-out deli treasures. Next time I visit Larry's, I will inquire. If they have discontinued the bisques, I will let them know of your high regard. Maybe they will put them back on the menu.

                If you don't asks...you don't gets.....

        2. Among other great things, these are a few of the better items in the "deli" at Parthenon Foods at 91st and Cleveland:

          Greek olives
          Tsoureki
          Greek Feta cheese
          Spanakopita
          Baklava