From his perch at the concierge desk at The Pfister hotel, Peter Mortensen experiences the world through the international visitors the hotel attracts. But there’s no place like home for Mortensen, who says after 19 years of living in Milwaukee he is still excited about what happens here. And when he says, “There isn’t a lot I don’t like about Milwaukee,” we don’t doubt him for a New York minute.

>> Best downtown neighborhood: “I love Brady Street because it is authentic. It happens to be my little downtown because I live very close to there. Divorced from the urban context it looks like a downtown in a small town. The sense of neighborhood is really palpable here. It offers a sense of place, permanence that many cities are really losing.”

>> Best compliment about Milwaukee: “We are very rapidly moving to an era where virtuality trumps reality, when the highest compliment someone can give is that being here is just like being someplace else. What makes Milwaukee so wonderful and drives people’s responses is that it is not like anyplace else. Or not what they expected. Any compliment you hear is a good compliment. It is really a privilege to be an ombudsman between visitors and the city. I get a chance to hear really, really wonderful things that validate my own feelings (about the city).”

>> Best place to go: “Villa Terrace is one of my favorite places in the world to go not because it’s a great place but because of the symmetry, balance, the sense of relationship when I walk in there. There isn’t anything about Villa Terrace I don’t love. It is one of those unique, very, very special places where everything seems to fall into place. It’s one of those places you don’t want to leave.”

>> Best defining feature: “My vision of Milwaukee is that it is not so much a city as a collision of villages. Every single sort of group lived here and left an indelible print. A jostling of new and old. You get this sense that people have walked this street for a long time and are going to walk it, going to be here for a long time.”

Main Menu 3

-Place to get lost in a book
-Place to hide from the world
-Excuse to eat with your fingers

"My Bests"
-Tina Panas ('Tina Fabulous')
-Mark Metcalf
-Tammy Elliott
-Ned Yost
-Sarah Ferguson
-Bill Davidson
-Peter Mortensen

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Contributing writers: Laurie Arendt, Kay Dahlke, Jordan DeChambre, Candace Doyle, Bob Gosman, Matt Hronick, JoAnn Petaschnick, Janet Raasch, Mary Lou Santovec, Amy Siewert Contributing photographers: Nathan Harrmann, Amy Siewert
Illustrations: Anjl Rodee