for lunch on the run, hearty eaters have plenty of traditional
delicatessens to chose from in the greater Milwaukee area vs. going
the all-too-easy fast-food route. The word "deli" comes from
the 19th century term denoting "prepared foods for sale." In
German, it’s "Delikatessen" and the Dutch
"delicatessen," and from French "délicatesse" or
"delicateness," which comes from "délicat."
Following are among the best delis in town, where the chopped liver
has attitude and dark rye bread is mighty fine.
15655 W. North Ave., Brookfield
Launched in 1997
by Jerry Floryanze, Angelina’s emphasizes homemade Italian, seasonal
Slovenian, Polish and other sausages, slices of pizza and lasagna.
Friday specials included a fish/seafood fry with either lake perch,
walleye filet or jumbo shrimp. As hungry diners say here,
"Sighted sub, sank same" with the Meatball Sub, which is two
monster all-beef meatballs topped with mozzarella cheese. There’s
also a soup of the day and, wonder of wonders, a wine cellar. The hot
German potato salad, complete with the requisite bacon, is worth a
visit. Don’t forget the freshly made tiramisu or a brownie cake as
4156 N. Oakland Ave., Shorewood
For nearly 40
years, this has been the place for herring in cream sauce. But
consider the chicken soup — ah, the chicken soup. Both for the soul
and the bowl. Benji’s homemade broth is made daily and served with a
choice of matzoh ball, noodle, rice, kreplach or kasha. Or maybe beet
borscht for home? Or a half pound of slow-roasted beef brisket with
two potato pancakes. Or, better listen now: Hear O Israel is a
sandwich concoction of corned beef, pastrami, salami and pepper beef
mounded with Swiss cheese and coleslaw, all slathered in Thousand
Island dressing. And the pickled tongue has never been better. Benji’s
is a halvah place for eats, all right.
1634 W. North Ave., Milwaukee
For corned beef
sandwiches, Jake’s has been a favorite since Noah built that boat.
Start with the simple "Xtra-lean" and move on to other
varieties of this standard deli delight. A Philly corned beef wonder
is happily exotica, with layers of onions, peppers and cheese.
Milwaukee-made Miller bakery seeded rye is usually the bread of
choice. Oh, yes: After all these generations, corned beef and cabbage
soup is still on the menu. A frothy Dr. Brown’s cream or black
cherry soda will bring back memories of summer childhood.
1940 N. Farwell Ave., Milwaukee
quarter-century, Koppa’s has been feeding the planet from its homey
East Side site. Koppa’s is noted for its self-proclaimed world’s
hottest chili, plus other daily specials, many named after the
planets. Football fans and meat eaters pack into the Bread Favre, made
with shaved Cajun turkey breast, sharp cheddar, bacon, avocado, red
onions, tomato, lettuce, mayo and sub dressing on a fresh baked roll.
Vegetarians often go for the Deli Lama, with its generous layers of
Provolone cheese, red onions, tomato, avocado, roasted red peppers,
alfalfa sprouts, mayo and tahini dressing, also on a Koppa’s fab sub
8737 North Deerwood Drive, Brown Deer
Sited a block
south of Brown Deer Road near the North Shore Fire Department, Larry’s
has long held title as one of Milwaukee’s best cheese houses. The
deli here is to die for, as well. Soup is a specialty, ranging from
fresh gazpacho to tomato Florentine or a clam/shrimp/crab trio
swimming in a tomato broth. Every summer Friday is Grill Out Day from
11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., with such offerings as chicken andouille
sausage and orange mango salmon. Sandwiches can be done on a Miller
Bakery pretzel bun for a slight extra charge, while the market’s
signature sandwiches are generally served on demi-baguettes. Craving
leftovers, discerning diners go for the salads by the pound.
761 N. Water St., Milwaukee
is far from traditional, being served with bacon, lox, tomato and
arugula. A sub here could be constructed with hearty roast beef,
complemented with horseradish mayo, red onions, tomato, mixed greens
and Provolone. Or make it an Italian sub, with imported soppresata,
which is a dry salami, along with ham and capicolla, a traditional
cold-cut. Bag lunches, with either a sandwich or salad, include one
side, such as a pasta, fruit salad or chips and one dessert, which
could be a cookie, coffeecake or other sweets. Beverages are extra.
Bakery & Deli
Brookfield, Milwaukee, Greendale
From torts to
tarts and everything cream-filled deliciously in between, National’s
three locations are guaranteed to satisfy the determined deli lover on
the prowl for sweets. Yet for a dietary balancing act, be sure not
just to load up on buttered or regular Paczki cakes (Polish
doughnuts), but take home some cranberry fluff, bronco beans and
spinach dip to go along with slices of hard salami, top round beef
roast or turkey breast. What, and you want liver sausage, too! OK, you
got it. Every day, smart shoppers get six free hard rolls with the
purchase of a pound of gourmet Badger boiled ham made locally by the
third generation of the Schwellinger family, augmented with National’s
own kind-of-secret baked-on brown sugar glaze.
146 E. Juneau Ave., Milwaukee
Located near the
fabled Art’s Performing Center and the fabulous Marcus Center for
the Performing Arts, Jared Millen’s What’s Fresh has been serving
braunschweiger to artistes of all stripes since he opened in 1989.
That totals tens of thousands of sandwiches, with a chicken basil
salad long a favorite. Cost-conscious downtown noon-timers also know
that for inexpensive eats, What’s Fresh can’t be beat. Except for
its boxed lunches, most of the deli’s menu selections are under $5.
Why pay any more for a delicious egg salad?