World of Beer
and (freshly) brewed coffee — three of my favorite B’s. Add a
local focus, and you’ll have this month’s three featured
You can find
coffee – and a whole lot more – at the new 600 East Café. For
years, 600 E. Wisconsin Ave. was just one of those ubiquitous office
buildings in downtown Milwaukee – the kind you drove past unless you
worked or had a meeting inside.
building owner Dan Nelson received several inquiries from local
restaurant operators about its availability, he decided to open his
own restaurant, and the new 600 East Café was born, opening in
August. This coffee shop meets rentable office space boasts high
ceilings with exposed wood beams and Cream City brick walls, and its
floor to ceiling windows offer plenty of natural light.
focuses on coffee, representing both Anodyne and Colectivo beans, and
breakfast and lunch, but what’s most intriguing is this is a
local-centric coffeehouse, with Carr Valley Cheese, Buddy’s Meat
Market and Angelic Bakehouse as just a few of the Wisconsin and
Milwaukee purveyors represented. "We can’t do everything
locally, but we use everything we can," says Jill Ruffing, who
runs the café with her husband, Brian. The Ruffings previously owned
the Java House in Cedarburg.
stand out on the menu. The build-your-own breakfast sandwich, with as
many veggies as you like, is stellar, as is the buffalo chicken wrap,
but my favorite is the pecan chicken salad. "It’s got the best
balsamic dressing," says Ruffing.
This fall, look
for flatbreads, along with daily specials, and the Ruffings plan to
expand their catering operations, too. And if you don’t have time to
drop by the café, just head to the walk-up window – sort of a
drive-thru but for pedestrians.
600 E. Wisconsin
Ave., Milwaukee, (844) 600-EAST (3278),
of Beer, Wauwatosa
the second local World of Beer opened in late summer. But unlike the
Brady Street location, this brew-centric place is more than just a
great bar. It’s also a restaurant with a full gourmet menu that will
expand this fall to include additional steaks, salmon and chicken
Kyle, and I started out with the German pretzel and a flight of beer.
The pretzel was the biggest I’d ever seen. General manager Adam
Buttina informed me that he’s made sure World of Beer is the only
place in the area where you can get these German imports. The pretzel
tasted great with Ace Pumpkin Cider, Milwaukee Brewing Co. Sasquatch
pumpkin ale, The Great Dane Stone of Scone Scotch ale and C’est La
Vie, World of Beer’s exclusive Belgium dry-hopped ale. Because
Buttina went to college in Madison and worked at The Great Dane, he
has a strong connection to that brewery, and WOB is one of the only
places in town where you can get its craft beers.
We also tried
the artisan sausage platter and the wedge salad. The sausages were
savory, especially the jalapeno cheddar, and like the pretzel, it was
an ample portion. The wedge salad, topped with blue cheese, bacon,
tomatoes and red onions, had a delicate balsamic reduction drizzled on
top that added depth. I thought it paired quite well with the Gin Jam
cocktail, which included a spritz of beer.
World of Beer
features live music on weekends, and it boasts more than 540 beers at
any given time. Twice a week, Buttina infuses a brew with his
custom-made infusion tower. "Instead of just adding ingredients
to a beer, I talk with the brewers to ask them what they would
add," Buttina explains. For example, he infused Milwaukee Brewing
Co.’s O-Gii tea-laced beer with orange and lemon zests to bring out
more of the beer’s citrus notes.
The brews, both
bottled and on draft, change all the time. Loyalty club members get
updates via a mobile app. The menu is updated in real time, too, as it
comes to the table on an iPad instead of in a bound book.
418 N. Mayfair
Road, Wauwatosa, (262) 770-3902,
Company No. 3
chef and owner Peter Sandroni has been working on opening Engine
Company No. 3, just a few blocks down National Avenue from his La
Merenda restaurant. All his hard work has paid off, and the new
breakfast and lunch restaurant adds to the already phenomenal Walker’s
Point dining scene.
Like La Merenda,
Engine Company uses as many local ingredients as possible, and in
fact, uses even more than La Merenda. "Breakfast really lends
itself to eating locally," Sandroni says.
My son QJ
especially enjoyed all the antique firefighting equipment and photos,
and I appreciated the Cream City brick walls, the restored plank
flooring and the honed wood tables. We both loved our meal. QJ ordered
the apple flapjacks – caramelized apple-topped pancakes served with
whipped cinnamon butter and caramel maple syrup. I adored my patacon
con huevo – a fried, smashed plantain topped with beans, cilantro
rice and a roasted red pepper sauce. QJ stole my sunny-side up egg.
The lattes I enjoyed were made with freshly ground Valentine Coffee
217 W. National
Ave., Milwaukee, (414) 226-5695,