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Dish on dining
Walker’s Point continues to build its culinary platform, and inventive new restaurants have also opened in Milwaukee’s Story Hill neighborhood and in Cedarburg.

By JEANETTE HURT
Photos by Dan Bishop

January 2015

Story Hill BKC

Story Hill BKC

In Story Hill, the latest story is, well, Story Hill BKC, with the B standing for Bottle (wine), the K standing for Kitchen (food) and the C standing for Cup (coffee). Dan Sidner and his partner Joe Muench, who own Blue’s Egg and Maxie’s Southern Comfort, purchased a building at 5100 W. Bluemound Road that used to be a uniform store.

Working with Lucky Star Workshop, they took the old shop down to the studs and rebuilt it using reclaimed wood, old cabinets and even antique soda bottles (which have become stunning light fixtures), transforming the space into a café, restaurant and wine shop. "We have been wanting to do this (concept) for 20 years," says Sidner.

The food, which combines French, Asian, Spanish and Latin American influences, is "a culmination of Joe’s culinary experience," Sidner says. Like Blue’s Egg, there are some amazing breakfast and brunch offerings, and fans of Blue’s Egg who don’t want to wait — as Blue’s can have long waits on weekends — should head over to BKC.

Like Blue’s, there are some tweaks on familiar favorites, like a cheese and egger crepurrito (crepe breakfast burrito), and there are also some very inventive dishes. A breakfast-style Korean hot pot replaces rice with shredded potatoes paired with house-smoked whitefish, mixed vegetables, herbs, a brown rice miso sauce and poached eggs.

Lunch features a sweet and savory crepe of the day, and fans of Maxie’s Southern Comfort might love the braised country rib sandwich. Dinner is divided into three sizes — taste, share and pass. The tastes are small — like a single chicken meatball served with truffle honey and a green peppercorn sauce. Share are tapas-style dishes like roast cauliflower with dried tomatoes and pine nuts and Montamore cheese, and pass are entrée-sized offerings that include skewered lamb chops and Story Hill steak served with coffee butter and a roasted beet salad. One particularly savory salad, Connie’s Salad, is served for lunch and dinner, and it’s a meld of shredded chicken, cucumber, zucchini, pickled carrots, dried mangoes, cilantro and jalapeno dressing.

But one of the best offerings comes from the Bottle portion of the restaurant; every one of the 300 wines on the menu is also sold in an in-house wine store, and the markups for drinking a bottle in-house are extremely low. Every beer is also available in growlers to go, and the spirits used in the mixed drinks are available to buy, too. They even sell the imported Luxardo Italian cherries used in their special old-fashioned. "Our goal is to help you drink better, both here and at home," says Sidner. 5100 W. Bluemound Road, storyhillbkc.com, (414) 539-4424.

 

Out & Out

Lucky Star Workshop also helped Out & Out build an entirely new restaurant and custard stand where its old walk-up and order outside business started. What was once the old Dairy Queen is now a funky, from scratch restaurant filled with whimsical, reused school district items, including industrial arts tables from Racine, school chairs from Kenosha and bleacher boards from Whitefish Bay.

Out & Out still serves custard and makes its magnificent mac n’ cheeses, inventive sandwiches and fresh salads, but owners Eric and Jackie Fix have added barbecue bowls with cowboy beans, shredded brisket, pulled pork and roasted veggies. Staying true to its stand-outside-and-wait roots, the restaurant has a walk-up window. But this time, there’s a heat lamp. W61 N305 Washington Ave., Cedarburg, (262) 377-5515,outandoutcustard.com

Morel

In Walker’s Point, Morel and Movida are heating up the culinary scene. "Morel is a farm-to-table, high-end restaurant without the pretension," says owner and chef Jonathan Manyo.

Manyo, a Milwaukee native, worked extensively on the West Coast before returning home to open his restaurant. Like the name suggests, mushrooms feature prominently on the menu, but since the restaurant opened in July, Manyo hasn’t had a chance yet to serve its namesake. In winter, he’s serving some locally cultivated shitake, button and oyster mushrooms.

In the fall, he served up a mix of wild mushrooms served over the creamiest polenta made with corn milled at Lonesome Stone Milling in the Driftless region of Wisconsin. "The reason why this polenta is so good is because when we place an order, they mill it fresh so it has this amazing corn flavor," Manyo says. "Quite honestly, it’s the best polenta I’ve tasted in my life. Normally, to get polenta that creamy you have to add Parmesan and cream, but we just cook it in milk with just a tiny bit of butter and that’s it."

That polenta is served with duck confit and house-smoked pheasant sausage. Other seasonal dishes include braised beef cheeks with celery root puree and Brussels sprouts. Every few weeks, Manyo also serves braised lamb shanks. The wine list is ample, and this winter, look for more reserve bottles — think big Bordeaux and bigger Italian wines instead of the roses and whites that were served in the warmer months. 430 S. 2nd St., (414) 897-0747, www.morelmke.com

 

Movida

Down the street, Movida serves up authentic Spanish tapas. Owners Andrei Primakow, who lived in Madrid, and his partner Aaron Gersonde chose the name after La Movida Madrilena, which was the artistic movement generated in the city after General Franco died. "It was very similar to our ’60s movement, and it sparked a lot of new artists," says Gersonde. "We call ourselves that because we want to kind of capture that countercultural movement." The owners remodeled the space, which previously housed Industri Cafe.

On the menu, check out the garlic shrimp, jamon Iberico and pork tenderloin served atop Brie cheese with apricot jam. For drinks, the wine list is all Spanish, and also check out their gin and tonic made with house-made tonic and Rehorst gin. The cocktail is served in a small bottle.

On weekends, Movida serves up a Spanish-style brunch. Salt cod fritters, huevos rotos ("broken eggs") made with lightly poached duck eggs broken over house-made potato crisps with chorizo, and Spanish style "French" toast are all standout dishes. 524 S. 2nd St., (414) 224-5300, www.movidamke.com







 

This story ran in the January 2015 issue of: