Spotlight - Nell Benton
chefs make the national news when they take over a restaurant, but
that’s exactly what happened to Nell Benton when she bought The
National at the end of 2011. The reason? The former owner, Michael
Diedrick, sold Benton the entire restaurant for $100.
weather heats up, forget the hot meal and opt for the salad. Not all
bowls of green are created equal. A good salad starts with fresh
lettuce (not iceburg, unless it’s a wedge), then boasts a good
portion of veggies, sometimes fruits, and often a cheese and/or a nut.
One of the
city’s founding neighborhoods, Walker’s Point, has evolved from
its roots as an industrial area, filled with machine shops and
warehouse spaces, to a neighborhood brimming with top notch
restaurants and artisan food producers.
Pellettieri always thought she’d someday open a craft brewery.
Having worked for both Goose Island in Chicago and Miller-Coors in
Milwaukee, Pellettieri enjoyed home brewing as a hobby for 20 years.
Carolina. Kansas City. Head to a barbecue-centric destination and then
talk to the locals, and they’ll direct you to their personal
favorite, along with recommendations on what and how to order it —
because every barbecue region has a certain style — wet rub or dry
rub, pork or brisket, mustard or vinegar.
breezes through town, we head outdoors, as much and as often as
possible, and we carry that sentiment with us when we dine out. It’s
patio season, and most bars and restaurants in town boast some form of
outdoor seating, whether it’s a few tables crowded on a sidewalk or
plush couches arranged around fire pits.
uncommon for certain dishes, especially those with ties to family
gatherings or special occasions, to hold sentimental value, and for me
personally, the smoked salmon appetizer from c. 1880 does just that.
quintessential tube steak, Milwaukeeans have plenty of choices when it
comes to finding an award-winning Dogg Haus. There’s a pack of
strategically located sites, all offering top Vienna Beef
few things I love more than summertime in Milwaukee. The city’s
energy is infectious — we act as if we’ll never see another warm
weather day, and the list of events and to-dos is endless.
than three decades, Mike Engel has cooked in some of metro Milwaukee’s
swankiest kitchens. He’s done everything from opening Hotel Metro,
to catering with Bartolotta’s, to cooking for guests on Harry
Quadracci’s private train.
Kitchen," "Top Chef," "Chopped" — you can
get a glimpse into restaurant kitchens with the click of a remote. But
if you want to get off the couch and into a professional kitchen,
Sanford Restaurant will put you there.
The dish on
Artisan 179 and you immediately feel as if you’ve been transported
to the middle of an urban bistro with its plush seats, sophisticated
bar and high design, including locally designed artwork on the walls,
tables and along the staircase.
spoonful of pleasure
weather tends to put ice cream and gelato on our radar. This spring,
step away from your usual choice and let your taste buds experience
something a little more exotic. Here are five great places that serve
up something cold with a spoon, but with a twist.
chefs around town, and ask them where they go to dine. Crazy Water and
the A.P. Kitchen often top their list. Chef and restaurateur Peggy
Magister, originally from Wauwatosa, studied at the California
Culinary Academy before returning home to Wisconsin.
eggs. Who hasn’t enjoyed them at reunions, community picnics and of
course, as the culinary solution to leftovers from Easter egg hunting?
The dish on
Jesse Daily, who together ran the Thiensville Farmers Market, had not
initially planned on opening a restaurant. But when a condemned
Victorian-style bulding, dating back to the 1890s, became available,
the couple restored it and opened The Cheel.
Anaba Tea Room closed last year and Tochi Ramen opened in its place,
Chef Gregg DesRosier knew that it might take a while for regular
customers to accept the change. But accept it, they did — and in
droves — as Tochi has served 50,000 bowls of ramen in its first
year. DesRosier sat down with M Magazine to discuss the changes, his
travels to Asia and his love of Japanese mayo.
shaking a perfect martini, infusing bourbon with bacon or figuring out
how to put a new spin on the classic old-fashioned, savvy bartenders
not only know their way around a bar, but many times, they also know
their way around a kitchen.
dish on dining
Side coffee house and wine bar, which is kitty-corner from Sanford
Restaurant, serves up delicious breakfast burritos and homemade
Burke’s most popular
bloody mary, the Lazy Susan, sits on exactly what its name suggests
— a Lazy Susan.
passion for the plate
and owners of this month’s featured new restaurants all have turned
their singular enthusiasm for exceptional food into four equally
exceptional yet quite diverse dining experiences.
street it looks like just another brick building in Milwaukee’s
Fifth Ward. There’s no sign, marquee or anything else outside to let
you know that this is the site of one of Milwaukee’s newest and most
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.
Blind Horse Restaurant and Winery
granite bar gleams against the stonewalls and burnished woodwork in a
space that was once a run-down barn. Barrels and bottles of cabernet
sauvignon, zinfandel and chardonnay are paired with cheeses,
chocolates and small plates.
Aprahamian had big shoes to fill when he purchased Sanford from
legendary chef Sandy D’Amato in 2012, but the Waukesha County
Technical School graduate has filled them well.
and related meat lovers do well around greater Milwaukee, where
staking out steak houses is an ongoing hunt. The following are among
the area’s best — all places where the meat cuts are thick and
juicy, the vegetable sides are fresh, the bread is warm and quality
beverages are abundant.
professional chef worth his apron can invent a tasty vegetarian
recipe. But what happens if you limit the amount of ingredients and
then make the chef use locally sourced products?
craze: What's in, What's out
that foods come and go, although the lines between what’s in and
what’s out are always blurry. "Food trends are like any other
trend — they typically become the norm as restaurants try to keep
up with each other.
was one word to sum up this year’s dining trends, it would be fun.
Fun with beer. Fun with ice cream. Fun with ramen. Milwaukee continues
to be a casual city, and if you dress in jeans, you won’t feel out
of place at Ardent, Salotto Zarletti or Goodkind. Feeling comfortable
is a mainstay of Milwaukee restaurants.
Oysters. Chocolate. Foods that show up in gourmet dishes are now
finding their way into bottles. Bottles of beer, that is. "I
think as brewers are looking to differentiate themselves, they’re
turning to the kitchen for inspiration," says beer chef Lucy
Saunders, author of the new book "Dinner in the Beer
lobsterfest at Cuisine. My lobster tail arrived perfectly poached with
drawn butter, potatoes Anna and crisp, green spears of asparagus. My
server was attentive, refreshing my iced tea before I could ask, and
in between bites and conversation, I watched my chefs prepare the food
on a giant television screen showing the kitchen.
breakfasts and (freshly) brewed coffee — three of my favorite B’s.
Add a local focus, and you’ll have this month’s three featured
restaurants serve up some pretty spectacular burgers. Most of these
tasty patties feature cheese, a good bun and maybe some onions or
mushrooms. But some places go crazy with wild flavors and exotic
ingredients. Here are some of the most unusually delicious burgers.
dining beyond Downtown
is home to some pretty amazing restaurants, but so are its suburbs,
and great new restaurants are opening on a regular basis. But while I’m
always intrigued by new places, there are some restaurants that
continue to delight. Here are some favorites:
the three R's: Research, Read and Request
back-to-school hoopla reminds me of the other three R’s. Sure,
reading, writing and arithmetic are important life skills, but having
mastered those lessons, you’re ready to learn the other three R’s
— research, read and request — to order wine at a restaurant.
home cooking, real gastropub drinks and fare, and coffee with pizza
all headline the new places that have opened these past few months.
If you are
seeking a cocktail with character, you might want to turn to
barrel-aged cocktails. "The barrels import all kinds of flavors
like caramel and nut," says Kimberly Floyd, owner of Boone and
Places within the city limits
enjoy the thrill of discovering a new restaurant, but there are a
multitude of established restaurants in the city that are worth
keeping on the short list.
bartenders are blending food and booze into recipes that are as
complex and delicious as some of the most delicately crafted dishes
coming out of the restaurant kitchen.
dish on dining
Zarletti, Brian Zarletti’s latest venture, everything is made from
scratch, from the cream-stuffed burrata cheese to the wood-fired
pizzas. The only exclusion is the gluten-free pasta, which is made in
Milwaukee restaurant scene may have come into its own over the past
few years, but plenty of foodies will agree some of the best local
cuisine can only be found on the city’s summer festival circuit.
grandson of Vincent "Jimmy" DeMarinis, the son of Josephine
DeMarinis and nephew of Rosemary DeMarinis — the original cooks at
Mama DeMarinis — Vincent DeMarinis grew up around great Italian
food. His family lived upstairs from the legendary Bay View pizzaria,
and at 12 years old he started in the family business washing dishes.
time for summer, a new bistro, beer gastropub, creperie and bakery
join the ever-expanding South Side dining scene.
and those who suffer gluten intolerance, dining out used to mean a
plain chicken breast or burger — no bun or bread — and maybe some
of a crowded restaurant — the low rumble of chatter, staccato chimes
of flatware and glass, and the muffled fanfare of shouting in the
kitchen — overtakes us as we pass through the door.
Carlisle’s Ardent restaurant opened last fall and is already
receiving critical acclaim. Ardent is one of 30 new restaurants in the
country to be named a semifinalist for a prestigious James Beard
Award, which will be announced in early May.
always harbored a bias for the underdog. I prefer Milwaukee to New
York City. I frequent quaint neighborhood joints over expensive flashy
flavors, Locally sourced ingredients
often hear the word "hip" preceding the words "German
restaurant," but that’s exactly what the newly opened Cafe
Bavaria is. The newest addition to the Lowlands Group is adjacent to
the group’s Wauwatosa outpost of Cafe Hollander.
pretzel is riding a new wave of popularity, a boon to Milwaukee’s
Miller Baking Co., where pretzel products have been produced since
Hall, Stilt House and Troop Cafe
Brewery’s Palm Garden isn’t just for Friday nights anymore. The
new brew-tastic restaurant, Lakefront Beer Hall, is open weekdays
during brewery tours, with counter service and full service on Friday
nights for its famed fish fry.
hash browns. Apple turnover bread pudding French toast. Fried chicken
and waffles. Brunch. It’s not just for Sundays anymore.
not have the star power of the top chefs but mixologists are beginning
to make a name for themselves. Leading the charge is Adam Seger, a
mixologist before most of us had ever even heard the word and
certainly before it became cool.
Vocar, Wayward Kitchen, TOCHI
restaurateur Michael Vocar’s namesake restaurant is a dream nine
years in the making. He purchased the Riverwest building and remodeled
it slowly, opening Cafe Vocar late last year. "I come from a
cooking family," Vocar says.
Miller/Executive Chef, HOM
Miller began his culinary career by doing odd jobs for a mom-and-pop
restaurant in Naperville, Ill. This Culinary Institute of America grad
enjoyed the restaurant business so much that he spent most of his
first paychecks visiting fine dining establishments to train his
On the second
Monday of the month, the Rhythm Aces generally get in the groove from
6 to 9 p.m. Plus, who knows who else might show up with an additional
sax. 924 E. Juneau Ave., (414) 271-4220.
Italian Fare among the Newest Offerings
The holiday glow
might be fading but don’t let the cold winter dampen your cheer.
Head out to some of Milwaukee’s newest restaurants and nightspots to
brighten your spirits: think beer-focused, Italian-centric, plus a new
In the spirit of
the season, artists from "The Nutcracker" and local executive chefs
share fond memories of the holidays and the foods they love.
Shorewood native Rachel Miller Munzer came of age working in
restaurants, starting with a job at Hubbard Park Lodge when she was
just 14, she says she never dreamed one day she would own one. "I
always knew I wanted to own a small business, but never thought it
would be a restaurant," she says.
coast to coast
People in other parts of the
country are discovering what Wisconsinites have known all along — a
friendly demeanor and the liberal use of cheese is an almost
guaranteed recipe for success. From New York City to the Pacific
Northwest, it seems there’s a Midwest food renaissance taking place.
Love food. Will travel. That’s sort
of been my motto, and I’ve traveled far and wide to indulge my
passion. Though I’ve enjoyed sipping sake with a Buddhist monk and
his family in Japan and delighted in tasting bilberry and cardamom
ice cream in Finland with the ice cream maker, some of the best
foodie trips I’ve discovered are much closer to home. Here are four
Wisconsin destinations you’ll want to visit and indulge.
wines for any budget
looking for a special wine for a big celebration or just a bottle of
red to go with take-out pizza, local wine pros have got you covered.
Here are their picks for their favorite high-end wines as well as
their go-to vino that’s priced right.
For one of the
most impressive breakfasts in town head to Blue’s Egg (317 N. 76th
St.) As the name suggests, the house specialty is omelette and
Benedict dishes. But you won’t go wrong with the other breakfast
items such as blueberry pancakes,
crepes and hand-cut hash browns.
year in dining
year in Milwaukee dining can be summed up in these terms: good wine,
hand-crafted cocktails and small plates in a casual atmosphere. With
the laid-back yet hip vibe of so many of the city’s new restaurants,
it’s not surprising most are clustered in the burgeoning food mecca
that is Walker’s Point. Here are 15 notable new establishments that
have opened since last fall.
kinds of new
If you’ve ever
enjoyed chef Kos Saeng’s signature sushi rolls at Screaming Tuna in
the Third Ward or Yokosa in Brookfield, you’ll want to check out his
latest restaurant venture, Slice ‘N Dice in Pewaukee. "We
decided to branch out west because we have family out here,"
Spotlight: Eli Murphy/Executive Chef - Honeypie
Murphy worked in restaurants through high school and college, but
after he got his degree he realized he’d still rather be in the
kitchen. Murphy worked in the local-food-focused kitchens of Nostrana
and Tastebud restaurants in Portland, Ore. before following girlfriend
Erika Ehley back to her hometown of Milwaukee.
Speak: Brian Zarletti
Brian Zarletti grew up in a
food-centric, Italian family in Kenosha. So naturally he studied
marketing at Northwestern University. He started working at Main
Street Bistro in Racine, and that experience drew him back to the
kitchen. In 2002, he opened a small Italian café in South Milwaukee,
and in 2004 Zarletti’s debuted in downtown Milwaukee.
you know that oysters are an excellent source of zinc, iron, calcium
and selenium, as well as vitamin A and vitamin B12? Besides, they
taste good. And you know what else they say about oysters … So when
the mood hits, make your way to one of several Milwaukee area raw
When it comes to barbecue,
greater Milwaukee has jumped on the saucy bandwagon with ribs,
brisket and sausage rubbed and ready to go. While the community
doesn’t — yet — have the smoky reputation of a Kansas City or the
Deep South, when you’re talking ’cue, Brew City is well on its way
to hog heaven. Tune in your tummies to these hot spots.
Speak: Thi Cao
Chef Thi Cao’s culinary background is about as diverse as it comes. "I
am a Vietnamese person who has grown up in America. I studied
classical French cuisine, and I worked (as executive chef) in an
Italian restaurant," says Cao.
Speak: Anette Righi DeFendi
As a young
girl growing up in Grafton, Anette Righi DeFendi sat in church
pretending to bake brownies. Her cookbook, of course, was the hymnal.
"That’s one of my earliest childhood memories," Righi
DeFendi says. "It was before I could read."
Jackson's, Millioke, Blaze and Lucky Joe's Tiki Room
Blue Ribbon Pub at the new Brewhouse Inn and Suites (www.brewhousesuites.com)
sounds like a corner tap that might serve up a fish fry and some
sandwiches. Although it is on the corner of the block, it’s not just
any neighborhood tavern.
Warm, goey, chewy … oozing with cheese, overflowing with toppings,
backed by a zippy red sauce and supported by a perfect crust. But deciding on
what makes a crust perfect, which pizza maker does it better and who
delivers it faster can be the subject of many passionate arguments, er,
discussions. Just about everyone I’ve encountered has a favorite
Speak: Grant Slauterbeck
Slauterbeck was named executive chef of the No. 1-rated hotel in
Wisconsin in April and in three weeks’ time he created the hotel’s
summer menu, living up to his "inventive" reputation with
such dishes as Foie Gras Popcorn Balls and a deconstructed tuna
sandwich with quail eggs.
couldn’t get the crisp, clean taste of hard, French cider out of his
mind after he and his wife, Yannique, visited France. In fact, it was
a series of French vacations that led these two Milwaukeeans to start
their Door County cider orchard and tasting room.
Park your bike
on Alterra Bay View Café & Bakery’s vertical rack, find a place
on the patio and grab an iced chai. At one of Bay View’s busiest
corners, there’s plenty of people-watching to do. 2301 S.
Kinnickinnic Ave., (414) 744-6117, alterracoffee.com.
Cakes and Spirits
time, summer in the city, back of my neck getting burnt and gritty…
"Cool town, evening
in the city, looking so fine and looking so pretty." Lovin
Spoonful, I’m sure, wasn’t thinking about Milwaukee’s summer
dining and drinking options, but boy, are these new options pretty and
blends German classics with contemporary favorites
– Weissgerber’s Gasthaus has been a prominent part of
the Waukesha community for 30 years.
Waukesha restaurant honored for perfect cleanliness
WAUKESHA - A downtown restaurant that features
gluten-free food has attained the rare accomplishment of
capturing perfect cleanliness scores from the Waukesha
County Division of Environmental Health for two
me out to the ball game
crave Irish-pub fare or BBQ, or even Italian food from a storied
restaurant family, many restaurants offer free shuttle service to
Milwaukee Brewers home games at Miller Park. (Opening Day is April
1.) What’s in it for you? Not just a free ride, and your being freed
from the angst of finding a parking spot or springing for the
stadium’s parking fees.
In The Road
MUKWONAGO - Yogi Berra once said, “If you
come to a fork in the road, take it.” So when you come to the fork
at the intersection of Hwy 83 and County Road ES in Mukwonago, take
it to Fork in the Road restaurant located at 215 N. Rochester
Speak - Bryan Phillips
Phillips, a little of this and a little of that goes a long way. It’s
a culinary process that begins with simplicity and evolves with
imagination. He’s getting his chance to show his stuff as the new
head chef at the Hi Hat.
no better place to be than Milwaukee in summer, when beer, food, music
and fun are served up under the sun and stars at the city’s
signature beer gardens. It’s a German tradition with a few new
twists, so raise a mug and Prosit!
Bier, BelAir and The Bay
have blushed into full bloom, wet and snowy days have long since
melted into memories, and Milwaukeeans, emerged from hibernation, seek
all things sun. Patio season is finally here, and this year’s
arrival comes with exciting new outdoor dining and drinking options.
has a vision. Scion of the fabled Milwaukee restaurant family, Mader
is focused on building his Trad to Rad brand, which reflects his
cooking style of adding unique flair to traditional recipes.
cafe, Mexican fusion and a Milwaukee Carson's
to be new eateries almost everywhere you turn in greater Milwaukee,
from downtown’s hopping East Wisconsin Avenue to the outer reaches
of Waukesha County. Obviously, there is no boundary for good times and
good beverage. Here are a few of the newest places around town.
Wine bars, sushi and 'cue
warmer temps on the horizon, several new restaurants, coffee shops and
bars debuted — even during the cold snaps of winter. The Ruby Tap
(1341 Wauwatosa Ave., Wauwatosa), which actually opened in August,
ushered in the frenzy with a new concept: wine on tap and wine
Peschong - Executive Chef, Turner Hall
1990 to 2011, chef Tom Peschong was a familiar face at the Riversite
Restaurant, where his dishes consistently earned kudos. Among his
honors was being named a James Beard Best Midwestern Chef nominee.
has made a splash on the city’s culinary scene ever since it opened
in 2012. The Bay View restaurant, 2352 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., is
noted for an ever-changing menu that emphasizes fresh local produce,
meats and dairy products. Innovative dishes vary almost day-to-day
in small plates or standard entrées.
fare is Milwaukee’s latest hot "in-food," where Hispanic
influences can be found almost everywhere. When it comes to eateries
and menus, the new seamlessly blends with the old. Here’s a mix of
places to consider when a South of the Border fix is needed.
eats and a North Woods retreat
collection of casual-eats restaurants opened in late winter and early
spring, ensuring there wasn’t an awkward pause in the flurry of new
Speak: Scott Pampuch - The Iron Horse Hotel
Pampuch, top chef and beverage director at The Iron Horse Hotel and
founder of the award-winning Corner Table restaurant in the Twin
Cities, grew up in Winona, Minn., where his culinary training really
Dish: Nines at the River Club of Mequon
ordered the Crouching Tuna, Hidden Shrimp Roll, a toss of the dice
from a menu that suggested unexpected flavor combinations on every
line. The menu deconstructed the roll by listing tuna, avocado,
shrimp, soy glaze, wasabi cream and caviar, but I chose to let the
roll surprise me and let the flavors speak for themselves.
dish/What's new in city dining: Joey Gerard's
Rave reviews of
Joey Gerard’s preceded our visit to the latest addition to the
Bartolotta Restaurants roster. Joe Bartolotta’s two namesake
restaurants, one in Greendale and one in Mequon, harken back to a time
before we counted calories; a time when menus featured liver and
onions, meatloaf and beef stroganoff.
on board the bus for culinary adventures — and leave the driving to
Milwaukee Food Tours. Theresa Nemetz and husband Wade will ensure a
good time, grand fun and an exciting peek into the city’s history,
all rolled into one jolly excursion.
Dish/What's new in city dining: Wild Earth Cucina Italiana
Earth Cucina Italiana — the name suggests a sensory feast on Italy’s
coast looking down from an oversized window to a raging sea, or
perhaps a view of a rolling hillside in Tuscany.
Italian dining scene
Balistreri siblings, Tony, Theresa and Peter, running Sala da Pranzo
Italian restaurant is an extension of their family experience. Even
before their grandfather came to America as a young boy from St. Elia,
Silicy in the early 1900s the Balistreris have been a cooking family.
Sarah Mironczuk had a pet tarantula named "Pablo," calls herself
"Zombie Girl," was born a week before Halloween and her 2-year old
daughter, Bernadette, entered the world on a Friday the 13th. Is it
any wonder that Mironczuk was a recent winner on the Food Network’s
"Sweet Genius," a show where chefs concoct competitive desserts,
that was also taped on a Friday the 13th with a Halloween theme and
Sarah’s winning dish was a cake shaped like a tarantula?
year in dining
Returning to his native Wisconsin after cooking with Michel Richard at
Citronelle in Washington, D.C., was never a question — he always
intended on it. Thomas Hauck, chef owner of c. 1880, on a corner
along bustling 1st Street in Walker’s Point, uses his restaurant as
a culinary laboratory where he pickles, preserves and dehydrates.
Chefs at country
clubs have a tall order — to satisfy pickiest of palates. After all,
members at these exclusive clubs eat artisan ingredients in far-flung
nations and often host multicourse gourmet meals in their homes.