Special Series








Best of Greater MKE: Best Local Drinking & Dining

Industry Profile:
JoAnne Sabir of Shindig Coffee

For JoAnne Sabir, “building community” is more than just a trendy phrase. Sabir’s Milwaukee connection grew out of childhood visits to her mother’s hometown. Today this dynamo is working to recreate that community experience.
Dish of the Month:
Ravioli Della Casa at Ca’Lucchenzo

Husband and wife duo Zak and Sarah Baker met 15 years ago while the pair was working at Ristorante Bartolotta, Zak as a chef and Sarah as Joe Bartolotta’s assistant and later the HR director.

Industry Profile:
The Arenas Family of Palmer's Steakhouse

For Jerry and Marie Arenas, the restaurant business is a lifelong affair.
“I grew up in a restaurant called The Rafters, on the south side of Milwaukee. It’s no longer here, [but] that’s where Marie and I met,” recalls Jerry. “I’ve been doing steaks my whole life. I’ve probably cooked over 2 million [steaks] now.”

Dish of the Month:
Lump Crab Cakes at Artisan 179

There’s no better coda to a beautiful day on Pewaukee Lake than savoring a flavorful seafood dish at a cozy eatery overlooking the water. Patrons of Artisan 179 not only find delicious “surf” options like New England fluke, lump crab cakes and Thai shrimp — and plenty of “turf” options too — but those delectable dishes also boast an international edge.

In Season Three Ways: Brambles
Every rose has its thorn. And the best of the berries do too. The bramble family includes red and black raspberries, blackberries and even wild thimbleberries, all of which entice bramble lovers with their colorful fruit even as their prickly canes scratch even the most expert berry gatherer.

Sweet Traditions: Mike Toffler of The Chocolate Factory
Mike Toffler has been in the happiness business since 1972, slinging sundaes and subs at The Chocolate Factory. Toffler owned an ice cream shop on Milwaukee’s East Side when Peter Blommer, who was in the chocolate business, approached him to open a shop in Cedarburg.

Dish of the Month: Five Grain Power Bowl at Midtown Grill
For Mike Topolovich, co-owner of both Midtown Grill and North Avenue Grill in Wauwatosa, taking over the building on North Avenue that once occupied John’s Sandwich Shop blossomed as a sentimental undertaking. As a kid, he was offered and turned down a job at John’s, going to work at McDonald’s instead.

Dish of the Month: Rosie’s Garden Salad at Taylor’s People’s Park
Walk into the historic Waukesha building housing warm and welcoming Taylor’s People’s Park and you are immediately greeted by a funky and amusing art piece that spans the length of the bar and features dolls, figurines and other kitschy items.

Recreation and Re-creation on the Riverfront
It’s a gray and dreary morning, but inside The Cooperage — a music hall, event space and wedding venue housed within a Cream City brick building on South Water Street — the atmosphere is anything but. A wall of glass windows floods the space with natural light, offering unbeatable views of the Hoan Bridge and Milwaukee River, and exposed steel beams and wood floors add warmth and texture.

Dish of the Month: Sobie’s Blueberry Basil Bruschetta
Sobie’s Restaurant co-owners Mike and Lydia Sobol met more than 20 years ago at Lydia’s father’s Michigan brew pub. Mike signed on as a sous chef, and Lydia — who was then a new college grad killing time behind the bar — says the rest is history.

Now, Voyager!
On a brisk December day, passersby at the busy intersection of Lincoln and Kinnickinnic Avenues can’t help but notice a wall-sized, televised “fireplace” blazing in the former home of Bay View’s Refuge Café. Those curious enough to further investigate the signage-free spot find themselves inside Voyager, Milwaukee’s newest wine experience. One deliberately unlike others around the metro area.

Dish of the Month: Tacos from The Laughing Taco
Lucia Munoz moved to Milwaukee five years ago when she married Justin Carlisle, owner of popular local restaurants Ardent and Red Light Ramen. Eventually, her husband’s knowledge and experience in the culinary industry inspired Munoz to open her own taqueria.

15 Minutes With: Tom Keppeler of UpStart Kitchen
When he was on the pastoral staff at Elmbrook Church, Tom Keppeler had frequent conversations with Bishop Walter Harvey of Parklawn Assembly of God in Sherman Park. The two talked about how to connect compassion with ways to create career opportunities in low-wealth communities.

All In the Family: Shully’s Cuisine continues to grow with the help of the next generation
For the Shully family, every party is a story. A story that begins with getting to know each customer and their vision, and wraps with a perfectly orchestrated, utterly distinctive event that showcases the Shully’s Cuisine and Events team’s flair for food and hosting.

Dish of the Month: Hungry Sumo’s Aburi Nigiri Set
Inspired by watching their own families run businesses, Hungry Sumos Executive Chef Thitichai Rukchon and his business partner, Jirapa Lertsinsongserm, opened their own sushi bar in September of 2017. The Bay View restaurant offers fresh sushi, several incarnations of ramen and a variety of entrees, many of which, Lertsinsongserm proudly notes, are easily modified to satisfy vegan customers.

Fooda: Explore Milwaukee’s foodie scene one workday lunch at a time.
It’s noon on a cold, blustery workday. You’re famished, but you don’t feel like bundling up to leave the office. And those 3-day-old leftovers you brought for lunch have long lost their appeal.

Dish of the Month: Mader's Pork Shank
Mader’s, the iconic 117-year-old, German-style restaurant in downtown Milwaukee, boasts a photo wall featuring the many famous faces who have sampled its cuisine, as well as a chair honoring Will Ferrell’s 2011 visit and a table marking John F. Kennedy’s visit.
Famous Faces
Every wonder where high profile locals go to grab a beer, a bar bite or a morning cup of joe? We asked a few of your favorites!
Savoring Collaboration: Why “Wisconsin Foodie” is so much more than eat and drink
It’s a chilly, late October morning, and Nelson Schneider is on the run. The “Wisconsin Foodie” cameraman and cinematographer — the only fulltime employee of the Emmy-winning Wisconsin Public Television favorite other than its multi-hyphenate creator Arthur Ircink — is following Twisted Path Distillery founder/distiller Brian Sammons as he prepares to mash blue corn flour into a bubbling, purplish pulp that will become blue corn vodka.

Fueling Fun: Behind the Scenes of Fiserv Forum's Unrivaled and Ultra-Local Hospitality Program
An hour before Fiserv Forum welcomes an eager crowd to the Milwaukee Bucks’ 2018-2019 season opener, another team is already in top form inside the gleaming, new $524-million arena.

Joe Heppe, Executive Chef I.D. Delafield
With seven restaurants and more on the horizon, it provides opportunities for growth to the staff I work with in the I.d. kitchen. In the chef game today, mentorship is just as important as the food that gets produced.
Industry Profile: Robin Matovich Mastera of The Farmer’s Wife
Robin Matovich Mastera originally planned to open a food truck. But when she went to scout kitchen space owned by a pal in West Allis, she knew her plan had changed. Sixty-six is Mastera’s lucky number, so when the locale she was eyeing happened to be on 66th and Mitchell and was only a block-and-a-half from the farmers market she loved, she rethought her mission and opened the cozy eatery she called The Farmer’s Wife.

Dish of the Month: Brandywine’s braised beef short rib
Family owned and operated, Brandywine — opened this summer by husband and wife duo Andrew and Rhiannon Wilson — is housed in an updated historic Cedarburg building dating back to the early 1860s. Andrew, who is also Brandywine’s head chef, says the history of the building lends inspiration to the dishes he creates, a crowd-pleasing but well-curated variety of appetizers, entrees and desserts, as well as nightly specials.

Dish of the Month: Blue Bat Kitchen’s Teriyaki Salmon Bowl
Walking into Blue Bat Kitchen and Tequilaria in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward, patrons are greeted with a massive lighted sign reading “GOOD TIMES,” a motto Chef de Cuisine Patrick Murphy feels perfectly encapsulates the easygoing fare.

Industry Profile: Allison Trice of Junior’s Veggie Soul
The lines sometimes snake across the sidewalk at the Junior’s Veggie Soul booth at South Shore Farmers Market. The business — an offshoot of Fondy Farmers Market’s Junior’s Smoked BBQ booth — is the brainchild and baby of self-taught chef Allison Trice, whose partner Kevin Junior runs the meatier of the businesses.

A Pizza My Heart
Celebrate National Pizza Month by savoring a slice or two, perhaps in a neighborhood far from your own. Here are eight great places across metro MKE to say cheese ... or whatever toppings you like most.

Dish of the Month: The Norbert’s Brown Buttered Scallops
Located in the heart of downtown West Bend, The Norbert offers an inventive, ever-evolving menu of small plate options.

Dish of the Month: Celesta’s Beet Carpaccio
Located on the East Side in what used to be Abu’s Jerusalem Restaurant — and what was most recently Jow Nai Fouquet — Celesta serves a self-proclaimed “otherworldly” variety of vegan dishes, all ready to wow vegans, vegetarians and carnivores alike.

Industry Profile: Michele Klotz of OMG The Complete Bloody Mary Cocktail
Michele Klotz loved a good bloody mary, especially when she and her husband went out. But even when she discovered a favorite bloody mary at a restaurant or bar, it often didn’t taste the same the next time she ordered it. Klotz began researching recipes and taste-testing recipes on friends and family members until she came up with the perfect blend.

Find Your Fry
Crispy and crunchy, seasoned and salty, chippy and dippy … the combinations of the humble french-fried potato aren’t so humble — they’re surprisingly sophisticated and snazzy. Here’s a guide to find your fry.

Dish of the Month: Birch + Butcher’s Grilled Beef Skirt Steak
Decorated in beautiful, bright birch wood, which helped establish the restaurant’s name, Birch + Butcher offers a variety of dishes, from brunch to dinner fare, as well as a cafe area with coffee, bagels and breakfast sandwiches.
Industry Profile: Adam Sarkis of The Phoenix Cocktail Club
Adam Sarkis sees cocktails through the lens of pop culture and film. A film studies graduate and filmmaker, he started bartending on the side at Braise when he realized he enjoyed the creativity of mixology more than film production. Today, he’s the inventive beverage director behind The Phoenix Cocktail Club and the co-founder of events company Bodega Party with Ruben Flores of Sugr.

Perfect Patios
As long as the summer lasts, we sing the praises of the patio. Since its pleasures are all too fleeting in this northern climate, we sing until the very last note of the season gets blown away by winter’s early chill.

Dish of the Month: Crave Cafe’s soft-shell crab BLT
The East Coast may be as well known for its seafood as Wisconsin is known for its dairy, but David Wu, owner and chef at Shorewood’s Crave Cafe, wanted to bring the nautical delicacy to Wisconsin.

Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth
Sometimes, you just have to treat yourself – or one of your loved ones. And if you don’t feel like baking – and really, in the summer, who wants to heat up the house with the oven? – here are some sweet places to visit.

Dish of the Month: Parm Crusted Veggie Sandwich from Café 1505
Nestled in East Towne Square Mall is Café 1505, a cozy café with a bar, a dine-in area and a bakery with a display case of pastries, sandwiches and salads. “We really strive to be healthy and local,” says Executive Chef Ken Kohls.

Pho-nomena: Local restaurants ladle up delectable Vietnamese dishes
If you’re suffering from a spring cold, forget the traditional chicken noodle soup and instead go for a nice, warming bowl of pho. Properly pronounced “fuh” or “fah,” this Vietnamese delight boasts an especially fragrant broth typically filled with sliced meats or seafood and plenty of yummy noodles.

Industry Profile: Shay Linkus, Mitch Ciohon and John Revord of Snack Boys
Irreverent, funny and surprising even to themselves, the Snack Boys have opened a game-changing restaurant and bar of the same name in Walker’s Point, former home of A.P. Bar and Kitchen.  Mitch Ciohon, John Revord and Shay Linkus combined their culinary and mixology powers to create a fun fusion of gourmet food and carefully crafted cocktails in a hip yet tongue-in-cheek atmosphere that’s filled with insider jokes.

Dish of the Month:
Seared day boat sea scallops from I.D.

Nestled inside the beautiful Delafield Hotel, I.d. offers dishes made with as many local farm ingredients as the owners can get their hands on to provide the freshest meals possible. While seasonal ingredients can cause some dishes to come and go from the menu, one dish you’ll find year-round is the seared day boat sea scallops.
Industry Profile: Dynami Al-Anjeri of On the Way Cafe
Before Dynami Al-Anjeri became the co-owner, general manager and chef of On the Way Cafe in Mequon, the Santa Monica, Calif., native was a fashion and jewelry designer, paleo blogger and industrial engineer. In fact, she was even on the Kuwait television version of “Project Runway,” called “I Wish,” where she was a finalist.

Spring Roll at Cloud Red

Cloud Red co-owners Rebecca Goldberger and Lis Duggan encourage a relaxed, friendly atmosphere in this Shorewood social house. With no hostesses or waitresses, the menu is hand-written on repurposed windows hanging toward the rear of the building, with a table of games sitting underneath.

Industry Profile: Robert Klemm of Fishbone's And Zin
Chef Robert Klemm is arguably one of the most creative chefs in the area. He opened Industri in Walker’s Point before Second Street became the city’s “restaurant row,” was the opening chef at the Ale Asylum Riverhouse, and then debuted his second restaurant, the Villa at Heaven City, in Mukwonago.

Delicious Decadence
Where to indulge in desserts laced with dark chocolate.

Corned Beef and Cabbage At County Clare

Walking into County Clare Irish Restaurant is like being transported to an old-fashioned Irish pub. With wood paneling, stained glass windows and proverbs posted on the walls, the environment matches the fare at this downtown spot.

Industry Profile: Travis Martinez of the Pfister Hotel
If the Pfister Hotel’s desserts seem gorgeous enough to be on television, it might be because Travis Martinez’s creations have been on television before. He was a finalist in the first season (2015) of the Food Network’s “Cake Wars: Christmas,” lasting until the final episode. Martinez sat down with M to discuss all things chocolate, homemade sourdough bread and more.

Hot to Trot
When the tundra is frozen and the temperatures are equally chilly, nothing warms a body up like a hot cocktail. Toddies, Irish coffees and buttered rums have always been a part of Wisconsin’s bar lore, and there are plenty of great places in Milwaukee that serve up drinks to warm the body and soul. Here are 10 hot cocktails to try right now.

Harvey’s Grilled Salmon Salad

Located in the heart of Mequon, Harvey’s Central Grille offers a relaxed, rustic atmosphere. The family-owned and-run business offers a variety of meals, but if you’re looking for something healthy, look no further than the delicious dinner salads, especially the grilled salmon salad. 
Industry Profile: Joshua Rodgers of Smyth
Chef Joshua Rodgers grew up in Santa Rosa, Calif., then lived in Utah and Seattle before high school in Florida. He’s been a chef in kitchens around the globe, working in Florida, San Francisco, New York City, Nantucket, Montana and Shanghai. Since he took over the kitchens at Smyth and the Iron Horse Hotel in May of 2016, he’s enjoyed working with Wisconsin ingredients.

Gardener’s Pie at The Fitz

Vegetarian friends, rejoice. The Fitz — the recently revamped restaurant at the Ambassador Hotel — just made finding the perfect vegetarian dish much easier. Executive chef Jason Gorman says the gardener’s pie is The Fitz’s original take on a shepherd’s pie, but created specifically for vegetarians.

An A-Z Guide to Dining and Imbibing in Milwaukee
It seems Milwaukee’s culinary and drink scenes score highly on some national list on a near monthly basis. And just about every other week, some new restaurant or food purveyor or brewery opens in the city. It’s kind of hard to take it all in. Never fear. We’ve got you covered. Here’s our A-to-Z guide to everything enticing in Milwaukee.

Advanced sommelier and multi-unit director for The Bartolotta Restaurants.

Pushing The Boundaries
Is Milwaukee’s craft brewery market reaching near saturation? How many breweries are too many? What does it take to open a brick-and-mortar brewery? We ask Milwaukeeans from three local breweries to weigh in, and reveal how today’s craft beer scene is redefining Brew City.

Joshua Rodgers, Executive Chef
Smyth at the Iron Horse Hotel

What type of food can diners expect from Smyth?
At Smyth, we cook approachable, modern-American cuisine. We make many of our products in house, such as our goats milk yogurt, pastas and ricotta cheese, and we locally source all of our seasonal ingredients.

Joe Heppe, Head chef I.D. Delafield

Are there any food trends that you wish would just end already?
Most food trends are irrelevant. Just because kale isn’t the “hot vegetable” doesn’t mean I will stop using it.

Industry Profile: Kate Ansay of Ansay International
Relationships are at the heart of the insurance and real estate businesses Kate Ansay’s grandfather, Adolph, and father, Mike, built in Ozaukee County. They’re also the how and why Kate Ansay, with her background in urban planning, got into the beer and wine importing business.

The Knick’s Sweet Potato Gnocchi
Attached to the historic Knickerbocker on the Lake hotel, The Knick is just a walk away from Milwaukee’s downtown district. Along with running daily specials to test out new dishes, The Knick also changes the menu a few times a year to bring in flavors of the season. This fall, that seasonal dish is a sweet potato gnocchi.
Culinary Delights
We live in a city with dozens of great restaurants, but what exactly defines a “foodie experience”? Which restaurants offer something truly memorable? Here we round up five experiences to try this winter.

Industry Profile: George Gaspar and Sari Schiff of The Bacon Co.
Entrepreneurs and business partners Sari Schiff and George Gaspar were working on an international health care initiative when Schiff started telling Gaspar about these succulent, melt-in-your-mouth bacon sandwiches that were unlike any she had ever tasted ­— and how she thought they could bring them to Milwaukee.

Embracing Simplicity
Can you get a delicious dish with only six ingredients or fewer (not including salt or pepper, of course)? Just a handful of well-chosen, high-quality ingredients in the hands of an able chef become sublime dishes — craveable cuisine that embraces simplicity.

Zesti’s Greek-style Meatball
Located in downtown Hartland, Zesti is chef/owner Michael Feker’s dream of celebrating the cuisines and cultures that infused his culinary background brought to life. An industrial-chic interior, complete with rustic, wood beams overhead and a Cream City brick wall, exudes warmth and coziness, creating an inviting atmosphere, and the seasonally inspired menu transports guests to every corner of the globe.

Industry Profile: Jennifer and Jason Gorman of the Ambassador Hotel
Jennifer and Jason Gorman make a formidable team. This married couple recently took over the entire food and beverage operations of the Ambassador Hotel. The culinary powerhouse didn’t just tweak the menus and call it a day — they started the concepts from scratch to create entirely new entities, transforming the lackluster Envoy into the energetic The Fitz, the ho-hum Envoy Lounge into the Gin Rickey, and the old breakfast café into the craveable Deco.
Stilt House’s Bacon Brie Burger
Steps away from the Ozaukee Interurban Trail, the Stilt House beckons bicyclists, tourists and locals alike with its cozy charm, unpretentious menu and 31 rotating beers on tap. Many of its offerings, such as the excellent grilled romaine salad, feature just a few ingredients prepared simply but expertly. Visit the Cedarburg gastropub, and the welcoming staff will tell you the story of its unique name.

Industry Profile: Justin Winkler of Stella Van Buren
Justin Winkler is no relation to the actor who played the Fonz, but since becoming the opening executive chef for Stella Van Buren, the Italian steakhouse at The Westin Milwaukee, the question has come up. This classically trained, Culinary Institute of America grad has worked in upscale hotels and resorts across the country, most recently at the helm of Clearwater Beach Marriott Suites on Sand Key in Florida.

Dish of the Month: Wy’East Pizza’s Deschiutto Pie
Like many of the pies on Wy’East’s menu, the deschiutto is named for a landmark within the Cascade Range. “The name ‘deschiutto’ is a play off of the Deschutes River and (the word) prosciutto,” explains Ann Brock, who co-owns the pizzeria with her husband, James Durawa.

Better Butterscotch
Butterscotch. It’s not just the flavor of those rock-hard candies your granny keeps in a bowl on her coffee table, next to her plastic-covered couch. Several local chefs have transformed this old-fashioned flavor in delicious new ways. Here are some of our favorites.

Dish of the Month: Ono Kine Grindz’s Saimin
As if the tender kalua pulled pork and sweet carrot-pineapple slaw weren’t enough reason to stop at Ono Kine Grindz, the East Tosa restaurant also serves a Hawaiian version of ramen called saimin. “It literally means ‘little noodles’ — ‘min’ is noodle, ‘sai’ is little,’” says co-owner David Lau.
INDUSTRY PROFILE: Pat McQuillan and Evan Hughes of Central Standard Craft Distillery
An idea scribbled on the back of a bar napkin led friends Evan Hughes, publisher of Draft Magazine, and Pat McQuillan, a former banker, to found Milwaukee’s second craft distillery. The idea came in 2012, the distillery opened its doors in 2014, and now, just three years later, the partners are moving production from Walker’s Point to 2330 W. Clybourn St., but they’re keeping the original distillery open for tastings and test batches.

DISH OF THE MONTH: Braise’s Steamed Pork Buns
The availability of fresh produce surges in the summer, making healthier options less difficult to come by when dining out, but there are certain dishes worth indulging in, like Braise’s steamed pork buns. “They’re a staple,” says Matt Plummer, Braise’s chef de cuisine. “A go-to item for any newcomers, and all of our regulars like them too.”

Fests For Foodies
Our beloved City of Festivals kicks off its 2017 season this month, and we’d be lying if the indulgent festival fare, from deep-fried favorites to internationally inspired bites, didn’t excite us almost as much as the festivals themselves. Tantalize your taste buds and prep your tummy for what lies ahead here.

Summer may be the best season in southeastern Wisconsin, and it’s hard to do better than a sunny afternoon spent lakeside. Port Washington charms with its lake views and farm-to-table restaurant Twisted Willow, where executive chef James Flatley takes great care to design dishes that look as good as they taste.

Maxim’s creates new specials, unique food offerings to keep them coming back for more
OCONOMOWOC — Stepping into Maxim’s at Oconomowoc Depot may feel like taking a step back in time, but ordering off the menu feels current thanks to the updates made by new general managers Ross and Kayla Bukatz.

Sisters and business partners Marija and Vesna Madunic own Gracious Events, Wauwatosa’s Firefly and their newest venture, Kindred restaurant on KK. The two savvy women sat down at a just-arrived table at Kindred, as furniture and final design touches were being installed, to talk about family and food and sharing a space with Kinn, Bay View’s brand-new, eight-room micro-hotel.
DISH OF THE MONTH: Clean and Crisp
Old is new again at Belfr Kitchen in downtown Delafield. Housed within a building constructed in 1868 as a Presbyterian church, the decidedly modern Lake Country restaurant opened last October after nearly six months of renovations.
Feel Good Eats
During the first Milwaukee Black Restaurant Week (MBRW), my husband and I entered a happily bustling Irie Zulu, a new Wauwatosa restaurant serving African and Jamaican food in the space that previously housed the long-standing Kay’s Bridal Shop.
“The place is designed to feel like you came to our house for dinner,” says Jason Tofte, co-owner with his wife, Cristina, of Tofte’s Table in downtown Waukesha. A mix of Mason jars, crystal wine glasses and antique serving utensils plus the pair’s regular table visits to chat with guests lend a relaxed atmosphere to the elegant space painted deep purple.
Smoke and Bitters
If you want to feel like Ernest Hemingway enjoying a cocktail after a day of writing in 1930s Spain, check out Vermutería 600, the aptly named vermouth bar at the brand-new Hotel Madrid in Walker’s Point.
Setting the table
Understanding Milwaukee’s food culture — both past and present — requires a brief look back at the city’s history and the heritage of its people.

The idea was simple: Create a blend of spices for foolproof potato salad that anyone could use. But there was a catch: Use no additives or preservatives, and still feature shelf stability. Professional pilot Alan Swan and his wife, Laura, who works in corporate retail, achieved their goal, and together, they’re now expanding CJ’s Premium Spices, looking to reach more home and commercial cooks.

There once was a collaborative kitchen in the neighborhood of Bay View whose chefs devised a multicourse meal every year on Halloween. One year each course burst forth from a different seed of inspiration: its own dark fairy tale compiled by the Brothers Grimm.

Industry Profile: Anne Marie Arroyo and Tamela Greene of Moxie
Tamela Greene and her wife, Anne Marie Arroyo, named their new restaurant Moxie, but they could have easily called it Serendipity, as the divine seems to have touched them at almost every step of their path to restaurant entrepreneurship.

DISH OF THE MONTH: Sourcing Elegance
When Ristorante Bartolotta opened its doors nearly 25 years ago, many Milwaukeeans flocked to the Tuscan-charmed restaurant in search of spaghetti and meatballs, says Jana Michaelis, creative director of The Bartolotta Restaurants. “People couldn’t fathom that Italian food was this elegant, rustic thing,” she adds.

Industry Profile: Bryan Phillips
Bryan Phillips leads an adventurous life. From apprenticing under James Beard star Sandy D’Amato and opening Wauwatosa’s Le Reve to feeding race pros as the executive chef for IndyCar, Phillips’ chef career has been anything but boring. His latest endeavor is starting his own food truck, Foxfire, with Maggie Reid, his girlfriend and business partner.

Chicken Out
In Lindsay Heights, there are a lot of flexitarians, so a lot of people don’t eat pork or beef but will eat chicken without batting an eye,” says Caitlin Cullen, chef at The Tandem. To that end, she offers three options: a Dominican-style roasted chicken for health-conscious diners; Georgia fried, which she explains is a traditional fried chicken; and spicy, Memphis-style fried chicken, pictured here.

Dinner & A Show
Dining out is a mainstay form of entertainment, but for some restaurants, the kitchen really is the show, with chefs slicing, dicing, searing and frying right in front of diners. Five local chefs discuss the pleasures — and the perils — of cooking onstage.

Restaurant Roundup
Trendy sushi bowls, gourmet sandwiches and a restaurant within a restaurant.

Berry Delicious
It’s no secret that Blue’s Egg, with its charming retro atmosphere, is a treat for brunch. Get to the west side restaurant early, or plan for a long wait. That said, you’ll forget about any delay you may have endured when the first taste of what you order hits your tongue.

Rapt In Dough
A little over a year ago, La Masa Empanada Bar brought a simple yet brilliant concept to Brady Street: a menu focused on the Latin American-style turnovers of golden-baked pastry filled with savory or sweet ingredients.

Shaken or Stirred?
With her ninth book, “Drink Like a Woman,” out now, M’s longtime food and drink writer, Jeanette Hurt, talks cocktails, the history of women in bartending and the value of homemade simple syrup.

Soulful Sweetness
When the leaves have turned and there’s a chill in the air, the delicate pastries and ice-cold sorbets of summers past are not what we crave. Instead we want something hearty and warm, something that comforts the body and the soul — something like bread pudding.

Chef Spotlight
Heather Terhune was a foodie before the term "foodie" was ever coined. She pursued a culinary career with enthusiasm, garnering both an undergraduate degree in agriculture and restaurant/hotel management from the University of Missouri (Columbia) and a culinary degree from the New England Culinary Institute, and she’s never looked back. 
Bar bites
Historically, bar snacks in Wisconsin were simple affairs. Popcorn, chips, beef jerky. Maybe pizza or burgers if there was an actual kitchen.
Flavor File
The highly anticipated DanDan, a restaurant owned and operated by Dan Jacobs and Dan Van Rite, opened in late July, offering what Jacobs refers to as an "updated approach" to Chinese cuisine.
Chef Spotlight
Australia-born and Carolina-bred Matt Kerley came to Milwaukee via San Francisco. This talented, young chef had been making a name for himself, earning rave reviews at Radius, but he moved to Milwaukee so his son could grow up near relatives. 
Healthful blends
It was the watermelon juice that did it. Maanaan and JoAnne Sabir’s son, Taj, was born with a genetic condition, ectodermal dysplasia, and for the first five years of his life, he was in and out of hospitals and on and off antibiotics.
Putting the 'scon in scones
Craving a decadent, dessert-like scone? This one’s for you, with chocolate chunks and silky caramel served rustic style. Colectivo, various locations,
Veg out
Milwaukeeans are meat eaters. We top our bloody mary cocktails with mini cheeseburgers, we add bacon to our grilled cheese sandwiches, and we take our sausages (bratwursts or otherwise) very seriously. Many area restaurants recognize and embrace our carnivore-like tendencies, paying little attention to their menus’ vegetarian options. 
Chef Spotlight
For as long as Kady Gibowski can remember, she wanted to be a chef. "Instead of watching cartoons, I was watching cooking shows on Channel 10," quips the Newburg native. 
Mac it up
It’s a pretty basic dish — just cheese, cream and pasta — but that old childhood staple takes on new flavor combinations when in the hands of talented chefs.
Chef Spotlight: Darin Yenter - Juniper 61
Now the executive chef of Juniper 61 in Wauwatosa, Darin Yenter began working at Juniper four years ago as a line cook. Within the first year, he moved through all the stations and became sous chef, and then, two years ago, he took over the kitchen as executive chef.
The Bibimbop bowl
A signature Korean dish, bibimbop is traditionally served in a bowl of warm white rice, topped with various vegetables, chili pepper paste and soy sauce, and finished with a raw egg and sliced meat.
Chef Spotlight
Chef Robert Klemm cooked with local ingredients before the locavore movement was in vogue. He opened Café Industri in Walker’s Point before Second Street became "restaurant row," and he was the opening chef for the Ale Asylum Riverhouse in downtown Milwaukee. 
Toast points
Fancied up breads and spreads
Flavorful Versatility
In the spirit of our wellness issue, this month’s dish — Engine Company No. 3’s patacon con huevo — is not only vegetarian, but also inherently gluten-free and can be easily adjusted to be made fully vegan. 
Pass the condiment, please
The area’s leading burger joints are skipping the ketchup and mustard, instead accenting their patties with more unusual spreads and sauces
Inventive twists on dining
Launched last February, Wolf Peach’s large format dining is the brainchild of owner Gina Gruenewald. Gruenewald tasked executive chef Cole Ersel with developing four large format options, and each dish is served family-style, accommodating six to eight diners.
A fresher feeling
Rather than making eating healthy a short-lived New Year’s resolution, head to Brookfield-based Cafe Manna, where owner Robin Kasch proves that nutrient-dense, plant-based foods can be just as satisfying (and tasty) as their processed, trans fat-filled counterparts
Chef Spotlight
Chef Rich Sweed is only 38, but this self-taught chef has spent more then 20 years professionally cooking, starting when he was 15.
Season for sparkle
It’s that sparkly, twinkly time of the year, and there’s no reason why your cocktail shouldn’t sparkle, too. Sparkle, as in sparkling wine and bubbly cocktails.
Goodbye Windy City
When Paul Bartolotta hired Chicago native Adam Siegel to work at Lake Park Bistro in 2000, Siegel saw Milwaukee as a temporary stay. "My wife is from New York," says Siegel. "I thought we would be here a year or two, blow in and blow out."
Foodie finds
Located in the Historic Third Ward, Bavette’s rotating list of meat and charcuturie options is largely derived from whole carcasses, a sustainable-friendly process that reduces waste.
Tonic time
When it comes to tonic, Nicholas Kosevich and Ira Koplowitz of Bittercube know all about this value-added drink delight. Kosevich and Koplowitz founded Bittercube in 2009 after developing, formulating and tweaking a lineup that currently consists of eight varieties of bitters. 
Not so average Nachos
My fiancé and I consider ourselves nacho connoisseurs. We’ve scoured the city in search of the tastiest take on the Mexican mainstay, and if there’s a nacho dish on the menu, it’s likely we’ve tried it. 
Chef Spotlight
Claire Menck had considered law school, but she ultimately followed her heart to become a professional chef. A chef with both an MBA and a Ph.D., that is.
Show-stopping soups
When the winds begin to howl and the temperatures begin to drop, nothing warms a person quite like a healing, soothing bowl of soup.
Keep it simple
There’s a certain sense of simplicity found in authentic Italian food. The ingredients, often locally sourced, combine in a way that presents a flavor profile bursting with richness and depth.
Belly up
An established Walker’s Point gem, Crazy Water is teeny tiny, but the entire space exudes warmth and coziness. 
High on the hog
Call it bacon’s upscale cousin. Pork belly, which comes from the same part of the hog as bacon, is a tasty delicacy that has local chefs and foodies swooning. As its name suggests, it does indeed come from the belly of the pig and is typically served with the skin on, which when cooked gives it a nice sear.
Modern-day Bavaria
Ever since Louis Trayer opened his Zum Deuschen Little Tavern at State and Water streets in 1837, Milwaukeeans have taken their beer drinking seriously. As early as 1843, pioneer historian James Buck recorded 138 taverns in the city — an average of one per 40 residents.
Pho real
The introduction of Vietnamese-style cuisine into the American culinary scene is a relatively recent occurrence — one prompted by the Vietnam War, when refugees immigrated to the United States in search of a better life. Its popularity has since grown, and restaurants serving traditional Vietnamese dishes like pho (a rich noodle soup) are now present in nearly every major U.S. city.
Chef spotlight
When Barkha Daily first came to the United States to attend Lakeland College in Sheboygan, she had plans to become a criminal profiler or psychologist. Instead, she ended up majoring in marketing, then earned her MBA from Alverno College, and she worked in international business for several years.
A.M. to P.M.
Founded in 1999, Anodyne Coffee Roasting Company,, now boasts three locations — the original roastery in Walker’s Point, a Bay View cafe and a stand-alone shop in the Milwaukee Public Market.
Family pheasant
These days, it seems as if the inspiration behind every dish can be attributed to one very specific moment. At Le R ve Patisserie and Café in Wauwatosa, it was the wild mushroom and rice stuffing served at a family meal (a restaurant industry term for the pre-shift meal cooked and enjoyed by the staff) that led to the creation of the French bistro cafe’s fall pheasant entree.
Chef Spotlight - Nell Benton
Very few 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. 
Sumptuous Salads
As the 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.
Restaurant row
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.
Tasty tonics
Mary 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.
Smokin' hot
Texas. 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.
Patio party
When summer 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.
Backwards Bagel
It’s not 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.
Haute dogs
For a 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 products.  
Lobbying for lobster
There are 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.
Chef Spotlight
For more 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.
Rookie chef
"Hell’s 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 dining
Walk into 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. 
A spoonful of pleasure
Warmer 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.
Chef spotlight
Talk to 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.
Deviled 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 dining
Barkha and 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.
Chef Spotlight
When the 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.
Bartenders who cook
Whether it’s 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.
The dish on dining
This East Side coffee house and wine bar, which is kitty-corner from Sanford Restaurant, serves up delicious breakfast burritos and homemade quiches.
Bloody brilliant
Burke’s most popular bloody mary, the Lazy Susan, sits on exactly what its name suggests — a Lazy Susan.
A passion for the plate
The chefs 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.
The chef's table
From the 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 innovative restaurants.
Dish on dining
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.
The Blind Horse Restaurant and Winery
The black 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.
Meet Justin Aprahamian
Justin 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.
Savvy steak houses
Paleo-dieters 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.
Vegetarian Challenge
Any 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?
Cuisine craze: What's in, What's out
Chefs know 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.
Dining in 2014
If there 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.
Strange brews
Carrots. 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 Garden."
Tasty Tutorial
It was 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.
Dish on dining
Beer, 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.
Burger blitz
Milwaukee 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.
Great dining beyond Downtown
Milwaukee 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:
Follow the three R's: Research, Read and Request
All this 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.
Dish on Dining
Barbecue, home cooking, real gastropub drinks and fare, and coffee with pizza all headline the new places that have opened these past few months.
Trending: Barrel-aged cocktails
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 Crockett.
Favorite Places within the city limits
Who doesn’t 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. 
Culinary concoctions
Area 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.
The dish on dining
At Salotto 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 Madison.

Festival Foodie Finds
The 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.
Chef Spotlight
As the 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.
Dish on dining
Just in time for summer, a new bistro, beer gastropub, creperie and bakery join the ever-expanding South Side dining scene.
Gluten-free dining
For celiacs and those who suffer gluten intolerance, dining out used to mean a plain chicken breast or burger — no bun or bread — and maybe some plain veggies.
Global influences
The sound 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. 
'A' for Ardent
Chef Justin 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.
The perfect balance
I’ve always harbored a bias for the underdog. I prefer Milwaukee to New York City. I frequent quaint neighborhood joints over expensive flashy ones.
Global flavors, Locally sourced ingredients
You don’t 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.
Super Pretzels
The humble pretzel is riding a new wave of popularity, a boon to Milwaukee’s Miller Baking Co., where pretzel products have been produced since 1920. 

Beer Hall, Stilt House and Troop Cafe
Lakefront 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.

Monday brunch
Stuffed hash browns. Apple turnover bread pudding French toast. Fried chicken and waffles. Brunch. It’s not just for Sundays anymore.
Master of mixology
They may 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.

Cafe Vocar, Wayward Kitchen, TOCHI
Chef and 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. 

Chef Speak: Andrew Miller/Executive Chef, HOM
Andrew 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 palate.

Jazz joints
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.

Pubs, 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 speakeasy.

Feed your soul
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.

Milwaukee influenced
Although 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.

Wisconsin 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.


Foodie trip
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.

Great wines for any budget
If you’re 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.

Eat Local
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.


The year in dining
The 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.

All 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," Saeng says.

Chef Spotlight: Eli Murphy/Executive Chef - Honeypie
Eli 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.

Chef 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.

Oyster Fest
Did 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 oyster bars.

'Cue fix
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.

Chef Speak: Thi Cao
Buckley’s 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.

Chef 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
Jackson’s Blue Ribbon Pub at the new Brewhouse Inn and Suites ( 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.

Unique pizza
Pizza. 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 pizzeria.

Chef Speak: Grant Slauterbeck
Grant 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.

Cider rising
Bob Purman 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.

Bay view
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,

Wine, Cakes and Spirits
"Hot 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 fine.

Gasthaus blends German classics with contemporary favorites
WAUKESHA – Weissgerber’s Gasthaus has been a prominent part of the Waukesha community for 30 years.

Downtown 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 consecutive years.
Take me out to the ball game
Whether you 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.

Fork 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 Street.

Chef Speak - Bryan Phillips
For Bryan 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.
Beer gardens
There’s 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!

BBQ, Bier, BelAir and The Bay

Flowers 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.
Chef Speak/Tyler Mader
Tyler Mader 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. 

Jazz cafe, Mexican fusion and a Milwaukee Carson's 
There seems 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
With spring’s 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 dispensers.

Taste/Chef Speak: Thomas Peschong - Executive Chef, Turner Hall
From 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.

Chef Speak/Ross Bachhuber

Odd Duck 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.

Fiesta Mexicana

Mexican 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.

Casual eats and a North Woods retreat
A new collection of casual-eats restaurants opened in late winter and early spring, ensuring there wasn’t an awkward pause in the flurry of new restaurant openings.

Chef Speak: Scott Pampuch - The Iron Horse Hotel

Scott 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 began.

The Dish: Nines at the River Club of Mequon
I 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.

The 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.

Cruisin' for cuisine
Hop 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.

The Dish/What's new in city dining: Wild Earth Cucina Italiana
Wild 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.

Milwaukee's Italian dining scene

For the 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.

Just Dessert
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?

The 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.

Chef club
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.




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