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Milwaukee Essentials

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Apr. 9, 2010
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Leon’s Frozen Custard Drive-In

3131 S. 27th St.

(414) 383-1784


Far from those faux-’50s diners insulting the landscape, Leon’s Drive-In, family-owned since 1942, is the genuine article. Time and fresh-made custard are frozen at this renowned South Side landmark, allegedly the inspiration for the Arnold’s Drive-In set on the TV show “Happy Days.” President Bill Clinton famously stopped in for a cone in the 1990s. Wash down one (or more) of their delicious chili dogs with a tall root beer float for the full experience. In keeping with the retro style, it’s cash only. (Brian Muilenburg)

Peter Sciortino’s Bakery

1101 E. Brady St.

(414) 272-4623


The inviting aroma inside Peter Sciortino’s means there are many reasons to visit one of Milwaukee’s favorite bakeries. Topping the list has always been the cannoli. The Sciortino’s version consists of an amply proportioned, crispy, powder-sugared shell filled with thick cream and a layer of chocolate rounded out with cherries on either end. A flourishing reminder of Brady Street’s Italian heritage, Sciortino’s Bakery is an asset to the old neighborhood as well as a destination for people who love good bread, cookies and cakes. (David Luhrssen)

Sprecher Root Beer

701 W. Glendale Ave.

(414) 964-2739


You haven’t tasted root beer until you’ve downed a frosted mug of the soda from Glendale’s Sprecher Brewery, which produces numerous sodas and microbrews. Pure Wisconsin honey is kettle-fired along with a secret batch of botanicals and vanilla to create this popular, award-winning soft drink. If in town over the weekend, make sure to tour the brewery to see Old World brewing traditions firsthand—and sample the root beer at the source. (B.M.)


1030 N. Old World

Third St.

(414) 276-9105


If beer made Milwaukee famous, then Usinger’s brats made Milwaukee full. Located on Old World Third Street and more than a century old, Usinger’s has perfected a Wisconsin favorite. Recently featured on “Appetite for Life” with Andrew Zimmern, these brats are rising to the top in the food world. Need a gift? Usinger’s delivers. But the store itself is only a quick drive away—and well worth the trip. (Emilee Weier)

Wisconsin Cheese Mart

1048 N. Old World

Third St.

(414) 272-3544


Despite living in an artisanal age when ordinary, mass-produced cheese has fallen out of favor with foodies, Wisconsinites will never lose their loyalty to the all-mighty cheese curd. Curds are the freshest form of the cheese, separated from the whey but not yet pressed into shapes for aging. Because they are best enjoyed within a day of their making, cheese curds are most often found in regions where cheese is made. Located on Old World Third Street in Downtown Milwaukee since 1938, The Wisconsin Cheese Mart boasts “the world’s largest selection” of Wisconsin-made cheese, including the pride of Dairyland, cheese curds. (Sarah Biondich)

Photo: Leon’s | by Skiba Photography


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