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Breakfast Alfresco

May. 30, 2012
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On a hot summer day, the best time to enjoy the outdoors is in the morning. Why not start with an outdoor breakfast? On weekends, you'll find no shortage of places at which to enjoy brunch while seated outside. Finding a place on a weekday, however, is a bit trickier. Here are a few choices among a growing number of options:

Café at the Plaza

1007 N. Cass St.


The décor at Café at the Plaza is all about 1920s Art Deco elegance. The heart of the café is a room featuring a classic robin's egg blue counter—this is where you'll find many of the patrons. The café's warm-weather attraction is a landscaped terrace in the Plaza Hotel's courtyard. It is a tranquil urban oasis. The morning menu includes breakfast sandwiches (think a bagel with smoked salmon), eggs Benedict with prosciutto and buttermilk pancakes. If the weather is rainy, the inside tables offer a quiet place to enjoy your breakfast.

Le Reve

7610 Harwood Ave., Wauwatosa


Le Reve, a patisserie and café that is very French in character, is located in the heart of old Wauwatosa. And what would a French café be without a few outdoor tables? Tables are lined along the wide outdoor sidewalk, under shade trees. The display cases of the patisserie are a good place to start. After all, breakfast orders must be placed at the counter. The cases have baked treats of all kinds, including simple croissants and elaborate creations that almost look too good to eat. The breakfast menu offers items like crepes and quiches. The French breakfast is a croissant with fresh fruit and a choice of coffee or orange juice. The menu also lists five different varieties of Bloody Marys. The pace here is leisurely and unhurried—just like in Paris.

Café Benelux

346 N. Broadway


Café Benelux, a relative newcomer in the Third Ward, is a prime spot for an outdoor breakfast. There are two choices for outdoor eating. The tables along the sidewalk have a roof shelter, making them usable during rain showers. But the best seats are located on the roof deck, fully out in the sun. The menu features hints of Belgium and the Netherlands. For breakfast, try the pannenkoeken, a gigantic Dutch crepe prepared in different ways. You will also find omelets, French toast, and biscuits and gravy. If you're in the mood for a drink, you can choose from one of the Bloody Marys or mimosas. Later in the day check out the Bier Book, a rather amazing list of Belgian beers.

Alterra at the Lake

1701 N. Lincoln Memorial Drive


Of Alterra's many locations offering outdoor breakfast options, the best is Alterra at the Lake. The outdoor terrace offers panoramic park and lake views. During inclement weather, you can sit inside a vintage, 19th-century Cream City brick structure. Alterra's focus is on coffee, but it also offers breakfast items that are served all day, including breakfast burritos and mini-quiches that change daily. You will also find basics like baked oatmeal and granola with milk. Baked goods like scones and croissants are available as well.

The Eatery

2014 N. Farwell Ave.


The Eatery is located in the former La Casita, one of the very first places to offer outdoor dining in Milwaukee. Seating is on a terrace a few feet above the street level, helping to block traffic noise. The breakfast menu here is extensive, including five varieties of eggs Benedict (one of which is called duck Rockefeller). Along with meat options like a steak burrito and pasta carbonara with ham are vegetarian treats, such as a tofu skillet, honey pecan porridge and a fruit plate. Those in need can order a hangover burger, a half-pound of meat loaded with toppings.

Café 1505

1505 W. Mequon Road, Mequon


Café 1505 is an ideal morning spot. The dining area features large windows that overlook the patio and its outdoor seating. No detail is too small for a menu that aims to use ingredients that are healthy and flavorful. The eggs are an organic variety raised at a farm in Plymouth, Wis. Indulge in banana pecan pancakes or perhaps the sirloin tip hash that is served on weekends. Quiche changes daily. The café also has a carryout counter that stocks many baked goods. This is always a reliable choice for food.


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