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Food with a View

2013 Summer Guide

May. 23, 2013
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Take advantage of the season and enjoy the food at these lakefront establishments. Some are only open in summer and offer foods meant to be eaten outside. Others, operating year-round, offer some of their most spectacular views of the lake during the summer months.


Alterra at the Lake

1701 N. Lincoln Memorial Drive



Once the Milwaukee River Flushing Station, now a hub of lakefront activity, Alterra's lakefront location has a patio with a view. The historic Cream City brick building gained new life in 2002 when Alterra opened up the lakefront's lone coffee house. Sitting at the crossroads of Lafayette Hill Road and Lincoln Memorial Drive, this is a perfect place to watch Lake Michigan come to life. Enjoy an iced coffee or a refreshing smoothie, relax and take in the cooling lake breeze. Be sure to check out the free live music—the Latin Music Series and Florentine at the Lake Opera Series—that takes place on alternating Thursday nights at 7 p.m. all summer long. (Susan Harpt Grimes)


Harbor House

550 N. Harbor Drive



Harbor House enjoys incredible views of the Calatrava addition of the Milwaukee Art Museum from its prime lakefront location, an apt spot for a seafood restaurant. This is the place for Scottish salmon, Hawaiian swordfish and plump Maine lobster. The restaurant also offers a fine raw bar with seats that do not require reservations. Top Neck clams are briny and utterly fresh. The oyster selection, which changes daily, is unrivaled in this area. (Jeff Beutner)


Lake Park Bistro

3133 E. Newberry Blvd.



The setting could hardly be better, perched on top of the Lake Park bluff overlooking Lake Michigan. Tables for two line the windows. The French menu includes items like Dover sole meunière and filet mignon au poivre. The exceptional wine list even offers a 1995 Krug "Clos Du Mesnil" Brut Blanc de Blancs, which will run just $1,300 for a bottle. Fortunately, other selections are much less expensive. Lake Park Bistro is the choice for an enjoyable date. (J.B.)


North Point Snack Bar

2272 N. Lincoln Memorial Drive



My dad was no cook. Caramel malts were his delight. He liked them heavy on the malt and sauce. We had them often. I'm an addict now. I empty my pockets of cash before making the walk along the north shore beaches with my dogs on good-weather days. Otherwise, I know I won't resist the North Point Snack Bar's caramel malts, as rich and absolutely satisfying as my dad's. I'm guessing chocolate lovers feel a similar elation. Every customary custard treat is there, along with all you'd ask for from a grill. There's also wine, beer, picnic tables and the lakefront. (John Schneider)


Point Fish Fry & A Flick

500 N Harbor Drive



For those who mourn the decline of the drive-in movie theater, the Friday evening Fish Fry & A Flick goes a long way toward filling the void. No cars involved here though, just a huge screen, a companionable crowd and the beautiful lake as a backdrop to all. Come early for the tasty Bartolotta fish fry or sample from the multitude of food trucks. Wash it all down with some cold Point beer and enjoy the show. Typically, the movies shown (for free!) are, or are destined to become, cult classics. In the past, films have ranged from The Big Lebowski to Bridesmaids. Keep in mind, this is not billed as a family event—most films have an R rating, so this can make for a pleasurable and reasonably priced date night. (S.H.G.)


South Shore Café

2300 E. Nock St.


Wedged between the parking lot abutting the South Shore Marina and a narrow strand of beach, the South Shore Café is a memory of more innocent summers from long ago. The clapboard hut, painted in sun-bleached shades of blue and white, serves Greek-American food from a window counter to cyclists, hikers and boaters, who feast on the carry-out kabobs, brats, hotdogs and gyros at the surrounding picnic benches as seagulls wheel overhead and cabin cruisers bob at the dockside. (David Luhrssen)


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