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Retail Food & Drink

2014 Best of Milwaukee Winners

Nov. 11, 2014
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sprechersoda

Beer Selection
Liquor Store
Wine Selection

Discount Liquor

Multiple Locations

discountliquorinc.com

Looking for a good Dutch beer or wine from the Balkans? A liquor store with its own shopping carts is obviously intended as a place where drinkers can stock up. For many years Discount Liquor has been a one-stop supermarket for all things alcoholic. Its narrow aisles are stocked with game-day staples, along with beer and wine from all over the world, liqueurs in many flavors, raki and unusual varieties of whiskey and brandy. You name it: If it’s accessible to American importers, chances are you’ll find it at Discount Liquor. And, yes, the prices are reasonable. (David Luhrssen)

 

Runners-up Beer Selection:

Woodman’s Markets

Whole Foods

 

Runners-up Liquor Store:

Ray’s Wine & Spirits

Woodman’s Markets

 

Runners-up Wine Selection:

Ray’s Wine & Spirits

Thief Wine

 

Cheese Selection

West Allis Cheese & Sausage Shoppe

Multiple locations


wacheese-gifts.com

Originally a small cheese shop in the middle of a residential neighborhood on the edge of “Stallis,” West Allis Cheese & Sausage Shoppe has expanded to include a location in the Milwaukee Public Market. Both locations sell local and imported cheeses, fresh cheese curds, summer sausage and Wisconsin-themed gifts. If you need a snowman-shaped block of cheese and some port salut, this is the place for you. A full deli and sandwich menu is also available. (Lacey Muszynski)

 

Runners-up:

Whole Foods

Wisconsin Cheese Mart

 

Chocolatier

Indulgence Chocolatiers

Multiple Locations

indulgencechocolatiers.com

Julie Waterman fell in love with Europe’s quaint chocolate boutiques while backpacking through Ireland, England, Belgium, Germany, Spain, Portugal and Italy on her honeymoon, inspiring her to launch Indulgence Chocolatiers in 2007. Indulgence is loved by Milwaukeeans for its signature line of velvety, rich, sweet-but-not-cloying hand-rolled truffles and other handcrafted chocolaty treats. Found in stores all over the Milwaukee area and also available online, this chocolatier has hit the sweet spot. (Amanda Sullivan)

 

Runners-up:

Red Elephant Chocolate

Freese’s Candy Shoppe

 

Farmers Market

West Allis Farmers Market

6501 W. National Ave. 

414-302-8600

westalliswi.gov/?nid=201

Started in 1919, the West Allis Farmers Market is a produce lover’s dream. It runs May through Thanksgiving three days a week, though Saturdays are the busiest, especially in late summer and fall, when local harvests are at peak. Late risers will appreciate the weekend 1 p.m. opening time, which allows for produce to be gathered that morning. While fresh produce makes up the majority of goods for sale, plants, flowers, fresh beef, eggs, honey, tamales and bakery are also regularly available. Grab a Sciortino’s grilled Italian sausage and make an afternoon of it. (L.M.)  

 

Runners-up:

South Shore Farmers Market

Tosa Farmers Market

 

Fish Market

St. Paul’s Fish Company

400 N. Water St.

414-220-8383

stpaulfish.com

To find St. Paul’s, simply enter the Milwaukee Public Market and make for the giant, inflatable crab. This frequent Best Of winner features both an impressive case of fresh fish and seafood, and a dine-in option with daily specials. The former includes everything from monkfish to stone crab, as well as an oyster bar. Visit on Monday for a great special on mussels, Wednesday for king crab, Friday for Lake Perch fish fry or any day of the week for a lobster dinner. (Selena Milewski)

 

Runners-up:

Empire Fish

Whole Foods

 

Grocery—Ethnic
Grocery—Gourmet

Glorioso’s Italian Market

1011 E. Brady St.

414-272-0540

gloriosos.com

I asked Manager Felix Glorioso to show me his gourmet items. He pretty much showed me the whole store, starting with truffle cheese. Glorioso’s Italian Market sells 600 different cheeses; 80% are imported from Italy and the rest are mostly local artisanal cheeses. There are 70 varieties of olive oil, 30 varieties of balsamic vinegar, 40 kinds of olives and seven varieties of daily made sausage. Pastas: fresh, frozen (ravioli, tortellini, gnocchi) or dry; three varieties of San Marzano tomatoes; Baci chocolate fortune cookies; calia (roasted chickpeas); semenza (pumpkin seeds); candy-covered cinnamon; pine nuts for pesto; healthy Balocco Italian cookies; panettone (fruit cake) and the heavier panforte; coffee; wines; and delicious goat cheese gelato. Customer-assembled gourmet gift boxes are available, as are party trays and catering. (John Schneider)

 

Runners-up Grocery—Ethnic:

El Rey

G. Groppi Food Market

 

Runners-up Grocery—Gourmet:

Whole Foods

Outpost Natural Foods

 

Grocery—Natural Foods

Outpost Natural Foods

Multiple locations

414-431-3377

outpost.coop

For more than 40 years, Outpost Natural Foods has offered a diverse array of healthy products, a large percentage of which are FDA-certified organic and locally grown, as well as natural. “Natural,” for the record, means free of artificial colors, flavors, preservatives and sweeteners. In a world of commercial supermarkets and GMO crops, Outpost is a gem of the Milwaukee food scene. Last May, the co-op proudly opened its fourth location in Mequon, and it also operates two Market Cafés in Aurora Sinai Hospital and Rite-Hite Family YMCA. (S.M.)


Runners-up:

Whole Foods

Beans & Barley

 

Meat Selection

Ray’s Butcher Shoppe

4640 W. Loomis Road

414-423-1322

raysbutchershoppe.com

If you’re looking for the freshest meat around, visit Ray’s Butcher Shoppe. The long, well-lit, meat case is stocked with nearly every cut of beef, pork and poultry. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, they’ll cut it custom for you. Ray’s also sells multiple varieties of homemade sausages, beef jerky and beef sticks. As if that’s not enough, you can even find seafood and fresh bakery! Add a nice wine selection and a small grocery section, and you can get everything to make a great dinner. (Susan Harpt Grimes)

 

Runners-up:

Bunzel’s Old-Fashioned Meat Market

Whole Foods


Milwaukee-Made Cupcake

Classy Girl Cupcakes

825 N. Jefferson St.

414-270-1877

classygirlcupcakes.com

Classy Girl Cupcakes offers customers more than 25 unique cupcake creations baked fresh from scratch each day. In addition to providing traditional flavors like vanilla bean, Ghirardelli chocolate and red velvet, Classy Girl also offers customizable orders of vegan and gluten-free cupcakes. Classy Girl also has many cupcake-based treats unique to this small, trendy bakery, including cupcake push pops, cupcake bombs, cheesecake cupcakes and a variety of cupcakewiches. Owners of Classy Girl utilize cupcakes as a canvas for dozens of delicious, daily creations. (Maddy Kennedy)

 

Runners-up:

Miss Cupcake

Miss Julia’s Bake Shop

 

Milwaukee-Made Soda

Sprecher Brewing Company

701 W. Glendale Ave.

414-964-2739

sprecherbrewery.com

Sprecher sodas are a true Milwaukee classic. Though best known for its root beer, the brewery also makes specialty flavors like Grape, Orange Dream and Cherry Cola year round and seasonals such as Red Apple and Blueberry. The company also offers a lo-cal root beer as well as a hard root beer perfect for a grown-up root beer float. Sprecher uses Wisconsin-sourced ingredients in its sodas whenever possible, including Indian Summer honey, Roland Ginseng and Door County’s Country Ovens cherries. (A.S.)

 

Runners-up:

Black Bear

Lakefront Brewery Root Beer

Milwaukee Brewing Company Root Beer

 

Neighborhood Bakery

Peter Sciortino’s Bakery

1101 E. Brady St.

414-272-4623

petersciotinosbakery.com

The heavenly aroma reaches me across the street where I stand with my dogs. I admire the beautiful building on the corner of Brady Street and Humboldt Avenue that is Sciortino’s Bakery. There’s a little alley in back with dumpsters where my dogs insist on pulling me, where they’re blessed with a bite of day-old bread. The other day I went inside. What’s new? Specialty breads: sundried tomato with asiago cheese and raisin-walnut. What’s new-ish? Homemade frozen pizzas, specialty cakes and a cupcake frosted like a monster. What’s old? Divinely inspired cookies, sublime breads, rolls and breadsticks, angelic cream puffs, éclairs, tiramisu and cassata, and luscious gelatos. (J.S.)

 

Runners-up:

Rocket Baby Bakery

Natural Ovens Bakery

 

Paczki

National Bakery & Deli

Multiple locations

nationalbakery.com

No need to wait for Fat Tuesday. Every day is paczki day at National Bakery & Deli. It’s always the right time to bite into a sugared or glazed donut loaded with prune, raspberry or raisin filling. Who cares if it’s messy or fattening? It’s a tradition. (L.K.)

 

Runners-up:

Grebe’s Bakery

Canfora Bakery

 

Produce Selection

Sendik’s Food Market

Multiple Locations

sendiksmarket.com

Since the earliest days of Sendik’s, dating back to 1926, when business was conducted from a wagon, quality produce has always been a priority for this local grocery chain. Luscious fresh fruits and colorful vegetables of all varieties are readily available year round. Sendik’s strives to stock the best, often locally grown, products whenever possible. The resulting supply of verdant fruits and veggies tempts customers to load up on healthy foods. Don’t forget to pick up some fresh squeezed OJ—few things are better than a glass of Sendik’s “liquid sunshine” to start your day. (S.H.G.)

 

Runners-up:

Whole Foods

Outpost Natural Foods

 

Sausage Shop

Usinger’s Famous Sausage

1030 N. Old World Third St.

414-276-9100

usinger.com

Shopping at Usinger’s is like stepping back in time. Located in the same building as the manufacturing plant that has been there since the beginning of time (OK, actually 1880), you’re immediately struck by the murals lining the walls, carved wooden clocks and signs, and long marble counters. Once you refocus yourself, you’ll have myriad sausages and other meat products to choose from, including the famous bratwurst and some rare specialties that only the shop carries. (L.M.)

 

Runners-up:

West Allis Cheese & Sausage Shoppe

Scardina Specialties

Whole Foods

 

Wedding Cake Designer

Simma’s Bakery

817 N. 68th St.

414-257-0998

simmasbakery.com

Cakes are the sweetest part of any wedding. So it should be no surprise that Simma’s Bakery, known for its highly acclaimed cheesecake and other sweet treats, tops Milwaukee brides’ lists for wedding cakes. Simma’s classic cheesecake is made up of chocolate cake on the bottom, a layer of raspberry filling, the creamy cheesecake layer and a decadent final layer of chocolate ganache. Of course there are variations and other cake options too, but the cheesecake is to die for. (S.H.G.)

 

Runners-up:

National Bakery & Deli

Aggie’s Cakes and Pastries

Poll

Given his political beliefs and past comments about women, is Judge Neil Gorsuch too out of touch with the mainstream to serve on the Supreme Court?

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