Casual Dining in Whitefish Bay
The Bay Restaurant serves American fare seven days a week
By The Bay, For The Bay. This is The Bay Restaurant’s tagline and surely it practices what it preaches. Nestled next to the Fox Bay Cinema Grill on Whitefish Bay’s “Main Street” of East Silver Spring Drive, The Bay is a comfortable and casual restaurant with an authentic neighborhood vibe. It serves eclectic American fare for lunch and dinner, seven days a week.
Having recently completed its sophomore year in business, The Bay seems to have a true symbiotic relationship with the community. Indeed, fewer eyebrows rise nowadays when hearing the term “locally sourced ingredients” (it’s practically expected), but The Bay takes it to a new level. For instance, bread comes from next-door neighbor Breadsmith and fresh ground beef for the hand-formed burgers from the corner store (literally), Sendik’s Food Market. French fries are prepared with a batter featuring Brew City Beer and the drink menu is well hydrated with Wisconsin businesses, from Sprecher to Colectivo to Rishi.
Lunch and dinner menus are similar; both feature familiar categories of sandwiches, salads, pizza, wraps and burgers (with the addition of larger entrées at dinner). Speaking of burgers—they’re good here. Among the seven varieties served at any given time, all of them grilled, the Baystack burger ($11) was a winner, topped with cheddar, onion rings and creamy onion dip. Afterwards, I was left wondering, why aren’t we putting onion dip on more stuff?
The veggie burger ($9) was unexpectedly impressive. I get excited when kitchens put in a true effort toward offering high-quality, plant-based proteins. This burger is prepared with black beans, quinoa, bell peppers, mushrooms, onions and spices, finished with garlic mayonnaise and traditional burger fixings. The result was hearty yet tender, equally as flavorful as the meat version, not to mention a refreshing change of pace. The B.L.A.T. ($8) is one of the more unfortunately sequenced acronyms, but it makes for a pretty decent sandwich. Nothing groundbreaking here—just simple, quality ingredients of bacon, lettuce and tomato with the additional avocado on toasted fresh bread. What’s not to like?
Daily soups ($3-$5) vary from vegan dal to shrimp chowder. Chili is served every day and has mostly good qualities: chunky, beany, meaty, tomatoey…except hot. And I don't mean spicy.
The salmon salad ($11.50) was a satisfying juxtaposition of health and indulgence. Baby spinach, roasted beets, grapefruit and orange segments topped a perfectly cooked salmon fillet served with a creamy horseradish dressing. The roasted vegetable platter ($8) was heavy on veggie variety but unfortunately lacked the caramelization and seasoning that distinguishes roasted vegetables from baked. The veggie pieces were cut quite small, which means they wouldn’t stand much oven time to properly roast to their full potential and color before overcooking. The red pepper dipping sauce, however, was great.
As far as desserts go, all offerings are traditional and classic. Simply put, the tiramisu ($5) is excellent and one of the best I’ve had.
The Bay not only supports local merchants it also supports local musicians. It hosts live music every Thursday night (and sometimes other nights). Check the establishment’s Facebook page for updates.
342 E. Silver Spring Drive