New This Month in Milwaukee Dining (April 2017)
A Scandinavian tap house, burger joint and even more new breweries joined the Milwaukee restaurant and bar scene this past month. Plus, a landmark German restaurant closes its doors.
2675 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.
A Milwaukee outpost of the Oconomowoc burger spot Crafty Cow has opened in Bay View. Located in one side of Bumstead Provisions—both restaurants are owned and operated by the same team of owners—Crafty Cow specializes in Twin Cities-style cheese-stuffed burgers called Jucy Lucys. The original Lucy ($8) is stuffed with American cheese, or you can choose from any number of variations, like the Twice Baked ($9) stuffed with white cheddar and bacon, then topped with ranch chips, bacon sour cream and caramelized onions. A portion of the menu dubbed The Great Milwaukee Project features collaboration burgers between local businesses and restaurants with proceeds going to local charities. The Southsider ($12.50), stuffed with honey goat cheese and topped with gin-pickled red onions, mushroom ragout and thick pork belly, is a collaboration between five local restaurants plus Milwaukee Record that benefits Milwaukee Community Gardens.
1111 N. Old World Third St.
Owned by the same folks as the Wisconsin Cheese Mart, Valhalla is a Scandinavian restaurant that also bills itself as a Nordic tap house. Guests can order from a small menu of snacks and sandwiches surrounded by décor of shields, helmets and paintings of very imposing looking Nordic men. Salads and pickles make up most of the snacks, but Swedish meatballs ($8) served on dumpling egg noodles also make an appearance. Smørebrød, a type of open-faced Danish sandwich, comes in six varieties, such as the skagenröra shrimp salad ($6) with creamy dill dressing. Lefse, a tortilla-like potato flatbread, is served as a platter ($8) with cinnamon sugar butter, lignonberries, honey and Nutella. Five kinds of aquavit, a liqueur made with caraway or dill, are available as a flight or in various cocktails, like the Lokitini ($9), which is shaken with lime. Beer, mead and ciders are available from Sweden, Iceland and Denmark, along with local favorites.
Broken Bat Brewing Co.
231 E. Buffalo St.
Childhood friends Tim Pauly and Dan McElwee have opened a baseball-themed brewery and sports bar in the Third Ward. The space, located on the lower level, is bright and lined with Cream City brick, TVs and a few curated sports memorabilia items. The restrooms, on the other hand, are all decked out in baseball cards in the men’s room or photos of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League in the ladies’. As for brews, IPAs are going to be their bread and butter, though other styles and seasonals will pop up from time to time. Straight Chedd Apricot IPA is brewed with apricots for a slightly sweet finish. Double Play IPA is an 8% double IPA brewed with Skyrocket and Cascade hops. Mint Condition Porter, fermented and served with fresh mint leaves, and Climb the Wall Farmhouse Ale with orange peel are available on the non-IPA front.
Westallion Brewing Company
1825 S. 72nd St.
In development since 2015, Westallion is the first brewery to open in West Allis. The beers of Erik and Kim Dorfner have been available on tap in some bars for a while now, but the brewery’s tasting room facility has only just opened. Erik has previous brewing experience, working a number of positions at Lakefront Brewery, but it was his dream to open his own brewery. Beers are named for famous West Allis residents and local events. Western Days Vienna Lager is the brewery’s flagship beer, named after a defunct annual event with parades and rodeos, and is aggressively malted. Mustang APA is heavy on Citra hops and named after the mascot of the closed West Milwaukee High School that Liberace attended. Olympic gold medal speed skater Dan Jansen even inspired the Lillehammer Gold Kölsch-style ale.
250 High St., Brookfield
BelAir Cantina has opened in The Corners of Brookfield, a mixed-use development anchored by Von Maur. This is the fifth location of the Tex-Mex restaurants in the area, with a sixth planned for Madison later this year. All locations serve up burritos, margaritas, fajitas and tacos in a variety of Mexican and international flavors.
In closings this month, Jerusalem Pastries in Greenfield and Karl Ratzsch have closed. Karl Ratzsch, a Downtown landmark for decades, survived less than a year after reopening under award-winning restaurateur Thomas Hauck. It will be greatly missed.