Milwaukee's Top Five Brunches
I often hear rumblings that brunch is uncouth in other parts of the country, but the tradition of not-quite-breakfast-not-quite-lunch is alive and well here in Wisconsin. Here are some of the best spots to grab brunch in Milwaukee.
500 W Florida St, Milwaukee | Map it >>
Ask a group of people what they like best for brunch, and at least a couple are going to tell you “buffet.” Whether they're indecisive, picky eaters, or just plain starving, there will always be a few brunch buffets surviving in Milwaukee. The restaurant inside the Iron Horse Hotel, Smyth, does one of the best around. They call it the Great Northern Brunch, with regional dishes from northern locations, like Maine clam chowder, Michigan blueberry crepes and Faroe Islands smoked salmon. There's also the requisite omelet, Belgian waffle, prime rib and carved ham stations—even if they don't exactly fit in the theme. What's different about this brunch buffet are the made-in-kitchen plates you can order. Tiramisu pancakes, fish tacos and corned beef hash will all come out fresh and may be enough to sway a buffet hater. Three included mimosas per person doesn't hurt either.
2457 S Wentworth St., Milwaukee | Map it >>
This little gem in Bay View is a personal favorite of mine. For dinner, they offer small and not-so-small plates at reasonable prices, plus the best cocktail menu around. On Sundays, the brunch menu is made up of a long list plates spanning from French toast sticks to a beet and cashew patty veggie burger. This isn't the place to come if you're looking for scrambled eggs and sausage links, but it's great for unusual options like Danish aebleskiver pancakes, falafel waffles, pork cheek donuts, and linguine alla carbonara—because when you think about it, that's just bacon and eggs pasta. Cocktails don't disappoint either, from the Rishi Tea-infused gin and grapefruit concoction The Earl of Bonneville to the Fix-It Gim-Lit that's served with a packet of Emergen-C, in case you're feeling a bit under the weather from the night before.
317 N 76th St., Milwaukee | Map it >>
I don't know about you, but I think brunch every day of the week is a good thing. I love that there's a few breakfast/brunch-only places around Milwaukee (now we just have to get them to serve brunch at dinner time...). Blue's Egg is at the top of the pile, which is why you'll have to wait for a table pretty much any time you show up. But that's OK, because you can grab a bloody mary at their bar while you wait. The pulled ham is not to be missed, and you can get it stuffed with cheddar inside their ridiculously good hash browns, on their classic eggs benedict, or in an omelet with gruyere and onions. Besides breakfast favorites, they serve brunch sandwiches and salads after 11a.m., with options like egg salad on challah, roasted turkey with bacon in naan, and an avocado salad with oranges.
4401 W Greenfield Ave., West Milwaukee | Map it >>
Another spot that serves up brunch every day until early afternoon is Mad Rooster near Miller Park. The décor here is a little over the top, but everything I've tried has been worth dealing with any possible eye strain and crowds. The portions are huge; they somehow make three egg omelets look like six egg omelets. Stuffed French toast is a sweets lover's dream with Bavarian crème filling, cream cheese drizzle, fresh berries and whipped cream. For something a little healthier, try their homemade Greek yogurt served in a half pineapple with fruit, granola and honey. Many options are Mexican inspired, like the Mad morning tacos with scrambled eggs, chicken chorizo, avocado and salsa ranchero. If you're looking for a spicy brunch, this could be your place.
217 W National Ave. | Map it >>
Engine Company 3 is the sister restaurant to La Merenda, a popular global tapas restaurant, so it makes perfect sense that their menu is inspired by flavors from all over the world. Just a quick glance at their menu reveals dishes from Denmark, France, South Africa, Hungary and Columbia. That means if you're brunching in a group, everyone will be happy. The menu is divided into sweet and savory sections, with various pancakes, French toast, yogurt and a hot rice pudding with Rishi masala chai and chutney. One of the most popular dishes—and the one ordered by President Obama when he visited last year—is patacon con huevo, a Columbian dish of fried smashed plantains, cilantro rice and beans, fresh tomato sauce and fried egg. For all the fellow bloody mary fans out there, try their El Bombero made with tequila, homemade bloody mix and chipotle puree.
Upcoming Beer and Dining Events
Jan. 17: 3rd Sign Beer Dinner at Erv's Mug. Four courses paired with 3rd Sign beer. Tickets are $40.
Jan. 19: Good Land Orange Liqueur Release Party and Dinner at Great Lakes Distillery. Cocktails, free samples and a 3-course meal with pairings featuring GLD's newest release. Tickets for the dinner are $45.
Jan. 21: Czar Brew and Commando Release Party at Sprecher Brewery in Glendale. Try the 2-year bourbon barrel-aged beers before everyone else. Available in the tap room at in 4 packs.
Read more dining-related lists here.