The Best Restaurants in West Allis
This is part #1 of a 2 part series. Read the rest of the list here.
I grew up in Milwaukee, just a few blocks from the border of West Allis. I spent a lot of time there as a kid, so it holds a nostalgic place in my heart. Now, as an adult, I'm always confounded when I hear people dismiss 'Stallis, especially when it comes to restaurants. There's a huge diversity of cuisines available and you can be assured that everywhere you go is about as unpretentious and relaxed as it gets. And since there are so many places I love, I'm splitting this list into two parts. Here is my ode to 'Stallis, part one.
7420 W. Greenfield Ave.
This BBQ spot in downtown West Allis often gets overlooked, but it's got smoked meats to rival the best pits in the city. Brisket, ribs and pork are all tasty, but my go to are the chicken wings. The skin may not be crisp like a fried wing, but the fat is slowly rendered out in the smoker, making them deliciously sticky and tender. Cocktails here are simple but with complex flavors thanks to their house-infused bourbons. Owner and pitmaster Mark Timber also operates Timber's BBQ truck, so look for it around town
7413 W. Greenfield Ave.
Literally right across the street from Double B's is Benno's. The bar is most widely known for its beer selection: They have 40 taps that change regularly, plus some bottles. Local beers are usually heavily represented, for instance, right now they have Third Space, Good City and City Lights all on tap, plus Ale Asylum, Point and Furthermore from elsewhere in Wisconsin. Flights and growlers are newly available too. Bring three friends and get a flight of all 40 taps. The food that comes out of the kitchen here is quite good and very inexpensive. It gets busy on Friday nights for fish fry, so plan to have a beer or two at the bar while you wait for a table.
9039 W. National Ave.
This is the best Peruvian restaurant in Milwaukee. Chef and owner Maritza Paz is from Peru and does most of the cooking for the little diner-style dining room. Peruvian cuisine has an interesting mix of influences from Spain, China and Japan, so stir fried dishes like lomo saltado with steak, tomatoes and onions in a soy-based sauce with rice are common. Seafood plays a huge role as well, so you get dishes like seafood paella with shrimp, calamari and mussels. You must order the ceviche here; it's a little different than the Mexican style you might be used to. The fish is marinated in lime and chile, then served with a pile of shaved red onion, fat corn kernals and chunks of boiled sweet potato.
6000 W. Burnham St.
Though I will always love Taqueria Buenavista's sister restaurant on Forest Home more simply because you can get a margarita there, the West Allis location is where my love for their tacos started. It's mostly a counter service operation that does a lot of takeout, but if you choose to eat in at one of the 6 or so tables, you get pure joy in the form of four salsas and chips. Head directly to the red squeeze bottle of creamy “grandma sauce,” made with jalapenos. It's hard to stray from tacos al pastor (cilantro and onions only, please) but the lengua is a good choice too. This is no frills, simple Mexican food at its finest.
7233 W. Lincoln Ave.
This was my family's gyro place of choice when I was growing up. And while the gyros are good and greasy, I'll always prefer the chicken shish kabob. White meat chicken is marinated in a lemon- and oregano-heavy sauce, then griddled with even more sauce. It makes for a juicy sandwich that kind of soaks through the pita, but for citrus freaks like I am, it's perfect. Some people swear by their burgers, but to be honest I don't think I've ever been able to tear myself away from the Greek food and the meaty fries. Grab some custard too—I've seen employees walk in the back of the restaurant with boxes of Baker's Square pies on banana cream pie day, so you know they don't cut too many corners.
1119 S. 108th St.
Alphonso's pumps out some delicious Milwaukee-style pizza. The crust always stays crunchy in the middle slices, even on the monster Heavy Chevy that includes just about every topping on the menu. If you're not into the cracker-style crust, you can get a NY-style pie, or spice things up with a flavored crust with herbs or scorpion peppers. Toasted sandwiches like meatballs and marinara or the El Diablo with grilled habanero buffalo chicken are also available. Garlic bread fans will love their version: it's baked until crisp in the pizza oven, then injected with garlic butter from a squeeze bottle.
A restaurant called Capri has sat on the corner of 84th and Beloit for decades. I have vague memories of going there as a young kid, but to be honest it wasn't worth going to very often. The restaurant was sold though, and now it's a totally different story. It's been completely remodeled (though the old sign was kept for history's sake) and it's a breath of fresh air for anyone who remembers the old place. Lasagna is the house specialty, made with meat sauce and then baked in individual dishes with a blanket of mozzarella on top. Pizzas come in Milwaukee, Chicago or pan styles and you can even pick up a take-and-bake pizza to go. The brick-surrounded patio is a nice spot in summer.
10722 W. Oklahoma Ave.
Don't be put off by this little storefront in a strip mall because in 'Stallis, that's where you get some of the best food. The interior is pretty tiny and nondescript, but the food is fresh and flavorful. You can get nice renditions of Chinese American classics like egg foo young, orange chicken and beef with broccoli, but you should be sure to order off the dim sum menu too. Shrimp dumplings in a translucent skin, braised chicken feet in black bean sauce, and stuffed eggplant are all standouts. Lunch specials are super affordable for a huge plate of food: pick your main dish and get chicken fried rice and eggroll or crab rangoon with it for about $6.
8001 W Greenfield Ave.
TomKen's, located directly across the street from State Fair Park, does one thing really, really well: fried chicken. It takes two forms here, wings and classic fried chicken pieces. Wing nights—Mondays and Thursdays—are a production around here, with multiple creative sauces to choose from each week. And while the wings are fantastic and often win competitions, I think the classic fried chicken dinner is really where it's at. The coating is just the right thickness, it clings to the chicken and is never greasy. It's also a steal for $8.50 for a half chicken, fries, slaw and Italian bread.
5901 W. National Ave.
You have to respect a restaurant that started serving up fish fries for free with the purchase of a beer in order to drum up business just after Prohibition ended. Today they're still serving up hundreds of fish fries on Friday nights, especially during Lent. If you're visiting any other night, try the roast pork shanks which come out of the kitchen with shatteringly crisp skins. Take a look around while you're eating too; the murals were painted by a German artist named Peter Gries starting in 1933.
This is part #1 of a 2 part series. Read the rest of the list here.
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