The Best Restaurants in West Allis, Part Two
I love eating in West Allis. Missed Part one? Read it here.
6832 W. Becher St.
Though the location in the Milwaukee Public Market is more well known, the original location in West Allis (shocker, I know) has been around for a long time. This location has a dedicated eating area and less hustle and bustle than the Market, which is a big plus if you want to enjoy a casual meal. The menu is surprisingly long, with substantial sandwiches like a clubhouse with Nueske's bacon or grilled roast beef with blue cheese, poutine, hot dogs and an all-day breakfast. Though it doesn't include cheese, French toast made with Simma's Bakery morning buns are definitely welcome at lunchtime.
6200 W. Burnham St.
I'm a sucker for meat dishes garnished with pineapple, so naturally tacos al pastor are one of my favorite things. At Al Pastor, a tiny Mexican food joint, their namesake pork taco comes with pineapple, as it should. The pineapple doesn't stop there, though. The alambre, an entree that's a pile of various meats, peppers and cheese, also includes some grilled pineapple for good measure. Both are great topped with a hefty squirt of salsa verde from the squeeze bottle and maybe a spoon of pico de gallo. Enchiladas are topped traditionally with raw onion slices, crumbly cheese and crema, a big plus in my book.
5823 W. Burnham St.
The first time I visited Antigua many years ago, my group got complimentary shots at the end of our meal, and a girl doesn't forget free booze. The cuisine at Antigua spans Latin America, the Caribbean and South America in a slightly upscale setting. While you probably won't get any free alcohol, you will get a snack of bread and aioli spread in lieu of the standard chips and salsa people are used to getting at Mexican restaurants. From there you can get Salvadorian papusas, empanadas, Cuban sandwiches, cochinita pibil, lomo saltado and even a pan of seafood paella.
1427 S. 108th St.
Fusion Cafe is in a pretty nondescript strip mall on busy Highway 100, so it often gets overlooked, even though it's got some of the best Asian noodle dishes and bakery around. They recently added sushi to the menu, but I'd stick with the noodle soups and stir fries—there are better places to get sushi. Soups take on a kind of create-your-own-adventure style, where you choose the type of noodle (get “homemade noodle”) and soup base, like a spicy version or with curry. Spicy beef shank or chicken cutlet soups are good choices. There's also some unusual dishes you can get here: spicy sliced pig ear, marinated pork stomach, and curry fish balls, to name a few.
6807 W. Becher St.
Don't be fooled by the name, this isn't a Middle Eastern restaurant, though they do serve kabobs. It's a little hard to pin down exactly what the focus is, because it's a little bit bar food, a little bit upscale entree and plenty of things topped with cheese, so it gets the catch all category of “New American.” Pork express fries are a good starter with mango fire cheese, pork and citrus BBQ in a poutine-like creation. Namesake kabobs come in chicken satay, Cajun shrimp and steak varieties, among others. Prime rib and steak specials are popular on Saturday nights, as are the loaded bloody marys during Sunday brunch.
6821 W. Lincoln Ave.
If Chilango Express had been around when I still lived within walking distance of the gas station it's in, I would have been there every day. It's nothing pretty to look at, being inside a gas station and all, but you know that when a place makes tortillas by hand it's going to be good. Take advantage of that and try a gordita or huraches, both of which use a thick corn masa cake that's griddled before being topped (huraches) or cut open and filled (gordita). You can get your tacos topped with nopales, or squash blossoms, in season. On weekends, look for specials like tamales, barbacoa with goat or lamb, and menudo.
6202 W. Lincoln Ave.
Housed in what used to be a Dairy Queen (oh the memories of Nerds Blizzards), Fratelli's is a pizza joint with subs, sandwiches, and Chicago-style Italian beef and sausages. The pizza style is a cross between NY and Milwaukee styles: The crust is thicker and more chewy than cracker crust, but with an even thickness throughout. Some pizzas are square cut like Milwaukee style and some are pie cut. Their version of a traditional margherita pizza uses a thick tomato sauce and sparse application of fresh mozzarella. Pizzas like the classic deluxe don't skimp on toppings, though. If you can't decide between Italian sausage and pizza, then get the B52 bomber pizza, topped with white sauce, sausage and hot giardiniera.
2362 S. 108th St.
We used to come here for custard a lot when I was a kid, and the place is still busy, especially on weekends in summer. Nothing about the building has changed much, including the yellow booths and the front sunroom area. Grasshopper pie and Oscar's delight are some of my favorite flavors, but any of them are great when you get them in the fresh waffle cones you can see the employees press and roll behind the counter. Burgers are still pretty tasty, and cheaper than other custard spots. There are two other Oscar’s locations as well, in Waukesha and Franklin, but it's only this one that will ever feel right to me.
Lucky Bakery & BBQ
11078 W. National Ave.
Again, a strip mall in West Allis holds a dining gem. It's pretty much take-out only, with one side of the counter holding hot items and the other side a refrigerated case holding bakery. The menu is brief, but the space is small, so they do just a few things, really well. Roast duck is probably the main attraction, with a deep red skin that you buy whole or by the half. Roast pork belly comes with crispy, crackling skin. Chickens are also available. On the bakery side are savory and sweet pastries and buns, like ones filled with ham and eggs, winter melon or sweet bean paste. On top of the case you'll find dumpling-like translucent crepes with various fillings in takeout containers, complete with dipping sauce.
5132 W. Lincoln Ave.
Grebe's has been around since 1937, and in its current location on Lincoln since 1957. They're best known for their donuts, including apple fritters, cheese pockets, crullers, and of course, paczki. As is Milwaukee tradition, you can get hot ham and fresh rolls on Sundays, when the line snakes around the shop. Most people don't realize, though, that besides making you a deli sandwich, Grebe's also has hot breakfast and lunch specials every weekday. You can get things like grilled ham and cheese, broasted chicken, meatball subs and even tacos on various days of the week. It's just another reason you should stop at Grebe's if you haven't been in lately.