Crisp Pizza Bar & Lounge’s super-heated Neapolitan-style oven bakes crunchy cracker-like crusts topped with chef-curated ingredient bouquets or build-your-own-pizza creations. The restaurant also transforms into a morning-meal factory for Friday–Sunday brunches, flipping expectations on the heads with funky adaptations of morning classics, such as the breakfast pizza topped with scrambled eggs and a pepperoni-wrapped alarm clock. By night, the eatery doubles as a music venue, with a rotating schedule of DJs setting hips asway with high-octane playlists.
The walls of Dick's Pizza and Pleasure gleam brilliant white across three floors interspersed with neon-colored details and enormous anime murals. Hospitality Interiors lauds the first floor's Carrara-marble countertops and "diner-inspired" red vinyl chairs, which give the futuristic space a retro feel. Round windows let patrons peep at coal-fired pizza ovens, where made-from-scratch crusts praised by the Journal Sentinel and Inside Milwaukee attain a golden-brown hue. Toppings benefit from a similar attention to detail. Chefs hand-crush organic tomatoes for sauce, and cure their own ham and sausage in house, procuring produce from local farmers when possible. House-made ingredients also beef up the roster of specialty shakes, which whirl together sweets such as strawberry compote, honey mascarpone, and fudge with vanilla ice cream. During after hours on the weekends, customers saunter up to the second- and third-floor nightclub, done up in the same slick white. There, local DJs spin music as bartenders mix drinks behind candy-colored bars.
Between Peruvian Cafe & Lounge's executive chef, Jose Victorio, captures the essence of his Peruvian homeland with traditional, seasonal dishes enhanced by exotic flavors indigenous to the Andes, the Amazon, and Asia. A choice of quinoa-breaded chicken salad or anticuchos de corazon, grilled skewers of succulent veal heart, kick off the culinary journey, followed by the much-touted ceviche classico or the causa sampler’s pairing of crushed peruvian potatoes with aji amarillo and chicken, grilled octopus, and smoked salmon. A difficult choice between sudado, a broiled tilapia fillet, or the spicy noodles lacing through the tallarin saltado’s forest of fresh veggies, ginger, and soy proves more difficult than acing an advanced-calculus exam as a first-grader. Vanilla ice cream softens atop french toast drizzled in picarones honey, oozing an appetizing epilogue across the evening’s menu with back up from algarrobina flan.
Most of MOCT's patrons start the experience with an appetizer of Serbian-style sliders (ground pork and beef with kamjak, a feta and red-pepper spread, $6) or O.G. wings (classic buffalo sauce, $7) and a $4 draft of any of the seasonal beers on tap. One of the special imports such as Big Nik Serbian beer or Strongbow ($6 each) pairs well with a 14-inch MOCT pizza (Serbian sausage, mushroom, and onion, $13) or beef burek (ground beef and onions layered in phyllo dough, $12) before you move on to liquid desserts such as a blackberry margarita ($7).
Rhythmic Circus serenades the ears and entertains the eyes with a symbiosis of sound and body that spans musical genres in the tap-dancing spectacle Feet Don’t Fail Me Now. The experiment in percussive podiatry turns performers’ feet into organic drum machines, impressing the audience as musical motifs are evoked from such nontraditional instruments as sand, folding chairs, and cellos sporting tattoos and body piercings. A live seven-piece ensemble complements the onstage action with funky forays and rhythmic romps, fluidly transitioning from salsa to soul faster than the house band at the UN. Comedic interludes evoke the music of laughter, and choreographed foot-slapping rhythms make it hard for audience members to sit still.
Every night the notes of renowned jazz, blues, and R&B performers echo through the glimmering walls of 88 Keys Piano Martini Lounge, where martinis and small plates meet beneath mood-setting blue lights in West Allis’s downtown stretch. The relaxed spot was conceived by co-owners Greg Barczak and Suzy Ball who, as West Allis Now reporter Mark Schaaf notes, “hope the city is turning a corner and want to make something more of the downtown” by attracting a younger crowd and lending the area an intimate, upscale nightlife option.
Inside the low-lit lounge, glass windows open and close to bathe guests and performers in a cooling breeze. Artwork and Wisconsin gangster memorabilia, including John Dillinger photographs and high-school report cards, beam down upon pots of fondue and gourmet pizzas. Behind the glowing bar, master mixologists blend a lengthy list of 28 specialty martinis and fill glasses with wine and beer.