From its quaint, blue-accented exterior to the hefty ceiling beams and gleaming woodwork inside, it's easy to see why Silver Spring House has been recognized as a Milwaukee County Landmark since 1985. Its history goes all the way back to 1835, and at different times its grounds have held a log tavern and a "taxi dance" hall. Since 1976, though, the spot has simply been a destination for those who appreciate satisfying pub cuisine. Chefs continue the tradition today by preparing spreads that range from Friday fish fries with beer-battered lake perch or cod to prime-rib dinners with mashed potatoes and gravy, roasted corn, and dinner rolls. They also char grill burgers layered with blue cheese or olives and simmer comforting housemade french onion soup. On the second Saturday of each month, card players gather to play Texas hold'em. More frequently, groups come in to watch the Packers dance the electric slide on the sidelines.
An active member of the community, The Paradise Restaurant feeds visitors made-to-order omelets, sandwiches, and barbecue from a menu of café fare assembled from scratch. Eaters alter the weatherman's forecast with gusts of wind blown over appetizer plates of jumbo shrimp or beef stew anchored with slabs of cornbread. For larger dents in hunger, the pork chops and gravy, catfish, and fried-chicken dinner each round up a piece of cornbread and two sides, such as macaroni and cheese, black-eyed peas, or collard greens. Cooks yield their signature Bumpy Face dish by pouring gravy and melted cheese over fried chicken dices and rice for a delightfully textured meal.
The top brass twisters at Auntie Anne's, one of the world's largest hand-rolled, soft-pretzel franchises, create enough twirly treats every year to wrap the earth in deliciously salted dough three times over. Pretzel professionals prepare a wide array of sweet and salty snacks, spiraling them into ornate knots with the delicacy of a grandmotherly sailor and baking them to golden brown in full view of customers. A plain pretzel offers a satisfyingly simple snack, while sacchariferous ingredients such as cinnamon sugar and toasted-almond toffee make tongues sweat with anticipation. Mouths will mambo to the Mediterranean flavors of the garlic pretzel, a perfect treat to submerge into a dunk tank of marinara or one of the other available dipping sauces. Or, sample slender tubewiches swathed in the warm embrace of pretzel dough with signature pretzel dogs. Pair braided bites with a chalice of lemonade or a frozen ICEE drink, both of which pack a flavorful punch that’s more refreshing than a brisk morning run that successfully evades a pursuing snow leopard.
The Wisconsin Beer Lovers Festival ferments a tasty mix of food tastings, more than 100 craft beers, and envoys from 30 local breweries into an afternoon libation celebration. Craft brewers such as Milwaukee Alehouse, New Glarus Brewing Co., and Titletown Brewing Co. show off their sudsy wares for passersby threading throughthe bustling tents dotted throughout the Bayshore Town Center. Festivalgoers rub elbows with master brewers and chefs, imbibe new ales or old favorites, sample 20 different food and beer pairings, and try to guess which stein once belonged to John Quincy Adams. Membership to WIBL unlocks pilsner-powered discounts and VIP privileges, including brewery merchandise and admission to WIBL-sponsored events. A quarterly newsletter augments membership, detailing changing selections and discounts at pubs.
During a visit to a gelato café in Darmstadt, Germany, the proprietors of La Coppa met two second-generation gelato masters, Italians Alfredo and Maurizio, who dreamed of bringing distinctive gelato to American shores. This dream was fulfilled through La Coppa Artisan Gelato, where dessert artisans craft more than 40 of Alfredo and Maurizio’s sweet, silky creations. They make each batch of creamy gelato and fat-free sorbet onsite using fresh fruits, all-natural ingredients, and original recipes. These artisans top their artistic dessert creations—such as the gelato spaghetti—with snickers bars, ladyfingers, tiramisu, and made-to-order waffles. To keep their guests full and energized, friendly staff members craft cappuccinos and lattes from their own custom blend of locally roasted coffee beans. Customers who can't decide between caffeine and frozen treats can combine both with latte infusions or affogato. Latte infusions steam milk and gelato together to create a unique flavor and texture, while hot espresso tops gelato in affogato drinks.
The bartenders at Nostalgia I and II work in concert with a laid-back, welcoming service staff and a cavalcade of guest performers to create an intimate environment for groups to relax and enjoy a night out. Guests can unwind over a round of drinks or puff from a hookah stocked with one of five flavors of tobacco as DJs and musical artists lay down a high-energy soundtrack.
In an interview with Andrew Zimmern of the Travel Channel, the owner of Solly's Grille divulged the secret of making his famous butter burger. That secret is simple: all you need are "two products that come from that fabulous cow." The first is sirloin, delivered daily to the restaurant by a local butcher. The second is a generous dollop of butter from a Wisconsin creamery. The butter is slathered onto the top bun, where it melds with stewed onions and seared beef to create a decadent sandwich beloved by the state and America at-large. As evidence of the burger's popularity, Solly's Grille has been featured multiple times by the national media, including USA Today and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain's hit series No Reservations.
All that fame is even more impressive considering that the recipe for Solly's butter burger is more than 70 years old. Kenneth "Solly" Salmon founded the restaurant in 1936, and its menu still reflects these classic roots. The cherry pie is homemade with Door County cherries, and the Wisconsin fish fry's Alaskan cod filets are breaded by hand instead of space-age telekinesis. That's not to say that Solly's has resisted progress, however. Its fries and onion rings get their crispiness from cholesterol-free oil, and veggie burgers and gluten-free buns are available for those with dietary restrictions.