Chow down on hearty sandwiches while sipping fruit smoothies at The Hub, a cozy spot offering a bevy of huggable, Chicago-inspired comfort eats amid an inviting atmosphere. Patrons can choose from a host of menu items that satisfy both discerning and cast-iron palates. Allow taste buds free reign across the asiago roast beef panini, a melty marriage of roast beef, asiago cheese, ground mustard, optional red onions, and toasty italian bread ($6.49). All-beef Chicago-style hot dogs bench-press neon relish, diced onion, yellow mustard, and sport peppers atop a poppy seed bun ($3.39 each). The Hub features plentiful vegetarian options, such as the veggie dog ($3.19), three-cheese panini with mozzarella, provolone, and fontina on tart sourdough bread ($5.95), and harmoniously crunchy salads ($5.95–$7.95). Smoothies ($3.75 regular, $5.50 large) sweet-talk blushing tongues with a variety of flavors, including the breezy Brazilian Orchard (with açaí, peach, pear, and apricot), strawberry pineapple, and bubblegum. Bubble teas ($3.75) and milkshakes ($3–$3.50) pack a flavorful punch that’s more rejuvenating than outrunning a territorial badger during a morning jog.
Centennial Bar & Grille satiates thirsts and appetites with authentic, fresh pub fare served in a century-old structure that's home to compelling historical nuances. Peruse the dinner menu and start off with handmade five-onion soup ($5.95), then proceed to the main course with any of the freshly made classics such as grilled tenderloin and mushroom ravioli—hearty cut of beef tenderloin quietly wooing the robust flavors of portabello mushrooms and roasted red peppers in a rich gorgonzola cream sauce ($15.95). After settling disputes between former taste buddies, tempt sweet teeth with a variety of house-made desserts such as cocoa-crazed Guinness chocolate cake ($5.50) or the always-beloved bread pudding ($5.50). Along with daily specials, Centennial features a Friday fish fry, featuring a half pound of tender walleye ($13.95), perch ($13.95), or cod ($11.25) fillets lightly breaded and fried.
Riverside dishes up a delectable menu of American favorites and handcrafted beverages against the backdrop of the Milwaukee River's placid flow. Feast on a fleet of specialty sandwiches, including a quartet of grilled paninis teeming with tasty portobello, prime rib, or tuscan chicken ($8.95–$10.95) and a saucy slew of barbecue baby back ribs lounging with fresh veggies on a grilled kaiser roll ($8.95). Carnivorous patrons can sink mouth swords into a lean petite sirloin filet ($15.95) or savor a cluster of skewered tequila-lime shrimp grilled in butter ($18.95). A crab and lobster ravioli bursting with crab mousse, drawn butter, and a charming bouquet of fresh herbs courts a shy blush alfredo bedecked in a ravishing parmesan crumble ($24.95).
The interior of Bigg's Roadhouse reminds drivers of the Mother Road—drawings of Route 66 and the countryside it wanders decorate the spot's walls. Twelve televisions broadcast sports games or the highlights from last-night's news. In the kitchen, cooks form fresh beef into hefty burgers, slice rotisserie chicken for enchiladas, and bake signature pizzas such as a pulled-pork pie with jalapeños, cream cheese, and barbecue sauce. And at Friday fish fries, they batter Icelandic cod to serve with housemade potato pancakes. Bartenders fill glasses with cold beer and stronger libations at a full bar.
Karma Bar & Grill aims to feel more like a stylish friend's man-cave than a typical sports bar. Upstairs amid the tangy aroma of buffalo wings and the clink of beer glasses, clusters of friends gather around 72-inch TVs, eyes locked on the game. Downstairs, the Sutra Lounge eases post-victory comedowns with candlelight and sectional couches, while keeping coffee tables laden with cocktails and almond-crusted duck tenders. Karma has restored the former John Ernst Café's crafted stone and hand-carved wood to their former luster—and has also preserved its classic fireplace and replaced the springs on its many, many trap doors. Servers keep the atmosphere inviting as they deliver pitchers of beer, hefty burgers, and plates of six-cheese mac.
In 2012, Man v. Food called in Jeremy Wheeler, one of their most trusted competitors, to take on Red Rock Saloon's Unforgiven challenge. As he sidled up to the table, a gravity-defying meal towered before him: atop a pound of French fries sat a fried chicken breast buried between two half-pound bacon cheeseburgers. Encircling the meaty monolith were six ghost-chili chicken wings—and he only had 23 minutes to eat it all. Though it took him until the very last second, Jeremy defeated the meal, becoming only the second person in Red Rock's history to do so.
It’s fitting that Red Rock would dream up a challenge most patrons can’t win—the restaurant is named after a real-life rodeo bull that famously bucked more than 300 riders. When patrons aren’t lining up to ride the mechanical version of Red Rock or listening to live rock and country music, they’re crowding around tables to order from a menu that boasts 2012 Chili Bowl champion Texas red chili. Like Oprah’s address book, the rest of the menu reads like a scrapbook of American pop culture: seasoned chicken crowns the James Dean salad, molasses barbecue sauce sweetens KC Jones wings, and pineapple and jalapeños pile atop a Will Kane pulled-pork sandwich.