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.
Each of Whiskey River Saloon's three country-themed levels teems with drink-slinging action at its own full-service bar, while a multitude of plasma TVs compete for sports lovers' attention. Dartboards and pool tables bedeck the first and second floors, encouraging diners to see who can rack the fastest, and the third floor boasts a rooftop patio overlooking the river. Waitresses whisk out appetizers such as the dry-rubbed wings, which are crispy fried, coated with secret seasoning, and served with buffalo-ranch dressing ($7). Cowpokes can glaze their gullets with daily drink specials, or bite into a handheld craw comforter such as the caprese burger, topped with mozzarella cheese, a tomato slice, balsamic vinegar, and basil ($8). Entrees such as the Whiskey River chicken, served with salsa cruda and garlic mashed potatoes ($10), gallop into a sunset of gastrointestinal glory.
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).
Drinks flow to the beat of the night's soundtrack, an eclectic selection of dance music ranging from salsa to bass-heavy club hits. Salsa Saturdays are perfect for a tall margarita thirst quencher ($6), or refresh your panting palate with a minty mojito ($8). Any night of the week is suitable for fermented ales from the tap ($4) or by the bottle ($3.50 domestic, $4 imported). For a late night or if you’re performing a grueling dance scene from an episode of Veronica's Closet, a Red Bull ($4) or any bomb upgrade ($6) will provide anybody with a surge of body fuel.
Marchese’s Olive Pit provides pizza purveyors with a menu of pies with and without red sauce. Opt for sauceless sustenance with the caramelized onion and mushroom pizza, boasting olive oil and aromatic garlic reclining on an herb-brushed crust ($14.99 for regular size), or go in the red by bankrupting hunger with Pete’s Pepper Pizza, topped with spicy serrano peppers or mild green bell peppers, plus pepperoni and onions ($15.99 for regular). Customers can conceive the most artistic pie creation since da Vinci’s Mona Lisa Face-Planted Into Pizza with the create-your-own option, which lets you add as many toppings as your stomach pleases, including olives, extra seasoning, artichokes, bacon, and more ($12.99+). Marchese’s also offers a solid selection of appetizers, from its fresh bread available with toppings such as marinara sauce, pesto spread, or olive tapenade ($3–$5.50), to Aunt Susie’s Salad, with strawberries, butter-toasted pecans, and a raspberry-poppy-seed dressing bunking atop a bed of spinach ($5.99). Lunchtimers can nosh on pizzas by the slice ($4–$5)—Marchese's Olive Pit serves up a new special slice of pizza each week—or the massive Bear’s Big Sandwich available in veggie-friendly ($5.99) or pepperoni-topped ($6.99) variations.