As a marble-top creamery and classic diner, Ferch’s Malt Shoppe & Grille satisfies hunger pains, ice-cream desires, and nostalgic longings with traditional American fare and fresh frozen custard within a throwback soda-shop setting. With 48 custard flavors and 40 toppings to choose from, Ferch’s treat specialists can create more than 1 million varieties of customized creamy concoctions. The malt shop’s black-and-white checkerboard floors, vinyl booths, and soda-fountain counters hark back to a simpler time when men wore hats and robot servants hadn’t yet begun their grisly uprising.
At Rich’s House of Cakes, cake designers create towering, artistic pastries for weddings and celebrations of all kinds. Cakes are made from scratch with all-natural ingredients and served as tortes, with fillings such as custard, chocolate fudge, or blueberry running between two layers of cake. Specialty fillings such as amaretto, Oreo cookie, and cream cheese add a personal touch to custom cakes without the hassle of making them into a life-sized mold of your face.
The family at Grebe’s Bakery have honed their fresh breads, pastries, and cakes since 1937, developing dainties sought after by more than 300 stores throughout the Midwest. Visitors scan the display case for a single cake donut ($0.75) to sate a sugar hankering or a baker’s dozen of cinnamon rolls ($3.99) to lure Sunday morning cartoons out of the television. In the oven, small loaves of white bread ($1.79) and hard rolls ($2.29 for a package of six) develop fluffy interiors that greedily sop up gravy, as chocolate chips melt inside a butter-pecan danish ($4.29). Nimble hands decorate custom cakes ($19.99–$61.99) with designs and messages that distill the essence of an occasion or screen photos onto the icing that accurately depict the aftermath for private investigators.
The luck required to pull a winning combo at Half Nuts, unlike the chance involved in scaling Gumdrop Mountain, is little because of the superabundance of savory sweets and a pleasant lack of molasses mudmonsters. Half Nuts stocks sugar-free candy, a huge variety of nostalgic sweets, and the 50 official flavors of Jelly Belly jellybeans. Swish open a bag and fill it with assorted nuts ($1.79–$17.99 per pound), chocolates ($3.99–$13.99 per pound), and unwrapped candy ($1.79-$7.99 per pound). Or, prepare for little-red-hooded rides to Grandma's house with a gift basket full of chocolate-covered nuts and color-coded jellybeans (starting at $19.69 for a two-pound basket). This Groupon is not valid for M&M's.
Most of Wild Flour's loaves are crafted with traditional old-world European techniques, which exclude fat, oil, sugar, eggs, dairy, and preservatives and replace them with high-quality flours. Artisan favorites, such as the olive rosemary and cranberry walnut, complement any meal, while health-conscious selections such as the whole-grain flax-seed bread and the multigrain sourdough will allow nutrition-minded architects to nosh guilt free. Each of Wild Flour's four cozy stores serves hot lunch daily, with a rotating soup selection that pours the likes of Catalina chicken, cream of potato with bacon, and tomato red-pepper bisque alongside hot grilled sandwiches such as the zipper (ham, salami, provolone, tomato, onion, jalapeños, and mayo, $5.50) and the hot vegetarian (marinated eggplant, red peppers, portobello mushrooms, and pesto sauce, $4.90). Cold deli classics also sashay out of the kitchen, including egg salad ($4.90) and chicken salad ($5.50) and a wide selection of salads (starting at $3.25).
It'z My Party Cakery is truly a family business, with owner and lead cake artist Judi Dadtka overseeing a staff that includes several of her children. Judi has been making cakes since she was 13, and her experience shows. Towering princess castles, SpongeBob under the sea, and an edible Lakers jersey all stand as vibrant examples of her and her kids’ baking skills, which blend design, carpentry, and art with tasty desserts. On a smaller scale, they whip up cupcakes, cake pops, truffles, and other baked goods, sharing these dainties with the general public and also delivering custom treats locally to terminally and critically ill children via the nonprofit organization Icing Smiles.
In the fall of 2010, a young couple named Jake and Heather strolled down the street in front of Simma's Bakery, enjoying the brisk Wisconsin weather. Heather chatted away lightheartedly as they walked their small, fluffy dog together, but Jake's heart and mind were racing. As they approached the storefront, the young man made his long-planned gesture toward the window, where, flanked by two white roses, sat a Simma's cheesecake. The signature chocolate ganache had been decorated with six red flower buds, swirling green vines, and five life-changing words written in white: "Heather, Will You Marry Me?" Jake got down on one knee and pulled out a ring to say with words what the cake had already said with icing.
Simma's Bakery has been a Milwaukee staple for more than 25 years, and its decadent desserts have shared more laughter and tears than a soap opera about birthday clowns. The mom-and-pop shop was founded by Simma Yundov, a woman who immigrated with her husband and two children to the United States from Russia in 1979. She built the bakery from the ground up, making a name for herself and touching the lives of countless people. After her death more than a decade ago, Simma's daughter carried on her mother's work and recently passed the brûlée torch to Mark and Peggy Carollo, who, Veil magazine, have years of experience in the family-run bakery business. Today, the walls are covered with awards and recognitions—tributes to Simma's legacy. The bakery was named one of the The Knot's Best of Weddings 2013 vendors, a top Wedding Cake Designer in the Shepherd Express Best of Milwaukee 2012 awards, and has been a winner or finalist in CityVoter's Best Cakes category for six years running. According to a 2009 article by the Badger Herald's Allie Demet—who grew up in the area and remembers celebrating childhood birthdays with Simma's cakes—the shop is one of the International Restaurant & Hospitality Ratings Bureau’s Top 25 Bakeries in America. The shop has also been voted the Best Place to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth in 2012 by both the editors and readers of M magazine.