Award-Winning Steak House | Classic Surf 'n' Turf | Live Entertainment | Californian Wines | Supper-Club Decor
When to Go: Try to plan your dinner for a Friday night around 8 p.m. That’s when musicians hit the adjoining Alley Cat Lounge stage, playing everything from oldies and jazz to modern rock and R&B.
Inside Tip: Show up hungry. All meals come with a salad, relish tray, and sourdough bread with butter and honey. A side of butter-sauteéd mushrooms also accompanies every steak.
Media Mentions: Over the years, 5 O’Clock has drawn national attention. The Travel Channel featured it on the program Steak Paradise, Saveur magazine named it one of the best steak houses in the country, and Travel + Leisure said it has a "Mad Men vibe."
Behind the Name: According to the restaurant's lore, the steak house got its name from an alarm clock that would ring every day at 5 p.m., alerting customers that it was time for a free drink.
While You’re in the Neighborhood
Before: Tour the Tripoli Shrine Center (3000 W. Wisconsin Avenue), a replica of the Taj Mahal and a member of the National Register of Historic Places.
After: If the entertainment at the Alley Cat Lounge isn't to your taste, head over to The Coffee House (631 N. 19th Street), which offers acoustic music and poetry performances.
Sashay into Birdie’s welcoming confines and fill up on a variety of eats to help propel bone boxes through a gauntlet of daily tasks. Seize the a.m. by noshing on a croissant sandwich with egg, cheddar cheese, and a choice of sausage, bacon, or ham ($5.25), or grab a muffin on the go ($1.95). Seek shelter from gusty fall winds and warm up with a bowl of daily homemade soup served with a mini french roll ($5.25) or sink mouth bones into a cucumber croissant with green onion, cream cheese, and romaine lettuce ($5.25). Catch a whiff of the soothing aromas emanating from Johnson Brothers coffees while admiring the homey atmosphere that seems to be whittled from a cozy French villa.
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).
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 melts with house-made 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, the film and book Hamburger America by George Motz, Food Network Magazine, 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 78 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, complementing the roster of time-honored breakfasts and other great sandwiches. That's not to say that Solly's has resisted progress, however. Its fries, onion rings, and hand-breaded Alaskan Cod get their crispiness from cholesterol-free oil, and veggie burgers and gluten-free buns are available for those with dietary restrictions.
Refuge Smoothie Cafe started as a way to indulge without completely undoing healthy eating habits. The menu boasts colorful, tasty smoothies made with fruit and vegetables to satisfy sweet cravings while filling the body with healthy vitamins. House blends include smoothies packed with berries, vegetables such as kale and spinach, and herbs such as mint and basil. Guests can customize their own smoothie or slurp on coffee, tea, and fresh-squeezed juice.
For more than two decades, laughs have permeated the space within Comedy Cafe. On its stage, a rolling list of local and nationally acclaimed comedians—such as Tommy Chong and Bobcat Goldthwait—launch into schticks or go about repairing minor damage to brickwork. Audiences can work on their spit takes thanks to a menu of margaritas, martinis, and snacks such as popcorn.