Since its founding in 1974, the nonprofit organization Historic Milwaukee has tirelessly advocated for an awareness of historic preservation and promotion of Milwaukee's built environment.The organization lifts the veil on Milwaukee's buildings and the people of its past through neighborhood walking tours and boat tours on the Milwaukee, Menomonee, and Kinnickinnic Rivers. Throughout the year, special tours take visitors on bike excursions and deeper explorations of more focused historical topics. To further engage history buffs, Historic Milwaukee also helms events ranging from a panel discussion series on city history to a citywide open house featuring more than 100 buildings.
Bremen Café's cadre of sandwich sages heap hearty portions of veggies and deli meats onto hoagie rolls to round out an inventive menu. Silence maundering appetites with meal-prefacing portions of mini Pit-Zas ($4), which set zesty pizza fixings atop 10-foot wide pitas before a shrink ray zaps them down to a more manageable size. The Turkey Delight unites italian hoagie halves with a stack of smoked turkey, pesto mayonnaise, and muenster cheese ($6.50). Instead of staying dry—like cities during prohibition and squirt guns during groundings—the Bremen Beef sandwich anoints tender roast beef, peppers, and onions with piquant chili butter ($6.50). Achieve meatless munching by choosing vegetarian options such as the Burn Mama, Burn ($5.75), which ferries grilled cabbage and giardiniera peppers into mouths on a hoagie roll to launch surprise attacks on taste buds.
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.
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.
Karma Bar & Grill feels 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 onto the game du jour. Downstairs, the Sutra Lounge eases post-victory comedowns with candlelight and sectional sofas, where visitors enjoy cocktails and almond-crusted duck tenders. Located on the site of the former John Ernst Café, Karma has restored the building's crafted stone and hand-carved woodwork, preserved the fireplace, and replaced the springs on the many, many trapdoors. Servers keep the atmosphere inviting as they deliver pitchers of beer, hefty burgers, and plates of six-cheese macaroni.
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.