Just as Thomas Edison stumbled through useless prototypes of light bulbs and movie cameras before perfecting the phonograph, the alchemists at Qdoba Mexican Grill took 47 attempts before landing on the franchise's signature blend of three cheeses, known simply as queso. That attention to detail still pervades every aspect of the menu, as employees spend hours each day chopping, dicing, and simmering the fresh ingredients that find their way into burritos, taco salads, and grilled quesadillas. Beyond the marinated bites of chicken, beef, and pork and hand-crafted tortillas, cooks protect their ripe, fragile avocados from harm by smashing them into batches of fluffy guacamole.
Even with the ambitious goal of trying a new variety every night, it would take months to sample every single beer at Stubby’s Gastrogrub & Beer Bar. Not only are there 53 different drafts and an array of cellar reserve bottles, but the selection is constantly updated with new craft brews from Wisconsin and around the world. Beer-savvy bartenders make their own recommendations behind the circular center bar as servers deliver trays of imaginative gastropub dishes—crab-stuffed jalapeños, freshwater bluegill sliders, and the hefty burger lauded by reporters from A.V. Club Milwaukee as “drool-inducing.” When not toppling giant Jenga blocks or throwing darts, guests can gaze up at the flat-screen televisions and cheer when a hardened banker learns to love in a Lifetime movie. The massive wooden deck gives al fresco enthusiasts space to linger over bites of cod tacos and barbecue pork nachos.
Floor-to-ceiling wood panels frame School Yard Bar & Grill, an East Side hangout that doles out beer and burgers in equal measure. The menu features half-pound Wisconsin beef sandwiches named after prototypical high-school characters such as the Bully—cheddar, bacon, roasted-garlic mayo, and a fried egg—and the Principal, which is accompanied by swiss cheese, sautéed mushrooms, grilled onions, and a stern letter to your parents. Patrons can dig into these and other pub dishes, including wings, mozzarella sticks, and tacos, while drinking in views of overhead TVs and domestic drafts at the bar.
Fajitas Grill is a place where the staff envisions families creating new memories over plates of authentic Mexican cuisine. In the cheerful space, decorated with artwork and warm colors, the kitchen staff serves up the sizzling fajitas that the spot is named for. Each dish is loaded with ingredients such as grilled steak, garden veggies, and pork with roasted pineapple. These flavorful meats and vegetables also get piled onto handmade tortillas and rolled into enchiladas. Thirsty patrons can pair meals with a glass of wine or a margarita made with smooth, oak-aged tequila.