Every day, Breadsmith kneads and breeds made-from-scratch breads, honoring the practices of centuries-old French bakers. The delectable dough sculptures receive the royal treatment, with all delicate yeast bubbles bursting inside of a 6-ton stone-hearth oven. The oven's sweltering heat creates a cushy crust for American-style breads. In the presence of lightning-quick steam injections, European-style breads take on a crisp, crumb-dressed outer core. April's daily bread offerings range from $3.65 to $7.50 a loaf and include french baguettes ($3.65), pepperjack sourdough ($7.50), country buttertop ($5.05), raisin cinnamon ($5.55), and apple pie bread ($6.70). Use today's Groupon to fill up the family with lusciously leavened loaves fresh from the oven—or wait for them to go stale and then wield them as harpoons during the next potato-soup hunt.
Sweet Frog’s frozen-yogurt flavors go beyond the norm. In addition to cookies ‘n’ cream and greek yogurt with honey, the lineup of 75 varieties includes maple-bacon donut, cake batter, and dulce de leche. Patrons can sprinkle on toppings such as fresh fruit and candies, then savor their confetti’d confections in the lime-green-and-pink restaurant. Smiling frogs and funky white hanging lamps give the stores an air of fun, but founder Derek Cha is interested in giving more than that to the community; through Sweet Frog, he sponsors children in need and dispatches frog mascots to those who need encouragement.
Art Bar, called a "Painter's Paradise" by Urban Milwaukee magazine, isn't your typical watering hole. In its enchanting interior, hundreds of soda bottle caps create an argyle pattern on pillars, wine corks stud an oval-shaped bar, and paint-by-number pieces—depicting everything from horses to the Virgin Mary—plaster a wall.
The kitschy aesthetic offers a glimpse into the creative mind of owner Don Krause. Krause left his former career as an interior designer for Ethan Allen to brave the trials of opening a bar in Riverwest. And he did it his way: His joint pours more than 40 microbrews by night and Alterra coffee by day in a space adorned with the rotating creations of local artists. The beer lineup includes seasonal brews from Bell’s, Founders, Lakefront, and New Glarus, as well as “mystery beers” served for three bucks cloaked in a crumpled brown bag—the way Wisconsin dignitaries drink. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel describes the venue as “a feast for all senses” and “one of the hottest spots in Riverwest,” thanks in part to its comedy, musical, or artistic events.
INdustri Cafe evokes local industry in more than its name—its New American menu prizes local ingredients , and it’s served in a rustic warehouse-style space hung with the work of local arts. The bistro brings fine dining out of the realm of diamond-encrusted waiters in order to bring the delicate flavors of lobster, pulled-duck, and truffle oil to a wider audience. The menu shifts with the seasons, but diners can expect to find American favorites graced with a gourmet touch—burgers topped with sautéed apple and poblano barbecue sauce, for instance. Serious Eats found that burger " juicy and rich and well seasoned" with toppings that "all worked together in total harmony."
Weathered wood and exposed brick surround the dining room at INdustri, which is illuminated by rows of bright globe lights. Another level of seating sits atop the bar’s canopy, while beneath it patrons sip from a beer list that only includes Wisconsin brews.
Glass cases and racks of fresh bread dominate National Bakery & Deli’s three locations, which bake all of their goods fresh daily. Founded in 1925, the bakery continually recreates classic recipes for a menu that includes glazed doughnuts, frosted cookies, and cherry-filled coffee cake, as well as hard rolls and french bread. Deli fare includes baked ham, seasonal polish sausage, and several varieties of potato salad. In addition to their staples and custom cake orders, the bakery creates seasonal specialties that range from spring’s grasshopper pie and irish soda bread to winter’s gingerbread men and icy snowman souls. Every Mardi Gras, the bakery churns out piles of prune- and raspberry-filled paczki in a celebrated rush that has drawn great press—though patrons can make every Tuesday fat by perusing their year-round paczki selection.
Jennifer Nowicki really loves produce; she's named her third restaurant Verduras, the Spanish word for vegetables. The completely vegetarian menu employs ingredients such as grapefruit, beets, and teriyaki-infused carrots to insulate sandwiches, salads, and soups, many of which are also vegan or gluten free. However, the ever-shifting curls of steam that tickle the hardwood floors, exposed rafters, and large windows hint at Verduras' primary focus: teas from all across the globe. Beneath the ivory-hued exposed bricks, white, green, rooibos, and local Rishi teas steep in hot water, filling mugs with the flavors of wild rose, hibiscus, or chai. The floral aromas of darjeeling fill the air as patrons gaze at the art on the walls, rendered in crisp black and white like a zebra’s yearbook page.