Firefly Urban Bar & Grill sparks sputtering hunger engines with a menu of sandwiches, salads, soups, and more. Explore the corn-floured bluffs of the tilapia po’ boy, outfitted with lettuce, tomato, pickle, and chipotle mayo ($9.95), or hitch a meaty ride on the beef short rib, with roasted mushrooms, red-wine-infused caramelized onions, and peppercorn mac ‘n’ cheese ($18.95). Adult sippers can punctuate meals and pre-dessert poetry readings with more than 40 imported and domestic beers or a bevy of wine and cocktails, while wee ones can sate miniature hungers with offerings from the kids’ menu.
Readers of OnMilwaukee.com named Leff's Lucky Town the best bar in Wauwatosa in 2011, and it’s easy to see why. Though the historic building has housed both a silent-movie theater and a shoe store concealing a Prohibition-era speakeasy, today the wood-paneled bar is anything but silent, and the taps flow freely and legally. Groups of friends and family members wash down 10 signature burgers and a menu of Cajun barbecue wings, larger-than-life pretzels with stone-ground mustard, and sandwiches such as The Hulkster—hot ham, turkey, and roast beef.
Yet what may have been the award clincher is the spot's welcoming, humbly homey atmosphere, which may have also contributed to it being featured on the Fox6 Days of Dining Week. Tucked amid sports memorabilia or together on the outdoor patio, parties gather to catch their favorite sports or telekinetic spoon-bending competitions on high-definition televisions.
Cosmos Café's diners delve into a menu of Mediterranean delights, including hummus, burgers, gyros, and pitas. Warm up flavor-sensors with flaming greek cheese ($5), then keep tongues tingling with a combination platter of hummus, spanakopita, falafel, feta, and olives ($7.50), both escorted to the table by hearty helpings of pita. After a lively attempt to diagram Zeus’s family tree on a napkin, veggie lovers can put down the pencil and pick up a forkful of Mediterranean salad ($3.50–$6). The fish fry, accompanied by a trifecta of salad, fries, and bread, hooks pescatarian patrons ($9), leaving the half-pound greekburger and its beguiling feta-cheese sauce ($6.50) to curb carnivorous cravings. Classics connoisseurs can choose gyros ($5) or a greek souvlaki pita ($6.50), and the kids can chow down on chicken strips, mini hamburgers, or mac 'n’ cheese ($4.25).
In 1963, Sal Barbiere founded his eponymous Italian Inn on the principles of “Family, Superb Food, and Quality Ingredients,” according to the restaurant's website. So it was no surprise that he decided to keep the eatery in the family, passing Barbiere's to his son Steve when he retired. And when, 34 years later, Steve was ready to retire in his turn, he also passed the mantle to someone trustworthy: employee Mark Dempsey, who is himself nearly family—he has been working at the restaurant since he was 16 years old.
Today, Dempsey has expanded the restaurant to two locations, both still serving Sal's signature garlic bread and other tried-and-true Italian dishes. Chefs in his kitchens prepare pans of lasagna and spaghetti with meat or meatless sauce. Baked-to-order pizzas feature an array of topping choices including italian sausage, fresh mushrooms, and sliced tomatoes. Grand Marnier from the full bar fortifies pitchers of housemade red sangria, which enhance the food's bold, Italian flavors as well as boring white napkins that definitely look better in tie-dye.
Beer continually flows into pitchers at Spitfire's On State, largely to temper the waves of heat brought on by the eatery's signature chicken wings. These treats arrive at tables dressed in classic hot sauce or 1 of 16 others flavors, including ginger sesame, bourbon mustard, and caribbean jerk. Though the everyday menu is anchored by nine signature burgers, it gets a welcome addition on Fridays— the bar hosts a fish fry, where cod fillets and shrimp are doused in beer batter and served with classic fixings.
Burke's Irish Castle brings a touch of the Emerald Isle to every dish including the classic corned beef and cabbage, salmon cakes with sweet potato fies, and sweet water organic perch. Locally sourced ingredients ensure each bite is fresh, and weekly events such as live music weekends and fish fry Fridays make every night lively.