A good German restaurant isn't just the perfect place to practice close-up magic on unsuspecting patrons; it's also a great spot to meet friends and share Burton Gilliam gossip. Today's Groupon sates every predilection. For $15, you get $30 worth of authentic German cooking at Karl Ratzsch's on East Mason Street in Juneau Town. The German eatery has been hammering out its classic, soul-nourishing recipes for more than a century of feeding Milwaukee's strudel-holes. This Groupon is valid for lunch and dinner, with the exception of the "Lighter Fare" and "Early Dining" sections on the dinner menu.
Karl Ratzsch's is a local tradition as old as the year 1904, when its culinary seeds first sprouted in the northern Midwest. Traditional German suppers ornament a vast dining hall that rings both elegant and homey at the same time; white-linen tablecloths stand below high, arched ceilings with rich wooden architecture echoed by the vertical stability of massive beer steins that line sturdy shelves. Stained-glass windows artfully display red-frocked patron saints of crisp libations, giving diners the go-ahead to celebrate their hearty brews with a resounding prost.
After the eyes have carved and consumed their visual surroundings, able stomachs entreat Karl Ratzsch's robust dinner menu. Classic cravings seek comfort in the house Sauerbraten topped with gingersnap gravy and joined by red cabbage and potato dumplings ($27.50) as well as Konigsberger Klopse, meatballs composed of veal, pork, and beef simmered in a lemon-caper sauce ($23.50). Beef-tenderloin kebabs jump from the grill with a skewered parade of onions, peppers, and mushrooms on a bed of wild rice and steamed broccoli ($35.95), while the Hungarian goulash draws a prime-beef stew for a helping of homemade spätzle ($26.50).
- Karl Ratzsch’s is practically a Milwaukee institution, well-known as the place to bring out-of-town guests for a true local experience and the city’s finest German cuisine. – Gayot
- The ambience at Ratzsch's is very old world and the service and menu can easily whisk you into a simpler era of hearty portions and comfort food...Meticulous, friendly, but non-invasive service makes Ratzsch's a welcoming, warm environment on even the coldest of Milwaukee nights. And with recent visits proving their food is as delightful as their décor, and as rich as their history, one can only hope that we'll be celebrating this wonderful Milwaukee restaurant for another century to come. – Amy L. Schubert, OnMilwaukee.com
- Dining at Ratzsch's, especially on Friday and Saturday nights when waltzes and standards flow from the baby grand and the room buzzes with chatter, you can feel part of an unbroken Milwaukee tradition since 1904...Ratzsch's has been serving uncommon cuts for decades, as in the crackling pork shank, with the most intoxicating, delicious aroma. Rich goose is another standout on the menu. – Carol Deptolla, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
- For a real German smorgasbord, this is one of my favorite places to eat. The beer is excellent, and the food is stuffing. Really high quality traditional German fare. – maestroteodoro, Citysearch
After emigrating from Germany, Otto Hermann forged his place in downtown Milwaukee by opening Hermann's Café in 1904. Since then, the eatery has passed from generation to generation, taking the name of Otto's step-daughter's beau-turned-husband Karl Ratzsch and remaining a staple for heaping platters of classic German cuisine. The kitchen's homemade applesauce and fluffy spätzle festoon free-range goose and crackling pork shank, which the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel describes as “[emitting] the most intoxicating, delicious aroma.” The vast dining room's ambiance echoes the Old World cuisine, its chocolate-brown wooden beams and sturdy chandeliers reminiscent of a Bavarian hunting lodge. Ornate antique beer steins store whispered wishes for new pairs of lederhosen, and stained-glass windows cast the vast dining room in a kaleidoscopic glow.