Nostalgia, Local Flavor Key in Milwaukee’s Breakfast Nooks
Milwaukee natives may be enduring a watershed moment when faced with where to get their cup of joe and which establishments to visit for breakfast. Not that it’s a bad problem to have. Perhaps they are getting the best of both worlds, forcing operators to bring their best—especially on Saturdays and Sundays.
Breakfast and Café Favorites
Around town are several places considered culinary envelope pushers. Breakfast innovators want to experiment, such as Uncle Wolfie’s Breakfast Tavern. Here, you’ll find offbeat items like PB+J French toast with peanut butter cream cheese and blackberry gastrique or a sweet potato chorizo omelet with avocado and raspberry mango salsa. Grab a beer while you’re enjoying the views.
There is also the staple, Honeypie, serving creative comfort foods for any time of day. Opened in 2009, Honeypie also operates a bakery. The café prides itself on locally sourced foods and a trendy, yet homey atmosphere.
A Milwaukee institution that appears to lean more toward traditional breakfast fare is Blue’s Egg. It’s self-described, however, as a “modern American brunch,” blending “Old World ingredients” and “the creativity of fresh concepts.” Options on the menu are seemingly endless. Highlights include monkey bread (request to “crunk it”), lemon cheesecake French toast, Dubliner Benedict and hash browns. Blue’s Egg is proud to highlight exactly from where eggs, bacon and milk are sourced.
Just outside of Milwaukee in Elm Grove, Wis., is a contemporary breakfast, lunch and brunch spot called Zisters, which opened in 2018. In addition to bottomless mimosas, patrons will find gluten-free and vegan dishes on the menu.
All this has created an amalgam of options for the Milwaukee breakfast and café crowd. Eggs, milk, cream and other locally sourced goodies rule the day. Chefs and operators have sought a fine balance in order to keep offerings comfortable and homegrown.
Let’s Not Forget About Joe
One thing’s for sure: Milwaukee is not a Starbucks town.
Local coffee shops scream civic pride. Anyone with a taste for something homemade flocks to those local places and avoids chains. Some multi-location, some single-location independent coffeehouses take their roasting seriously, with elegant baked goods and pastries to match. Try Stone Creek, Anodyne and Fiddleheads for starters.
One brand exploding with cafés is Colectivo, with 24 locations in Milwaukee, Madison and Chicago, roasting its award-winning coffee by hand and preparing baked goods from scratch at Troubadour Bakery.