What To Eat in Wisconsin
You know you are in the Dairy State when hamburgers and charcoal-cooked brats (bratwursts) come glistening with butter, and when cheese curds are served in every bar. Cool, smooth custard is another creamy specialty; and cream pies are superlative. Fruit pies – apple, cherry, rhubarb, berry – also are memorable, even if not served a la mode. Friday night is fish fry night in virtually every restaurant; and if you’re up in Door County in the summer, do avail yourself of the pyrotechnical spectacular known as a fish boil. Milwaukee is rich in ethnic foods and is one of America’s top corned beef cities.
Other than butter-sculpture contests at the state fair, there is no better demonstration of Wisconsin's passion for butter than the butter burger, which is so popular that many restaurants where it is served don't even bother to call it that. Order a hamburger and it automatically comes soaked with melted butter. Not margarine, not flavored oil: pure, dairy-rich butter. Words cannot describe the wanton opulence of hoisting one of these big boys from plate to mouth and feeling commingled butter and beef juices running hot rivers down one's chin, fingers, and wrist. Similarly, charcoal-cooked bratwurst served in Wisconsin sandwiches comes glistening not only with its own fat, but with that of a few melting butter pats as well.
Nearly every Milwaukee restaurant has a Friday night fish fry. From the humblest corner tavern to the finest fine-dining restaurants, count on fried fish with all the fixins (preferably potato pancakes).
If you think of custard as the commonly-found franchised soft-serve fare, come to Wisconsin and have a cup of vanilla. It is dense, smooth as alabaster, sweet and simple. Mix-ins and silly flavors exist, but they are peripheral. Purity is what people in Wisconsin demand; and in fact it is rare to find bad ice cream or custard anywhere in the state that likes to call itself America's Dairyland.
Norwegian with a Mediterranean accent, Harbor View offers soulful renditions of northern European fare. Delcious, from scratch, worth a trip!
Mazos butter burgers are Milwaukee stand-outs. Fried potatoes on the side also are very buttery. Milk shakes are presented in their icy silver mixing cans.
Benji's is a Milwaukee deli serving hoppel poppel (an egg-salami kitchen sink meal), piled-high corned beef sandwiches, blintzes and crisp potato pancakes.
The famous Sheboygan, Wisconsin brat(wurst) is best at the Charcoal Inn, where sandwiches ooze a delectable blend of fire-cooked meat juice & melted butter.
Wisconsin Pie Paradise! A dozen fruit and cream pies are available every day by the slice or whole. Pre-dessert, there are savory pies as well as sandwiches.
Wisconsin's Elegant Farmer bakes its apple pies in paper bags. The result is what many consider to be the best pie in the Midwest.
McBob's is a cheerful Milwaukee tavern / restaurant with a great Friday fish fry and some of the best corned beef (and corned beef hash) anywhere.
Anchor Bar is a Twin Ports dive bar that serves the best hamburgers in the northland, accompanied by handsome hand-cut French fries. Priced right, too!
A neon-edged fun ride for anybody who loves the profound goodness of Wisconsin custard, Leon's is a 1942 vintage Milwaukee favorite.