Kopp’s is a joyful place where eaters chow down wherever they can find a place to lean, inside or out. (There is no seating.) As is the custom in Milwaukee, burgers ooze with butter.
Custard is the specialty of the house. Some of the sundaes Kopp’s makes with this custard are so elaborate that the management has been known to offer architectural diagrams pointing out various ingredients and their place in the construction of each concoction. A blueprint for the staggering Kopp’s Special shows pineapple and raspberry sauces, sliced bananas, hot fudge, toasted pecans, and a cherry on top.
The sauces are excellent, the toasted nuts are a revelation. But the foundation is the important part: ivory-white custard made from high-butterfat ingredients with none of the thickeners and stabilizers that gunk up commonplace ice cream. Custard like this is a Wisconsin passion, and good reason for natives of the Badger State to consider themselves America’s ice cream elite. It is hypnotic to watch it pour from great silver machines behind the counter. To taste it is to know why Kopp’s has been a beloved Milwaukee institution since Elsie Kopp opened her first stand in 1950.
Vanilla is pure and white and thick and monomaniacally delicious. Vanilla and Swiss chocolate are always available. But Kopp’s makes a couple of different flavors every single day of the year. One of our fondest memories of long ago is of Caramel Apple with mixed nuts that was the featured attraction August 31st, 1995; on September 26, 2000, we savored German Chocolate Cake, with caramel, coconut, fudge and walnut chunks; and when we were lucky enough to pass through on January 17, 2002, the featured flavor was “Trois Chocolate,” a ménage of white chocolate, dark chocolate, and Swiss chocolate custards. Flavors of the day for April 15, 2017, were butter pecan and red velvet cake. On April 23, 2020, it was Cherry Amaretto Cheesecake. At the Kopp’s website, you can sign up for a flavor alert that lets you know when your favorite will be featured. Kopp’s turtle sundae is one of the best in the Midwest.
In addition to the Port Washington Road Location, Kopp’s has locations at 18880 Bluemound Rd. in Brookfield and 7631 W. Layton Ave., in Greenfield.