The Milwaukee public market is a delightful place. It’s clean, organized, and full of vendors that are extremely proud of their state’s products. It’s a food tripper’s perfect one-stop shop. The most attractive booth for us is the Foltz Market, which not only contains an exhaustive selection of deli salads, cuts of fresh meats and house-made sausages, but also is home of The Wurst Bar. This cozy little nook serves Wisconsin beers and the butcher counter’s sausages. It also has a brick oven to bake Wisconsin-style pizza (extra cheese comes standard).
Until 2017, the space was known as Nehring’s Family Market. The Nehrings were part of the first wave of vendors at the Public Market, and they first envisioned a Wisconsin-centric grocery deli with brick-oven pizza and house-made sausage. When the Nehring family retired, the acting manager of the shop, Ryan Foltz, bought it and changed the name, but kept the concept and recipes from his mentors.
House made sausage for pizza recalls classic pizza-shop crumbles, but tastes fresher and sports more complex spices. Like hearing an orchestra covering a pop standard, the pizza is an example of virtuous treatment of something simple. The pizza’s cheese is a thick blanket woven from several varieties of Wisconsin’s finest, practically snuffing out the sauce underneath.
Whole sausages served on pretzel buns offer a clearer picture of the butcher’s skill. The Milwaukee Brat is a soft, subtle take on Wisconsin style, like a sausage that you’d be served in a brasserie more than in a farmers market. It comes topped with fresh tomato and onion with a spear of dill pickle along with sauerkraut. It’s like this dog was taking a walk somewhere between Milwaukee and Chicago: a skilled bit of sausage making, but a bit deviant from the classic Wisconsin brat. The spices are too gentle.
Jalapeño sausage laced with pepperjack in the style of a kasewurst is an occasional special that shows off the butcher’s creativity. It is juicy and robust, the flavor of chile infusing every bite. On lucky bites, a pocket of pepper-jack cheese oozes out of the tube and on to that soft pretzel bun. These bites are some of the best in Wisconsin.