Uncle Wolfie’s Breakfast Tavern is, as the name promises, an early riser with a full bar. It’s a perfect place for people who want to process a full plate of meat and sides with several cocktails before noon. It’s good for grabbing a beer or an old fashioned, but just as good when used as a recuperative, coffee-fueled, on-the-road breakfast or lunch.
The pulled pork tostada is the best attempt at a breakfast salad we’ve ever seen — a refreshing break from our usual Milwaukee cheese and sausage diet. A crisp tortilla shell is layered with tender chili-braised pork shoulder that is buried under a pile of lettuce with grilled vegetables and black beans and topped with a sunnyside up egg, cotija cheese, and a touch of sour cream. The flavors run cool rather than spicy, and the egg and sour cream form a sort of dressing on the lettuce, making this dish come together as you eat.
Wanting something with local flair, we look to the lunch menu’s over-the-top cheese sandwich, the Griddled Cheese Kessler. This fills a hoagie roll with sharp cheddar and muenster and an overflow of beer cheese sauce. The menu suggests adding an egg, which adds some bite to the messy cheese that oozes everywhere.
Fries that come with sandwiches are crisp and well-seasoned, but tavern potatoes are more interesting. These are crisp smashed potatoes with a dusting of tamarind powder to add ketchup-like twang.
The best thing to order is a burger. A Hamburger with Cheese is a double stack of thin, dark griddled patties covered with melted American cheese, balsamic caramelized onions, and a Thousand Islands riff that the menu calls “fancy sauce.” It is a classic American burger treated with reverence and restraint from an ambitious, skilled chef. Like the Breakfast Tavern itself, the burger is a harmonious blend of 21st century creativity and 20th century wisdom.