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In Dining Blogs

The moment AJ Bombers is announced as the winner (photo: Pete Fanning).

In Dining Blogs

The scene outside the Water St. bar (photo: Pete Fanning).

In Dining Blogs

The author, along with Bombers owner Joe Sorge (photo: Scott Baitinger).

AJ Bombers, FTW


October is the fourth-annual Dining Month on OnMilwaukee.com. All month, we're stuffed with restaurant reviews, delicious features, chef profiles, unique articles on everything food, as well as the winners of our "Best of Dining 2010."

The wonderful world of Twitter has brought a lot of things into my life. Friends, experiences, advice, an occasional stalker, this job and AJ Bombers.

I first stepped into AJ Bombers a little over a year ago to plan the very first Bloody Brunch, a gathering forged from Twitter friends and followers, which raises money for blood-related charities while sipping on the city's finest Bloody Mary concoctions. AJ Bombers was our venue of choice after seeing many a TwitPic showing off their version of the classic Mary, the "Bloody Bomber" which arrives complete with a slice of their now famous burger as a garnish. We gathered in a wooden booth with peanut bombs flying above and met with owner Joe Sorge. We were sold.

The food is fun, not fussy. The menu is filled with Twitter-tested and tweep approved fare, and an always evolving specials board advertises some of the most creative ingredient combinations you've ever laid your peepers on. The ambiance is a signed permission slip to act like a kid again. Playful metal bombs soar in your direction on tracks overhead, depositing just the right amount of salted shells at your table. While you study the plethora of names inscribed on the walls and chairs, most with an '@' before them, you absentmindedly toss your peanut shells onto the floor and decide you will, just this once, order an ice cream cookie sandwich for dessert. Or maybe a root beer float. Or both. When in Rome and all that.

But the best part of AJ Bombers is the people. Joe and his wife, Angie, have created a restaurant that is a safe haven for those of us who have taken a liking to this new wonkey world of social networking. There is a quote on the front door that states "Where everybody knows your name. Well, at least your Twitter name." It's true. AJ Bombers is my "Cheers." I may not stop in every day, but through Twitter we keep tabs on each other's daily doings.

New friendships are forged each day on Twitter, with the knowledge you'll soon meet in real life, and odds are it'll happen at AJ Bombers. Tweet-ups, gatherings planned, advertised and RSVP'd on Twitter, are the norm around these parts. They could be planned months in advance or spontaneously combust into a gathering after a long work week. One can always log into Twitter and check out who's planning on indulging in some Bomber fare or who's already saddled up to the bar swigging a PBR.

AJ Bombers has taken the Tweet-up concept and molded it into a statue of greater good. They generously donate portions of their profit on a regular basis to causes close to our hearts. From cancer awareness benefits to chipping in to save a tweep's family home from foreclosure, to raising a little extra cash to help a child experience a trip abroad, the Sorges have opened their doors and their hearts.

Thus, I wasn't surprised to see a packed house (and sidewalk, and tent) on Wednesday night for the latest Tweet-up, the premier of the Travel Channel's "Food Wars" battle for Milwaukee's best burger. We came out in droves five long months ago for the taping of the episode and you betchya we were going to celebrate the debut and collectively cross our fingers for a win.

AJ Bombers made us proud and did so in style. Inside the restaurant was a packed house with everyone anxiously gathered around the various television screens enjoying peanuts and good company. Outside a ginormous tent was erected on the north side of the building and housed an additional super-sized screen. A red carpet complete with a "Food Wars" themed step and repeat and photographer wasn't lost on this celebrity loving gal. Free mixed drinks were poured courtesy of the delicious YES Vodka and giant samples of the winning burger were passed out to our taste bud's delight.

When AJ Bombers was announced as the winner, the crowd went nuts. Literally. Peanuts and hands were tossed in the air to the tune of "victory" and hugs were no longer limited to close friends. I'm pretty certain our elated screams could be heard all the way across town to Sobleman's, who came out of the battle with a "L" in their cheeseburger corner. After the outcome was revealed, Joe Sorge proudly uncovered a small section of the step and repeat to reveal the word "CHAMPION!" and posed with the well deserved "Food Wars" fork trophy. If seeing our beloved Bombers win with a unanimous decision wasn't enough, out came the T-shirts. Yep, that's right. Free "Food Wars" Champion t-shirts for everyone in attendance. Rock on!

An after party a few doors down at BarNone involved zero arm twisting. We were on a happy high and didn't want it to end. Witnessing the success and validation of such a remarkable local business and amazing couple with 200 of your closest friends, all of which you met on a little Web site called Twitter is an experience like no other.

AJ Bombers is a champion. That's something we didn't need a television network to tell us.


Talkbacks

milROCKeeguy | Oct. 30, 2010 at 7:42 p.m. (report)

And sorry OMC, just one more thing to add. It is amazing what they did with social media. I love that aspect about AJ Bombers. It's an amazing, fun place to grab a beer and hang out. But for me, the better burger is Sobelman's. MY OPINION. Thanks for letting us 'talkback' about this topic, and letting it go into another direction.

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milROCKeeguy | Oct. 30, 2010 at 7:39 p.m. (report)

SANDSTORM, just posted something about Mr./Mrs. Omnibot before I read your comment. Thanks...and agreed. HA. Maybe he/she is like Prince, because he/she goes by one name.

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milROCKeeguy | Oct. 30, 2010 at 7:35 p.m. (report)

Yes Omnibot, I know what FTW is, and was...it's called a joke. But for someone to write "At least with twitter you know who you are dealing with (for the most part)" has no clue what they're talking about, that's why you try to cover your *** with "for the most part." You have no idea who you are dealing with, as they are made up names "for the most part (not including 'verified' accounts)." I'm pretty sure you don't go by 'Omnibot' around the city. If you do, I'm sorry?? I use Twitter daily and no, you're right, it doesn't make you a social retard. BUT, people can write and feel whatever they want ABOUT whatever they want. So if they think we are social retards, good for them, we can think what we want about them, far behind. That's the beauty of all of this. Are you going to lose sleep at night because a rando person you don't know called you a social retard?

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brewcityburrito | Oct. 20, 2010 at 3:17 p.m. (report)

Don't let the door hit you on the butt, Rabid.

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rabid652 | Oct. 20, 2010 at 3:11 p.m. (report)

Bye bye, OnMilwaukee. Off to search for more grown up reading not overrun by twitter snobs. The last straw was the jag off saying us "normal" folk aren't welcome at their Water St. establishment. Really? A Water St. fist pumping d bag is going us loyal OMC readers where and where not to go? What a f'ing joke.

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