German restaurant guide
Note: The contents of this guide were checked for accuracy when this article was updated on Aug. 19, 2008 at 5:59 a.m. We continually update the thousands of articles on OnMilwaukee.com, but it's possible some details, specials and offers may have changed. As always, we recommend you call first if you have specific questions for the businesses mentioned in the guide.
The wide variety of ethnic backgrounds that have tossed themselves into the salad bowl/melting pot that we call Milwaukee has contributed to a rich, diverse blend of restaurants.
In the 1800s and continuing well into the 1900s, the most populous, and influential, single group of immigrants came from Germany. Their influence lives on in the likes of the Miller Brewing Company, bratwurst, Teutonia Avenue, Schlitz Park, the Germania Building, the German-American Immersion School, Gemutlichkeit, and especially, German cuisine and the restaurants that serve it.
Despite the recent closing of John Ernst Café after 123 years of operation, Milwaukee still boasts a selection of impressive German restaurants, some of which are world-renowned. If the whole tofu-sushi-veggie-diet plate experience has left your palate begging for something more substantial, perhaps it's time to revisit the food that goes well with the approaching cold weather, heavy beer and Oktoberfest activities. Here is a short guide to some of Milwaukee's German restaurants.
700 W. Lexington, Glendale, (414) 964-0300
The Bavarian Inn serves as a restaurant and banquet facility and features a brand new menu and updated kitchen. Many a wedding reception has taken place here, especially if accordions are featured in the band. The dining room itself has a fireplace, stained glass windows and a bar offering a selection of German and other imported beer (15 on tap alone) and wine.
The new menu features liver dumpling soup, spinach salad with hot bacon dressing, schnitzels including wienerschnitzel (veal), hunters schnitzel (veal sautéed with tomato, onion and mushroom) jaegerschnitzel (veal sautéed with mushrooms and onions), hirschpfeffer (sweet and sour marinated venison with red peppers, mushrooms and onions served with spaetzle), jumbo pork with sauerkraut and potato dumplings, the Wild Game Sausage Platter (trio of sausages, usually venison, pheasant, wild boar, or the chef's choice) Beef Rouladen (sliced beef rolled with onion, bacon, mustard and pickle, braised and served with a beef sauce) and Austrian Wild Boar Stew (marinated and braised with wild mushrooms and onions in a red wine cream sauce).
Prices for dinner generally range from $12-16.
Hours: Tuesday-Friday, 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. for lunch, 5-9 p.m. for dinner; Saturdays, 5-9 p.m. (reservations required). Open for Sunday champagne brunch 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m.
Bavarian Wurst Haus
8310 W. Appleton Ave., (414) 464-0060
Germans dominated the north and northwest sides of town for many years (hence streets like Teutonia Avenue), and if you want to dine on German food in a traditional German dining atmosphere with linen tablecloths but you want to stick around the Northwest side, look no further than the Bavarian Wurst Haus.
Specialties include the schnitzels (there are five on the menu), over 25 kinds of sausage made in the kitchen and the pork, smoked right on the premises. Lunch prices range from $5.95 to around $8; dinners are usually $11-15.
The Bavarian Wurst Haus has a bar that offers 10 types of German beer on tap, and what they assert is the only German Chardonnay available in Milwaukee, which may be ordered by the glass or bottle. For musical accompaniment, Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights the Bavarian Wurst Haus features accordion music to complete the Teutonic dining experience.
The Bavarian Wurst Haus also has a gift shop and sausage shop where you can buy some of the sausages made on the premises. Hours: Tues-Thursday, 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sunday, 3-9:30 p.m.
2720 N. Grandview Blvd., Waukesha, (262) 544-4460
The Waukesha representative of the Weissgerber family of restaurants (others include the Golden Mast, Seven Seas, the Edelweiss, and Third Street Pier) is the Gasthaus. From outside to inside, there's no mistaking that this place is a German restaurant.
The extensive bar selections include over 55 different kinds of beer, primarily German and Wisconsin beers, including their House Weissgerber Amber. On Wednesdays, the "Stein Club" meets...Stein Club members get their own numbered stein the restaurant holds and serves to you with every beer. On Wednesdays, Stein Club members can drink their beer out of their steins for half-price. Wine Spectator magazine adorned the Gasthaus with the Award of Excellence for its wine list for the fourth straight year.
The Gasthaus is probably noted most for its Pork Shank, Wienerschnitzel, Stuffed Pork Chops, Beef Rouladen and Sauerbraten. Prices range from $7.50-12.50 for lunch, $16.95-24.50 for dinner.
Friday nights, the Gasthaus offers a fish fry that is spectacular. Icelandic cod, fries, potato pancakes, cole slaw, rye bread and potato salad. All-you-can-eat dinner for $11.50 or Walleye Pike for $14.95.
Hours: Lunch: Monday-Friday, 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Dinner: Monday-Thursday, 5-9 p.m., Fridays, 4:45-10 p.m., Saturdays, 5-10 p.m.
Golden Mast Inn
W349 N5253 Lacy's Lane, Okauchee, (262) 567-7047
Tucked into a cove overlooking part of Okauchee Lake, the Golden Mast offers perhaps the nicest view from any Milwaukee area German restaurant (try to get a window table). This 34-year-old restaurant is also adding a major new section to its building. There's a new Viennese-style courtyard with a European fountain, along with a new entrance and restrooms. The banquet area has been updated and enlarged.
Signature items include the Sauerbraten ($21.75), wienerschnitzel ($22.75), Roasted Duckling ($23.50), and their German Combination Platter (a humungous plate featuring weinerschnitzel, Kassler Ripchen (smoked pork chop), beef rouladen, and spaetzels, served with steamed red cabbage for $24.50). All dinners include soup, salad and bread.
The Golden Mast also features an incredibly delicious fish fry. The cod or walleye pike is all-you-can-eat and comes with cole slaw, potato salad, fries, rye bread and homemade potato pancakes, which costs $10.95, obviously on Fridays.
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 5-10 p.m., with a Sunday brunch featured from 11a.m.-2 p.m.
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Tom Corrigan said: Beware: Mader's "used" to have a wonderful Easter buffet that featured many of their German specialties. It has now turned into an Americanized buffet with "some" German food. For years our family looked forward to this buffet as an annual tradition. We stopped about three years ago. It's too bad
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