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In Dining

In Dining

In Dining

Miss Katie's recreates down-home diner vibe


What do food network diva Rachael Ray, former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, Sen. John Kerry, and former President Bill Clinton all have in common? They've all rubbed elbows with Milwaukeeans at Miss Katie's Diner, 1900 W. Clybourn St. A Milwaukee mainstay, Miss Katie's is unphased by the work on the Marquette interchange and still draws a healthy daily breakfast, lunch and dinner crowd.

Decked out in bright retro yellows and red, with Marquette memorabilia from the early years through today scattered over the walls, Miss Katie's offers a down-home diner look and feel, from the tops of the stainless steel doorframes down to the waitresses' old fashioned bobby socks.

Breakfasts at the Clybourn Street diner include plate-covering fresh omelets with toast and Pitch's famous homemade hash browns (the two restaurants are sister venues owned by Peter "Pitch" Picciurro and company). I recommend the bacon and cheddar cheese version ($6.50), stuffed about two inches high with crisp pieces of hot, smoked bacon beneath a thick layer of melted cheese.

As a lazy day breakfast stop, Miss Katie's is perfect because you can top off your meal with a leisurely game of shuffleboard bowling and a bloody mary if you so desire, or hang out and catch the games on one of multiple TVs.

Miss Katie's lunch and dinner menus offer good sized, reasonably priced portions of traditional greasy spoon fare including burgers, sandwiches, meatloaf, ribs, chicken and pork, and the dinner menu highlights popular "blue plate specials"

Miss Katie's is not five-star dining, but it's good for greasy cravings or just-like-mom-used-to-make stick to your ribs eating. Service is friendly and attentive, and the bartenders are some of the technically best and most conversant in town; don't hesitate to order a muddled brandy old-fashioned sweet or a perfect whiskey manhattan at Miss Katie's.

On a recent lunch visit, three of us shared a basket of shredded onion rings ($5.25), which arrived with a wispy batter, and were crisply fried to perfection. My companion sampled the Pitch's Bar-B-Q rib sandwich ($6.75) a bun piled high with tender rib meat covered in Pitch's bar-b-q sauce, and a side of crisp french fries. Pitch's bar-b-q sauce is hearty and just a little sweet and tangy, just enough to give your mouth that little savory tingle.

The tuna melt ($6.75) was served on grilled whole wheat bread with melted cheddar cheese, but it spent a little too much time on the grill for my taste. The tuna salad was a healthy portion, topped with melted cheddar, but the too crisp edges of one of my sandwich halves detracted from the flavor. Thankfully, I had again opted for the homemade hash browns as my side, which never disappoint. Lightly salted and perfectly browned, they are a potato eater's delight.

We found Friday's featured haddock sandwich ($6.75) disappointing and bland, although the clam chowder that accompanied it was creamy and flavorful and thankfully, filling, since the sandwich was something to leave plate side once another portion of crisp french fries were gobbled up.

One of the best reasons to stop at Miss Katie's diner is to hop up on one of their stools with an old-fashioned malt, shake, sundae or yes, even a piece of pie, and wax nostalgia for the diner days. It may not actually be Flo or the Fonz behind the bar, but if you let your imagination go far enough and take in the décor and the wait staff in costume, you can envision yourself back in the 1950s in this timeless Milwaukee hotspot.

Miss Katie's is open Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Friday, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Smoking is permitted; limited vegetarian options. The diner offers shuttle bus service to all home Bucks and Marquette basketball games. Catering available for any events. For more information, call (414) 344-0044.

Talkbacks

FJblogger | April 1, 2013 at 12:50 p.m. (report)

This is definitely a great place to bring the family, and you never know who you're going to see!

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johanna | Nov. 3, 2007 at 2:58 p.m. (report)

This was by far, the worst diner I've visited in the midwest. The servers had less-than friendly attitudes and were eating and talking with each other amongst the guests; even so far as one server following another to her occupied table as to not interupt the converstaion. The portions weren't anything to talk about and the food wasn't anything special. For the two of us that went to have eggs, the bill was over $26. They charged $2 for each soda refill without giving us a head's up and a cup of diner coffee is $2. The table wasn't fully set, so we had to steal spoons from the neighboring table, they didn't provide jam for toast etc. The ho hum service, ho hum food, and the rediculous pricing completely negated any possibility for charm of it being a 50's diner.

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OMCreader | Feb. 4, 2006 at 1:38 a.m. (report)

Tim said: It's really sad other people from bars around the area are posting the negative things........presidents have been to this place, Ben Kinglsey is a regular (yes the academy award winner) and many of the major players in Milwaukee go here REGULARLY. The food is great, the atmosphere is awesome and the owner will treat you like you are apart of his family. So please don't listen to all this, it's one of the best kept secrets in Milwaukee. If it was so bad, why do all these important people go and why is it packed all the time........??? I'll tell you why, others are jealous that they can be normal people treating people they way the should.......go to miss katies and try it out!!!

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OMCreader | Jan. 18, 2006 at 7:22 p.m. (report)

Peter Pitch said: The comments by cairo are out of line

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OMCreader | June 30, 2005 at 9:07 a.m. (report)

Bay View Hopper said: Actually I was only there one time, and everyone in there was a salesman from one tech company or another. Drinks were overpriced, and food was greasy. Bush went there.

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