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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Monday, Oct. 20, 2014

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New to me: Robert's Tavern and Erv's Mug


In an effort to shed my "doesn't like change" reputation, I've been working on expanding my dining horizons lately. In addition to checking out new restaurants, I'm also looking at some old standbys that, for whatever reason, I have yet to patronize.

In the last two weeks, I visited two restaurants that many have recommended: Robert's Tavern, 4301 S. Howell Ave., and Erv's Mug, 130 W. Ryan Rd. Both were far from fancy, but featured good, solid food and interesting ambience to boot.

At Robert's, I ordered the corned beef sandwich, which was almost on par with Benji's or Jake's Deli. My wife had the fish fry and reported that she really liked it. Beyond the food, I enjoyed the décor at Robert's, which had a cozy, Old World feel to it. People throw around the phrase "turn of the century craftsmanship" a lot in Milwaukee, but if it should just be reserved for one place, it's Robert's. The bill came out quite reasonable, and I expect to be back.

I checked out Erv's Mug with my parents and grandma, and despite a rather smoky bar that one has to walk through to get to the dining room, it proved for another nice and inexpensive dinner. Before visiting Erv's, I knew only two things about it: the wait staff has a friendly reputation, and the portions are huge. And that's true on both counts.

None of us ordered anything too exotic that night. I had the French dip, my dad had a big burger, my mom had a cheeseburger, and my grandma ordered a tuna melt. The server was prompt and attentive, and especially kind to my 90-year-old grandmother. Bigger isn't always better when it comes to portions, but while not spectacular, our dinners were quite good. Well above average, I'd say.

I'll be back to both South Side restaurants -- hopefully soon. But not before I check out a few more places on the "gotta try" list. Any suggestions for my next out-of-the-way but awesome diamond in the rough? Please let me know.


Talkbacks

shawnindagrove | Oct. 16, 2007 at 2:50 a.m. (report)

Come down to Union Grove. Old Settlers is a great place to eat. The French Dip is out of this world and the Friday Chicken/Fish Fry can't be beat.

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arks00 | Oct. 15, 2007 at 9:19 p.m. (report)

Roberts is about 3 blocks west of me on bolivar and I do enjoy the cozy atmosphere and food as well. Andy, have you tried Crabby's on Oklahoma and KK(across from the Subway and Starbucks, SE corner). It is run by an older couple and I cant say enough how good of an experience I have had there the few times I went. It never seems to be crowded, the bar is nice and the dining area is decent too (nothing fancy about the decor, but its clean and worthy.) I have not personally had the seafood there yet, but I have heard from other diners I have eaten with that the scallops are excellent and the other stuff on the menu is great too. I had the soups and two huge pork chops for a very reasonable price. It was very good. The thing I like most about the place is the fact that the couple are the only ones running it. The wife cooks all the food by herself, and the husband tends bar and helps with the serving. I suggest you try it out if you have not already, atleast for the experience and "homey" feel to it. I love eating at establishments that are completely run by the owners from cooking to tending bar. I cant imagine all the stories the guy could tell someone sitting at that bar. Try it out! B

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brenda_starr | Oct. 15, 2007 at 8:47 p.m. (report)

For an unbelievable luncheon experience, try the German lunches at O'Keefe's House of Hamburg one door south of the Landmark tavern on Howell. Home made lunches are served from 11a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday and Saturday, along with an impressive array of draught European beers. You can also get fantastic ribs on Thursday nights.

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a_noid | Oct. 15, 2007 at 4:30 p.m. (report)

If you have not been to 3 brothers you must go. If you have not tried Gold Rush chicken you have to order that some night too. We discovered Robert's and these other places after becoming east side transplants into Bay View (the better East Side Ha-Ha). Roberts ice cream drinks are good and cheap. Just like everything else there.

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