Finding dinner and theater under the same roof in Milwaukee
We have big theaters and little theaters, fancy theaters and storefront theaters in Milwaukee. We don't have a regularly producing dinner theater.
However, that doesn't mean you can't get dinner with your theater, under the same roof, in Brew City. Two of our largest live stage venues, the Milwaukee Rep's Baker Theater Complex and the Skylight Music Theatre's Broadway Theatre Center, will feed you a meal before a show, snacks at intermission and a sandwich, pizza or dessert after the curtain call. They will also keep you well lubricated with soft and hard drinks, of course.
Both locations are seeing changes in the new year, with the Skylight Bar and Bistro on the second floor of the Broadway Theatre Center experiencing the biggest. Indulge, the sleek Milwaukee Street wine bar that serves artisan cheeses, pork and poultry charcuterie, and fine chocolates, took over food and beverage operations in January. Kafevino, which was located around the corner from the Broadway Theatre Center on Menomonee Street, was providing service before it closed late last year.
Indulge is part of the Bianchini Experience, the hospitality group that also owns COA, Cubanitas and the currently homeless Osteria Del Mondo, and company co-owner Marta Bianchini is a member of the Skylight's board of directors. She stepped forward to fill the void when Kafevino was no longer able to supply the Skylight.
"I look at it as more of a promotional opportunity for us," Bianchini recently said, noting that the theater bar and bistro is not a big profit producer. "It also allows us to give back to the Skylight."
Indulge at the Skylight's menu offers more food options than its Milwaukee Street location. Full entrees, including the Osteria's popular spinach lasagna ($11), are served before curtain time when there is a show in the Cabot Theatre, the Broadway Theatre Center's larger performance space.
Soups include butternut squash and mushroom brie (both $5), and a Cobb salad is on the menu at $9. Another Osteria Del Mondo classic, beef carpaccio, is offered for $11.50, and two cheese and charcuterie plates from Indulge are priced at $10.
Several sandwiches, including Nueske's duck breast with swiss cheese and a side of apple chutney ($8), are available. You can also order a garden salad ($4.50), chocolate trifle opera cake ($5), vanilla bean cheesecake with raspberry coulis ($5), a red velvet cupcake ($2), chocolate truffles ($2.25), and such snack items as chips, nuts, and hummus and pretzels.
A full bar emphasizes wine by the glass ($5-$9) and the bottle ($20-$136). The wine is served in Riedel glasses, a new feature for the Skylight. A cappuccino machine has also been added to the bar.
Snacks and drinks are sold during intermission, and desserts are available during late night cabaret shows. On dates when only the Studio Theatre is booked, the menu shrinks, with sandwich wraps, snacks and desserts, as well as drinks, available in the lobby.
"We expect the experience to be just as high quality here as in our restaurants," Bianchini said. "We have a lot of catering experience." The Skylight bistro has a limited kitchen, and some of the food is prepared off premises.
Bianchini pledged that problems with previous operators at the bistro, including slow service and running out of food, would be eliminated.
Dinner reservations are not necessary, but theatergoers who make them at (414) 291-3773 or by emailing at firstname.lastname@example.org will be assured wait staff service. Walk-up customers place their orders at the bar.
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