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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014

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In Dining

The Cruise has one of the longest bars I've seen in a while.

In Dining

The current building is about 5 years old and replaced a previous tavern that stood on the site for decades.

In Dining

Sorry for the grainy photo, but you have to see the size of this walleye filet.

In Dining

The Cruise's pizza is beloved in Tichigan and nearby Waterford.

In Dining

At night, this sign is a beacon for hungry folks on North Lake Drive.

Sail down to Tichigan for a stellar fish fry at The Cruise


Ever on the lookout for a great fish fry, I got wind of a place southwest of the city that couldn't be beat. So, the Friday before Christmas, I hopped in the car and fled the shores of Lake Michigan for the shores of Tichigan Lake.

The Cruise Bar and Restaurant, 28747 N. Lake Dr. in Tichigan, isn't exactly on the water, but it's close. And regardless of the season or its location, there's a warm breeze every day in the form of husband and wife owners Chris and Linda Dzik.

In a five-year-old building on the site of what has long been a Tichigan tavern, the Dzik's serve up a gargantuan fish fry, alongside extremely popular pizzas and a full menu of apps, salads, sandwiches, soups and some comfort food entrees like meatloaf, brisket and chicken parmesan.

The current building was built alongside the old place, which was demolished once the new home was complete. In the lobby there are photos of the area and the previous building, which served Tichigan residents and holiday-goers for decades.

Dzik tells me that he intended to get the new place going and then sell it, but the tanking economy altered that planned retirement. Their loss, however, might be Tichigan's gain. And ours.

It's about a 30-minute drive to The Cruise, where you will likely be greeted with a smile and a chat from Linda Dzik. Her husband is also a down-to-earth guy with the gift of the gab. They also have the gift of the fish fry (and pizza).

In a giant open space that suggests a reclaimed and updated country barn – with one of the lengthiest bars I've seen in a long time – (though it's not that at all), the Dzik's serve up the biggest and best walleye fry I've had.

A full-sized dinner plate cannot contain the 12-ounce beer battered (or broiled) walleye filet, which is moist, flaky and delicious.

Add some really good potato pancakes (or pub fries, sweet potato fries, garlic mashed potatoes, cup of soup or salad), rye, a yummy agro-dolce slaw and tartar and you've got a meal fit for a true fish fry aficionado and one worth every single penny of the $15 tariff.

My dining companion decided to find out why The Cruise is legendary around Tichigan and Waterford for its pizza and took advantage of the fact that the restaurant will split your pizza in up to four quarters to let you sample different versions.

There are 11 different pizzas on the menu. We choose half a margherita and half apple goat cheese with pecans, red onions, olive oil and balsamic.
I preferred the sweet and sour of the apple goat cheese, though it was a little heavy on the onions. My companion, a margherita devotee, was more than satisfied with that half and its Roma tomatoes, fresh basil and olive oil.

Perhaps best of all, The Cruise has a great vibe with friendly owners and staff, a festive atmosphere that is family friendly.

On the first visit we left the kids home. But for the next stop, we'll need a bigger table.


Talkbacks

kxw002 | Jan. 6, 2012 at 8:34 a.m. (report)

My wife and I have been going to the cruise for years . Chris and Linda are a welcome change to the impersonal restaurants we visited in the past . We especially like to go there for packer games where the pizza is free during the first quarter. We have had most of the items on the menu and have never been disappointed

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