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In Dining

Bavette La Boucherie brings back the feeling of an old-time butcher shop, with a cafe that offers fresh lunch and dinner options.

In Dining

The rooftop dining at Cafe Benelux is worth seeking out when the weather is right.

In Dining

Joe and Angie Sorge worked with Flux Design to create the Third Ward's Swig.

Third Ward dining guide

Note: The contents of this guide were checked for accuracy when this article was updated on Aug. 28, 2013 at 9:00 a.m. We continually update the thousands of articles on, 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.

These days, dining options are as plentiful as fashion boutiques and galleries in the Historic Third Ward. From the fun and casual Milwaukee Ale House to the upscale fashionings of Chef Dan Van Rite at Hinterland, there are myriad options to please your palate in Milwaukee's Arts & Fashion District.

Bavette La Boucherie
330 E. Menomonee St. (414) 334-0538

Step into Bavette and you'll be immediately transported to a time when butchery was a time-honored tradition. Chef Karen Bell honors the art of nose-to-tail butchery by sourcing and custom cutting meat from whole animals raised on small, local farms. The shop features fresh house-made sausages, locally made charcuterie, and Wisconsin cheese. Meanwhile, the café offers daily soup and sandwich specials, along with charcuterie and cheese boards, a selection of local beers and a carefully curated wine selection.

Bourbon & Tunns Tavern
221 N. Broadway (414) 298-3000

Open for lunch and dinner, Bourbon & Tunns serves up Midwestern style fare with a southern flair. Lunch is a pleasure when you consider their fine selection of salads and sandwiches featuring locally inspired ingredients. But, dinner shines just as brightly. Whether it's almond crusted walley, broiled venison chops, or mushroom gnocchi, you're sure to find something on the menu that pleases. Whiskey lovers will be impressed by their extensive bourbon selection.

Bella Caffé
189 N. Milwaukee St., (414) 273-5620
Perched at the corner of Milwaukee and Chicago Streets, Bella is a great morning, noon or late night stop. Featured lunch items include made-from-scratch soups that change daily. They've also got salads, quiche and more. They brew Alterra coffee, pour Rishi tea and serve wonderful desserts for your post-theater, spa or shopping pleasure.

C. Adam's Bakery
Milwaukee Public Market, 400 N. Water St., (414) 271-1871
Butter toffee brownies, orchard fresh streusel bars, toasted white chocolate coconut cream pie and amazing Wisconsin cookies with real maple syrup. These are just of few of the irresistible items featured at C. Adam's Bakery inside the Milwaukee Public Market. Owner Lisa Crum's passion for creating decadent desserts sparked at the tender age of 14 when her grandmother gave her some candy molds as a gift. Things took off from there. Local chocoholics will certainly recall Sweet Perks, Crum's former bakery in Wauwatosa, and her award-winning brownies.

Café Benelux
346 N. Broadway, (414) 223-2185
Café Benelux features roof top seating and a European-style market, in addition to its café, restaurant and bar options. Inspired by the Benelux region, the café features regional fare like mussels, pannenkoeken, and frites, along with a wide selection of Belgian style brews. Stop in for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or brunch on the weekend. They also feature a grab n' go menu featuring muffins, fruit, sandwiches and more.

Café La Scala
631 E. Chicago St., (414) 223-2185
Café La Scala (formerly the Italian Community Center Ristorante) is a public restaurant inside the semi-private ICC that serves great food -- Italian and non-Italian -- in a casual, friendly atmosphere. Stop in for dinner or grab a pizza or Panini at lunch.

Club Charlies
320 E. Menomonee St., (414) 763-8548
Club Charlies serves up pretty good bar food in a city that's known for its pub fare. From chicken fingers and Mozzarella sticks to burgers and steaks, Charlies offers a little bit of something for everyone. Vegetarian options include a variety of sandwiches and pasta options. Check out their web site for great weekly specials like Big Meat Wednesdays when a half-pound beef filet is just $12.99.

Colectivo Coffee
170 S. 1st St., (414) 765-9873

Colectivo (formerly Alterra) is a Milwaukee staple. While they offer a limited food menu, what they do have is tasty and bakery delivered fresh from their Bay View location. Choose from soups, sandwiches, burritos and daily quiche specials. Of course, the real star at Colectivo is the coffee. With the exception of the lakefront location, there's arguably no better Colectivo location than in the Third Ward.

Coquette Café
316 N. Milwaukee St., (414) 291-2655
The dark wood, mirrored back bar and glowing gold walls invite you in to experience top quality and unassuming fare that you might find in the home kitchens of French grandmothers. But, no need to travel that far. Just venture to the Landmark Building for authentic bistro fare. The flatbread pizzas are delightful and always be sure to request the pommes frites with aioli as your sandwich side.

177 N. Broadway 3rd Fl. (414) 225-9800
It doesn't matter if you're looking for a quiet night out with your sweetie or a party with girlfriends, look no further than Cuvee. Specializing in fine champagne, the lounge also offers a full-service smoke-free bar, cheese plates and truffles.

Cynthia's International Home Cooking
221 N. Water St. (414) 283-9244
Enjoy international home cooking on the riverside patio at this little spot positioned along Milwaukee's Riverwalk. Open for dining during breakfast and lunch, Cynthia's features an always changing menu of tacos, soup, salad, sandwiches and packaged take-out dinners. Be sure to try Fernando's specialty salsas.

Hinterland Erie Street Gastropub
222 E. Erie St., (414) 727-9300
Hinterland, a Green Bay original, opened its second location in Milwaukee's Third Ward in Fall 2007. The fine dining restaurant features fresh wild game and seafood as well as an affinity for locally grown, fresh produce. Menu changes are made daily and seasonally. Patrons have the option of either a fine dining room or the more casual lounge. Be sure to check out their daily lounge specials, which include dishes like house-made pho, sausages and tacos.

Hudson Business Lounge
310 N Broadway (414) 220-9460

The Hudson is a co-working space/office space for working folks with non-traditional office situations. However, the espresso lounge/wine bar connected to the facility is open to the public and offers coffee, beer, wine, assorted baked goods and breakfast items. For those seeking a bite to eat after work, there are plenty of options including a variety of flatbreads, light bites, cheese plates, and desserts. The lounge is open until 11 p.m. on weekends.

The Irish Pub
124 N. Water St., (414) 225-9400
Aiming to replicate the warmth, comfort and wit of pubs in Ireland, the Irish Pub offers traditional food in a traditional setting. The menu combines Irish classics with American bar style cuisine, offering subtle changes to American classics such as Jameson Whiskey wings, Irish nachos and Corned Beef Sandwiches. Though not visible from the street, the Irish Pub has a large interior courtyard for outdoor seating. Check out the daily drink specials.

207 E. Buffalo St., (414) 271-7788

Jing's, the only Chinese restaurant in the Third Ward, serves authentic, homemade dishes available for carry out, delivery, catering and dine in. It opens daily at 11:30 a.m. for a lunch buffet.

408 E. Chicago St., (414) 220-1155
If you're a lover of sushi and Asian fare, Kanpai is one to try. Chefs Marcus Lee and Andy Park have put together a menu that will challenge your typical sushi experience. You'll find a menu chock-full of Asian specialties, including Japchae, Bulgogi, and Bibimbop, as well as artful and creative sushi, rolls, and sashimi options. Open for lunch and dinner.

Kasana Cafe
241 N. Broadway, (414) 224-6158
Part and parcel of a space that houses a kitchen collective and events space, the Kasana Café offers American lunch and dinner specialties inspired by Argentinian and Brazilian cuisine, including empanadas, sandwiches, soups and salads.

Milwaukee Ale House
233 N. Water St., (414) 226-2337
Craft brews, live music, great bar food and one of the city's best patios make the Ale House a favorite stop. Louie's Demise, Pullchain Pail Ale, Sheepshead Stout ... ale's what will cure ya at the Milwaukee Ale House. Swing night is Tuesday and late nights on Thursday rock with serious karaoke.

Milwaukee Cupcake Company
316 N. Milwaukee St., (414) 467-9957
Mmmmm ... cupcakes. The name pretty much sums it up: this is Milwaukee's newest one-stop cupcake shop, offering regular sized and mini 'cakes in a variety of flavors, including those named for Milwaukee neighborhoods and suburbs.

Milwaukee Public Market
400 N. Water St., (414) 289-3107
We highlighted C. Adam's above, but don't forget that while the market isn't meant to be a suburban food court, it's full of wonderful dining options such as Aladdin, Sushi-A-Go-Go, The Green Kitchen, St. Paul Fish Company and Margarita Paradise. Shop, eat, drink and sample!

Milwaukee Sail Loft
649 E Erie St., (414) 223-0100
Located in the former Riptide location, Milwaukee Sail Loft offers upscale seafood dining with an emphasis on fresh. Aside from the masses of seafood, Milwaukee Sail Loft has a build-a-burger option that's customizable down to three different kinds of meat or a portabella mushroom.

Nuovo Centanni
218 N. Water St., (414) 221-6565
This is the kind of piano bar Sinatra would have frequented. The candlelit ambiance and smooth live music (jazz, blues, rock n' roll, top 40 - and they take requests!) will have you feeling like a VIP. And the price is right with 80's Wednesdays, Ladies Night Thursdays, Wine "O" Fridays and Superstar Saturdays drink specials.

Smoke Shack
332 N. Milwaukee St., (414) 431-1119
They're pretty serious about their BBQ here. Offering only hormone and antibiotic-free meats, dry-rubbed and slow-smoked, you can pick your own sauces. They also have delectable vegetarian options for those who want meat-free, like the roasted portobello sandwich or barbequed seitan. And the desserts will make your mouth water: gooey bacon bourbon brownies, seasonal fruit crumble, and purple door whiskey ice cream, just to name a few.

Red Elephant Chocolate Third Ward Cafe
332 N. Milwaukee St., (414) 431-1119
It's not your traditional café, but if you're a chocolate lover, it may just be the place you want to be. In addition to gourmet chocolates (including bars, truffles, and other delights), you can sample chocolate pastries, micro-roasted South American coffee, and drinking chocolate. The café offers minimal seating for those who wish to taste and linger.

Riverfront Pizzeria Bar and Grill
509 E. Erie St., (414) 277-1800
In a city full of many fine pizza options, Milwaukee's Third Ward has found, thanks to Greendale's Ricardo's Pizza (the owners of Riverfront Pizzeria), another great pizza and a new, cozy family-style restaurant that's sure to please for years to come.

Rustico Pizzeria
223 N. Water St., (414) 220-9933
Rustico is a gourmet pizza restaurant opened by Brian Zarletti. The setting is casual, and the menu also offers a smattering of sandwiches, salads and pastas. In the warm months, both tiers of the Riverwalk patio are still available for scenic dining.

SPIN Milwaukee
233 E. Chicago St., (414) 831-7746
Imagine 13 table tennis courts in 16,500 square feet of space. Now combine that with a casual bar and restaurant that serves lunch and dinner daily. You've probably got a prescription for something pretty fun, right? In between slinging ping-pong balls, take a break to enjoy a wide variety of appetizers, sandwiches and salads – all available for dine-in or carry-out.

217 N. Broadway, (414) 431-7944
Swig's move into the Third Ward meant more than just a change in location. The award winning upscale-casual restaurant brought with it a new menu and a new look. Featuring both small plates and entrees, Swig's menu is guaranteed to satisfy customers with a fresh take on casual dining. Small plates include bruschetta, skewers, salads and seafood. Entrees focus mainly on seafood but include beef tenderloin, chicken and pasta options, too. With an exceptional menu, classy setting as well as an extensive wine, beer and martini list, Swig has found a lasting niche in the Third Ward.

364 E. Erie St., (414) 272-5353
Opened in summer 2007, Tulip brings the first taste of Turkish Mediterranean food to Milwaukee. The menu offers a wide variety of lamb, chicken and beef entrees as well as seafood and pasta dishes. Appetizers include favorites such as grape leaves, hummus, feta cheese rolls and eggplant puree.

Verduras Tea House & Cafe
181 N. Broadway, (414) 224-6144
Verduras is made for a Milwaukee morning. Whether you're grabbing a muffin and a cup of hot tea on your way into work, grabbing a bite during a leisurely business meeting or settling in for a relaxing weekend lunch, this vegetarian café has something special. The shop offers a wide variety of Rishi teas, as well as seasonal salad, sandwich and soup offerings. Ingredients are organic and local whenever possible, and even the salad dressings are made from scratch.

Water Buffalo
249 N. Water St., (414) 431-1133
Water Buffalo combines the relaxation of a casual contemporary eatery with up close and personal views of the Milwaukee River. Opened in 2007, the foodstuffs served up by chef Frank Ortlieb are a new take on classic bar favorites. The menu offers salads, sandwiches and entrees while the location offers patrons the option of seating along the Riverwalk.

The Wicked Hop
345 N. Broadway, (414) 223-0345
Miles and Andy O'Neil's space inside one of the Third Ward's oldest buildings has what they describe as "an Old World feel." Architects Vetter Denk and contractor Shawn Wardall preserved the look but added contemporary tweaks like a cool loft dining space, flat screens and the Jackalope Lounge live music space just to the south. Hop's food is bar standard with an upscale twist. Wash your food down with a tap of Father Damien's Belgian Wit from Harbor City or one of their award-winning Bloody Marys. It's oh so good.


elftone | June 7, 2010 at 5:48 p.m. (report)

Hey what's going on with the old M.J's. building? It's been gutted for weeks now and stands empty. Any news on the Smoke Shack? Sure miss the deck.

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Yield | May 25, 2010 at 7:25 a.m. (report)

coquette cafe is always great.

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niki333 | May 22, 2010 at 4:05 p.m. (report)

Palms Bistro is an absolute GEM, especially since they've been under new management - they haven't had those ridiculous monkeys on the walls in 3+ years! Your blurb seriously undermines a restaurant deserving of praise. A top-quality, global fusion restaurant, Palms Bistro offers exquisite taste and beautiful presentation. Milwaukeeans: Take note! You won't be disappointed!

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MKEChiliBar | May 18, 2010 at 12:42 p.m. (report)

We would also like to make one important addition to the Third Ward Dining Guide. Soon, Chili Lili's Chili Bar will be opening at 525 E Menomonee (the corner of Jackson and Menomonee). More details soon!

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TheyThink | May 18, 2010 at 11:39 a.m. (report)

Jing's is without a doubt a hidden gem in Milwaukee. Best Chinese by far. Ask for their "secret" menu.

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