Certainly Chicago is pretty close to Milwaukee and it oughta be no surprise to see some Marquette sweatshirts on Michigan Avenue window shoppers, but a recent visit to the Windy City reminded me just how pervasive the Milwaukee-Chicago connection is even in one of America's largest cities.
On a whirlwind weekend, I visited a number of restaurants and bars and nearly every one had a Wisconsin connection. (I'm not naming places here because I'm writing a story about them that will run in a couple weeks and I don't want to ruin the surprise).
On Friday night, we visited a hoppin' restaurant with a burlesque show and live music and, it turned out, the director of operations commutes to his downtown Chicago gig on a daily basis from his home in Brookfield. He moved to town to open a chain restaurant in the 'burbs before opening a place in Walker's Point.
The next morning, we had a great down-home breakfast at an Old Town family restaurant. The highlight â€“ other than the food â€“ was chatting with the owner, who knows Milwaukee well, thanks to his many visits to Brew City as part of a rugby team and, wait for it, a children's philharmonic chorus.
Right after, I got a tour of the hotel where I stayed. The director of sales, whose surname is Braun, showed up in a Brewers jersey with her name on the back. Her husband â€“ wait for it â€“ Ryan, is from Madison and studied at the Medical College of Wisconsin here.
The latest issue of Michigan Avenue magazine on the coffee table in our hotel room had a full-page photo of Chef Paul Bartolotta at a recent truffle dinner in Chicago.
Later that day we visited the Art Institute to see the "Picasso and Chicago" show and marveled at the crowds enjoying the various dining options in the museum â€“ run by former Milwaukee chef and OnMilwaukee.com blogger Jason Gorman. And in the bookshop we saw a catalog for a small show the Art Institute did in 2007 on Milwaukee painters.
At a really awesome cocktail place that night our bartender said he visits Milwaukee pretty often. He's in a band that plays at the Cactus Club and has similarly musically inclined friends here, too.
We stopped in another place that night for a quick look around and a drink and we got a tour of the kitchen; a kitchen headed by a chef who got his start in the business as a server working his way through UW-Madison.
Sheesh, it's like we never even left town.
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Bobby Tanzilo
Published May 26, 2016
You've heard about the Fred Goll Mansion on Prospect Avenue in the news in recent months, but what of Henry G. Goll and his mansion on Kilbourn Avenue in Concordia? We went inside the house for a look at it and the story of its ill-fated namesake.
Published May 25, 2016
Today is National Wine Day - though I admit I celebrate this event considerably more than once a year - and it seems like the perfect time to share some of the wines I've been tasting lately.
Published May 24, 2016
Last year, we took you inside the Milwaukee Theater (formerly the Auditorium) and the Arena to get a look behind the scenes at these local landmarks. This time, we dig into the archives to find treasures from events held in those venues.
Published May 23, 2016
Pabst's return to the former brewery site - via a micro-brewery and tasting room in the former First German Methodist Church/Forst Keller restaurant - was projected to open by summer. But a fall 2016 opening is now more likely.
Published May 19, 2016
Nearby Chicago is the perfect place for a quick weekend getaway filled with, well, whatever you want, even if what you want is not a whole lot of planning, but just time to relax.
Published May 17, 2016
We got a peek inside the new Kimpton Journeyman Hotel, slated to open in the Third Ward this summer, including looks at the spaces that will host the Tre Rivali restaurant and the rooftop Outsider bar.
Published May 17, 2016
Typically, Milwaukee's oldest buildings reveal themselves readily. But sometimes, behind facades of glass and steel, you can find a portal into Brew City history. One such place is the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center, 325 W. Walnut St., a facility that glows like a new building.
Published May 16, 2016
To you, Julius La Rosa was the guy who was famously fired on the air by Arthur Godfrey. To me, he's that guy singing "Eh, Cumpari" and "Mama Rosa" on 45s I inherited from my grandmother. La Rosa died last week at age 86 ... in Crivitz.
Published May 12, 2016
While in the past, Milwaukee's Nineteen Thirteen drew on other talents, by the time it set out to record its new CD, Janet Schiff and Victor DeLorenzo were going it alone. "Music for Time Travel" is released Friday, May 13 at The Museum of Wisconsin Art in West Bend.
Published May 12, 2016
A reddish brick building at the intersection of two alleys north of the Bradley Center has most recently been used as storage for the arena. Its days are numbered as it is slated to come down soon to make way for the new arena. So, of course, I went inside to learn more.