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SoLo's bacon bottom pizza is bacon-y.
SoLo's bacon bottom pizza is bacon-y.

Summerfest's newest drunk eat

The Summer Festivals Guide is presented by Pick 'n Save, Where Wisconsin Saves on Groceries. Pick 'n Save is Wisconsin proud, and excited to help promote and feed the great Milwaukee summer that includes festivals and fun nearly every day. Click to save here!

After decades of attending the Big Gig, I’ve eaten a gluttonous number of Saz’s mozzarella sticks along with a crap-ton of other classic Summerfest food items. However, in the past few years, I’ve attempted to expand my festival food horizons.

Today I picked SoLo’s new, gluten-free, "bacon bottom" pizza. I was stuffing my face with this decadent pie minutes after the gates opened and within a few bites – despite my uber soberness – promoted it to the short list of delectable drunk eats at the Big Gig.

For $7.50, the bacon bottom pizza from SoLo – located just north of the Marcus Amphitheater – is available with sausage and pepperoni or barbecue pulled pork. I picked the pig slice, which also came dressed in Octoberfest barbecue sauce, gouda, mozzarella, red onion, cilantro and chicharron (pork rinds).

Most notable, of course, is the "crust" which looks like a woven mat made with 8 pieces of thick bacon.

"No basket weaving lessons were necessary for the cooks," says manager Mike Drew. "The cooks were quick to catch on."

Overall, the bacon bottom pizza is messy, greasy, decadent and delicious – but only for those who really, really love bacon. I think it will pair well with questionable sobriety and loud, live music.

"And who doesn’t love bacon?" asks Drew.

Clay, also known as "Clay Fish" and "Fish Face," 1996-2009.
Clay, also known as "Clay Fish" and "Fish Face," 1996-2009.

What are the rules in dog-friendly bars?

A couple of nights ago, I went into a dog-friendly Bay View bar to use my PubPass. There were about eight people in the bar and one dog.

Let it be known that I have cared for dogs, including my dog Clay (pictured above), most of my life and I like dogs.

Anyway, I sat down at the bar, ordered my drink and started chatting with my partner. The dog came over to us and started to lick my feet. I found this uncomfortable – I’ve never liked dogs licking me, even my own pups – and moved my feet away from the dog’s mouth. The dog, however, continued to lick my feet and so I said gently, "Hey, you, stop it."

He or she continued licking and so I asked the woman whom I believed to be the dog’s caregiver to motion to the dog. Either she didn’t hear me or ignored me, but the woman continued interacting with her phone and so I asked the bartender whose dog this was.

"This is a dog-friendly bar," he said flatly in response.

I told him that was fine, I had no issue with that, I just wanted the dog to stop licking my feet. He suggested I take my beer outside. I told him I would, but it was too chilly – the temperature dropped 20 degrees that evening leaving me uncomfortably under-dressed.

He repeated, again, that it was a dog-friendly bar and I said, again, that I just didn’t want the dog to lick my feet. He then said, from the other side of the bar and in earshot of everyone sitting at the bar, that I was clearly a person who liked to complain.

This surprised and confused me. I wasn’t complaining, I was asking for the dog to stop licking my feet. I felt badly that this interaction spiraled to such a negative place.

However, the experience got me thinking. What is the protocol in dog-friendly bars? Should a person have a right not to interact with a dog when in a dog-friendly bar or is the understanding that if people go to a dog-friendly bar they have to accept all dog behavior – from tail wagging to foot licking to leg humping?

I always thought dogs, l…

Panga Bar and Grill opened last week.
Panga Bar and Grill opened last week.

Nomad owners open two new businesses near Oconomowoc

Kristyn and Mike Eitel formed a new partnership and purchased The Sports Channel on Upper Nemahbin Lake outside of Oconomowoc in the Village of Summit.

The couple renamed the space and quietly opened Panga Bar and Grill, 34422 Delafield Rd., on Friday, June 5, and plan to open Nomad Boardsports later this summer in a building at the same location.

Nomad Boardsports will be a bait shop, board and boat rental facility and offer a variety of water-related merchandise, sundries and apparel. Eventually lessons and tours will be available as well.

The couple was engaged on the lake while paddle-boarding during the fall of 2013.

"It’s just such an amazing location and was already very special to us," Mike Eitel said. "I’ve been coming to this bar since my early childhood – my grandparents used to live on the lake and we would stop in for a burger after fishing or grab minnows at the bait shop on our way out."

The Eitels are long-time operators of bars and restaurants in Milwaukee and Wauwatosa. Kristyn is a partner at all three BelAir Cantinas as well as Fink’s and helps lead Mojofuco Restaurant Group.

Mike has opened over a dozen places in the Milwaukee area over the last 20 years and late last year left his position as co-CEO of the Lowlands Group to refocus on his original Nomad concept.

The Eitels have big plans for their new ventures.

"The hope is to figure out the to best way to deal with runoff from the road and parking lot, mitigate the impact the buildings currently have on the shoreland and water ecosystem, and still create a great space serving great products to the community," says Mike.

Panga Bar and Grill is currently open from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily.

Help score Milwaukee a soccer team.
Help score Milwaukee a soccer team.

Group hosts meeting to unify soccer fans, bring a pro team to Milwaukee

Fred Gillich wants a professional outdoor soccer team in Milwaukee, and so last year, he created a T-shirt and formed a soccer supporters group, the Milwaukee Barons.

"If Milwaukee gets a professional outdoor soccer team someday, it will have started with a T-shirt," says Gillich.

The shirt sold quickly and Gillich has since designed a Barons’ scarf. The Milwaukee Barons are now part of the The Milwaukee Soccer Development Group (MSDG) which is a non-profit group dedicated to bringing a professional soccer team to Wisconsin.

James Moran serves as the executive director of the Barons; Pat Finn is the business developer and Caleb Kleinhans is the secretary. Gillich serves as the creative director.

On Wednesday, June 10, the group will host its first meeting at 7 p.m. in the Great Hall of Best Place, 901 W. Juneau Ave.

All soccer enthusiasts are invited to the meeting. The purpose is to unify fans behind getting a professional soccer team and to show city officials, sports fans and investors that Milwaukee is ready for one.

During the meeting, details on the Barons’ "Miller Park March" will also be released. The event takes place Tuesday, July 14 at Miller Park during the international soccer match between Newcastle United FC and Club Atlas.

"It’s all for the love of the game," says Gillich.

Visit the Milwaukee Barons online to get involved or to find out more information.