Every Milwaukeean has a Lake Michigan story and for the next seven days OnMilwaukee will share as many as possible during "MKE Lake Week," sponsored by the Harbor District. Love our lake? You're in the right place.
Summer might be fleeting, but there’s still plenty of patio weather remaining before autumn’s chill sets in. Of course, when it comes to patio dining, there’s nothing more relaxing than a lakeside seat where you can enjoy the fresh breeze and the sound of the water lapping against the shore.
And some of the best patios in the bunch can be found in Lake Country.
Here are eight of our favorites.
1. Artisan 179
Located in the quaint Village of Pewaukee, Artisan 179 offers delightful lakeside dining on its quaint sidewalk patio. Enjoy well-crafted cocktails, artfully produced dishes and live music Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. Whether you visit for lunch or dinner, you’ll find a wide-ranging menu that includes creative small plates, burgers and sandwiches and entrees that run the gamut from pasta to seared fish, steak and pan seared ostrich.
Formerly Sandbar sports pub, the Edgewater has taken on new life under owner Bernie Kook, who aspires to transform the historic property into a Lake Country Supper Club. Once home to Hotel Edgewood, the former hotel and restaurant has seen its way through Prohibition and two World Wars. Currently, the lakeside deck at the Edgewater offers plenty of seating, along with sandwiches, salads, build-your-own burgers, pizza, smoked nachos and Friday fish fry. And when the weather gets chilly, panoramic windows inside the formal dining room offer a picturesque view of the Lake Country sunset.
3. Foolery’s Liquid Therapy
If you’re looking for a casual hang-out with great casual fare, Foolery’s Liquid Therapy might just fit the bill. They offer a full menu of appetizers -- including wings, fried calimari and nachos -- along with sandwiches, salads and affordable entrees. Even better, their spacious deck overlooks one of the picturesque bays of Okauchee Lake.
4. Gina’s Sports Dock
This quaint sports bar on the eastern shore of Pewaukee Lake is a haven for locals looking to watch the game, play darts or just enjoy an afternoon of Rummikub. Their casual menu is filled with pub fare including appetizers like deep fried green beans, mini corn dogs and cheddar nuggest, along with a collection of sandwiches and specialty burgers (read our review of the MOAB: Mother of All Burgers). But, in the summer, it’s the restaurant’s unique beach bar, a sand-strewn patio complete with colorful picnic tables and a walk-up bar that is the star of the show.
5. The Hideaway Bar & Grill
If you’re not "in the know," it definitely takes a bit to find this hidden gem located just off a stretch of Road E on the western shore of Okauchee Lake. But, it’s worth the trek. Their patio is beautiful, and folks are friendly. Known as a popular gathering place for Packer games, they’re a prime spot for bar fare like burgers and wings. But, we’ve also heard rave reviews about their Parmesan crusted cod fish fry with grilled veggies.
6. Lakeside Supper Club
Enjoy old and new-school favorites at this rustic lakeside eatery featuring a large wrap-around deck sporting picturesque views of Silver Lake. Grab a classic cocktail and enjoy an entree like crab and shrimp mac, five meat meatloaf, or grilled plates like Wisconsin BBQ ribs, grilled mahi-mahi or a 16-ounce porterhouse steak. Happy hour includes half-price appetizers and two-for-one deals between 3 and 6 p.m.
7. Panga Bar and Grill
Let your hair down on Panga Bar’s patio, where the surf always seems to be up. Grab a beer and have a seat at one of their colorful tables facing the southern edge of Upper Lake Nemahbin. Need a snack? Enjoy chips and guacamole, fried clam strips, cheese curds or hummus. Or take your pick from a moderately sized menu of panini, sandwiches and salads. Thanks to rentals at Nomad Board Sports, you can also grab a pontoon, kayak, canoe or paddle board and make a gorgeous Lake Country day of it.
8. Seester’s Mexican Cantina
What would Pewaukee Beach be without at least one casual Mexican cantina to offer up refreshing margaritas and Mexican favorites on a colorful patio with the perfect beachside view? Seester’s menu includes a variety of options including street tacos, enchiladas, tamales, burritos and a Friday fish fry featuring lightly battered fish, seasoned potatoes and salad. Other signature specials include vegetarian quesadillas and tinga tostadas.
Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club.
When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.