By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Jun 05, 2024 at 11:03 AM Photography: Lori Fredrich

Every dish has a story. In this series, we sit down and chat with chefs around the city (and beyond) about the experiences they hope to create for their guests. As part of our discussion, they also recommend three delicious dishes that embody the heart and soul of the restaurant.

Honey Butter Cafe
7221 S. 76th St., Franklin, (414) 367-2800
honeybuttercafe.com

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When siblings Ellie and Laz Koutromanos opened Honey Butter Cafe in October of 2020, they sought to bring their years of industry experience and their love for brunch together in a restaurant. Four years later, it appears they’ve met with success.

The brother-sister team says their goals for the cafe boil down to three things: great food, community service and outstanding hospitality.

“We make everything from scratch here,” notes Laz. “And we also try to source as many local products as we can. We love the fact that we are supporting the local community and the farms within the state. The quality is also so much higher, and you can tell the difference.”

“It’s also important to us to engage with and support the community,” says Elli. “We make an effort to build genuine, long-lasting relationships. They’re all things that are meaningful to us. Whether it’s donating loukomades to the Greek Fest in Wauwatosa, supporting teachers at Robinwood Elementary School with school supplies, holiday toy donation for the Make a Wish Foundation or sponsoring local boxer Javier “El Guerito” Zamarron (@team_javi01).”

“Hospitality comes naturally to us,” says Laz. “We want customers to feel like they’re part of the family, so we love doing special things for them, whether it’s little touches to acknowledge a birthday or honoring special requests.”

Ellie says some customers drive as far as 45 minutes to enjoy brunch at Honey Butter Cafe on the weekend. Because the cafe is so busy on Saturdays and Sundays, they implemented a waiting list system to make it easier for folks to know when their tables will be ready.

“When someone leaves the cafe, we want them to be happier than when they came in… and full!” says Ellie. “Ultimately, we want to be a place where people come back again and again because it has become a special place for them.”

Bonus item: Loukomades 

Greek honey puffs: fried dough soaked in honey and topped with cinnamon, $7

Loukomades (honey puffs)X

“Our grandmother would make these (she called them ‘honey balls’) using either her thumb or a spoon to shape them and put them in a frying pan. She’d make them as a treat when we came back from the beach. Even now, our loukomades bring back great memories of our grandmother. She had fresh fig trees in her yard, and she’d pick those in August. She made her own yogurt, and it was the best.”

The loukomades make a great starter and can be shared between two or three people. 

Ellie and Laz note that If you’ve never tried loukomades before, you might want to start out with the classic, which showcases the warm, fluffy dough and flavorful honey. But there’s no shame in leveling up to try their innovative flavors, including Nutella and strawberries; honey, goat cheese and candied bacon; white and milk chocolate with Oreo cookie crumble; white chocolate, walnuts and strawberries; or milk chocolate, caramel and walnuts.

Wisconsin Skillet

Sliced Johnsonville brats, beer braised onions, Water’s Edge cheese curds (Chippewa Falls) and eggs any style, $14. Made with locally sourced brown free-range eggs, served with house potatoes or hash browns and toast or pancakes. Substitute all egg whites for +$1.

Wisconsin SkilletX

“The inspiration behind this was the three things for which Wisconsin is known: cheese curds, bratwurst and beer (in the form of beer-braised onions). We wanted to create an homage to the place where we live, work and love!”

Protein Lover Omelette

Pork belly, sausage, honey smoked ham, and Cheddar cheese, $15. Made with locally sourced brown free-range eggs, served with house potatoes or hash browns and toast or pancakes. Substitute all egg whites for +$1.

Protein Lover OmeletteX

“People love classics like the Denver Omelette, but we wanted to do something a little bit different. We also wanted it to be something really hearty that would keep you going until lunch time. So, we created a meaty omelette that loads you up with protein for your day ahead.”

The Runny Egg Sandwich

Over easy egg, smoked honey ham, apple smoked bacon, Cheddar, tomatoes, greens, sriracha mayo, red onions on Texas toast, $14. Served with a choice of French fries, haystack onions, seasonal fruit or soup. Substitute a gluten-free bun for +$1.50.

The Runny Egg SandwichX

“I wanted a breakfast sandwich on the menu, but I didn’t want it to be something predictable. I also wanted the runny eggs to be the star,” says Elli. “We top it off with housemade Sriracha mayo, and that really gives it a great flavor.”

“This might be our top menu item when it comes to being features on social media posts. People love popping the runny egg for social videos. We also love to watch how people eat it. It’s a big sandwich!  Some people deconstruct it. Other people cut it up so they can dip it in the yolk.”

At Honey Butter Cafe, guests are also invited to upgrade any breakfast or brunch dish with a side of mini buttermilk pancakes served with berries and mascarpone ($3).

Side pancakes with berries and mascarponeX

In addition to these staple dishes, keep an eye on Honey Butter Cafe’s social media for the launch of their new summer specials and list of seasonal summer-worthy cocktails (one addition is the Aperol Spritz)!

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

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.