By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Jan 09, 2023 at 11:01 AM Photography: Lori Fredrich

It’s as important as ever to support the amazing collection of local restaurants that we have in our beautiful city. And there’s no better way to do so than making a commitment to patronize them throughout the year. To guide you on your journey, I’ve composed a list of 52 amazing restaurants. Try just one of these every week and you’ll have visited them all by the end of 2023.  View the full list here OR download an abbreviated printable PDF file.

Saint Kate Arts Hotel
139 E. Kilbourn Ave., (414) 270-4422
Modern Midwestern fare

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There’s something exceedingly lovely about dinner at ARIA, the restaurant located on the second floor of Saint Kate - The Arts Hotel. It’s an inherently quiet space filled with whimsical art, culinary-themed books and comfortable seating.

But there’s something equally as compelling about its menu, which features familiar-yet-elevated dishes, all of which seem to strike those beautiful notes of nostalgia, some powerful enough to invoke sighs after each bite (try their chicken and dumplings for one).

That means comfort food taken up a notch in dishes like “Broast-ish” chicken – honestly, some of the best fried chicken I’ve eaten all year – thanks to its light, ultra crisp exterior and tender, juicy, flavorful meat. It’s served with equally compelling crispy potatoes and blistered green beans.

I’m also having a hard time getting the Long Bone Short Rib Pastrami out of my head. The beef is brined for 9 days, rubbed with pastrami spices, smoked with applewood and then steamed, resulting in the most tender, delicious beef you’ve ever had. And if you love pastrami, it’s like sheer heaven on a plate (I took part of mine home to enjoy with eggs the following day). 

Added bonus: ARIA is also among a small selection of Downtown restaurants which are open for dinner on Sundays and Mondays, making it easier to plan a visit.

Recommended: Caramelized brussels sprouts, broast-ish chicken, long bone short rib pastrami, root beer pots de creme with root beer bacon caramel

[View their full menu online]

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.