By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor Published Aug 08, 2022 at 11:02 AM

It’s more important than ever to support our local restaurants. 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 restaurants (one for each week of 2022) that should be on your Milwaukee restaurant bucket list. View the full list here.

Birch
459 E. Pleasant St., (414) 323-7372
birchonpleasant.com
New American
$$, reservations recommended

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The variety of seasonal fare at Birch is part of what makes this restaurant shine. Dishes run the gamut from fresh and bright (take that summer crudo made with Steelhead trout, for instance) to sexy and caramelized (like wood-fired shishito peppers with house focaccia and ricotta). Meat dishes are satisfying, but never overly heavy; and their housemade filled pastas are simultaneously exciting and comforting. Most importantly, if you love vegetables, you'll find them in spades. They're respected, treated well and allowed to shine... right there in the center of the plate.

Highlights on the current menu include fresh, bright steelhead trout crudo with golden plums, sweet corn, radishes and lemon balm; pasta filled with ricotta and served with romano beans, roasted corn, pickled serranos, cilantro and feta; and grilled head-on shrimp with peas, buttermilk and herb oil.

Don't forget to take a look at their lovely wine list (staff are happy to make excellent recommendations) or try one of their excellent cocktails.

Beginning Aug. 16, Birch will be expanding their dinner service hours to Tuesday through Saturday, beginning at 5 p.m. To accoommodate the change, they have paused brunch service for the time being.

Keep your eye on their Instagram feed for special events, including monthly wine dinners and their very special Friday evening Oyster Bar and Seafood Pop-Ups, which feature a variety of fresh and grilled seafood, from oysters to clams and shrimp. Reservations are required for the one-hour experience, which can also make a seamless transition into a Friday night dinner.

Recommended: crudo; housemade pasta; seasonal fish

[View the current menu here.]

Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor

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.