For the 10th straight year, October is Dining Month on OnMilwaukee, presented by the restaurants of Potawatomi Hotel & Casino. All month, we're stuffed with restaurant reviews, dining guides, delectable features, chef profiles and unique articles on everything food, as well as voting for your "Best of Dining 2016."
There was a loaded slate of candidates for Milwaukee's best new restaurant of 2016, with several culinary newcomers scoring well with voters. However, only one could come out on top of the scrumptious scrum of restaurant rookies. And that was The Brick Pub & Grill.
Owners Chelsea and Tim Hren opened The Brick Pub & Grill last October in a space where Tim's grandfather once owned the popular restaurant Wren's II. And in his memory, the Hrens have created a gathering place for the community where they can enjoy scratch-made pub fare like burgers, panini and fish fry in a family friendly environment.
Lori Fredrich's pick: Irie Zulu
This was a really tough category for me to whittle down this year, in part because a number of new spots, including Iron Grate BBQ, dandan and Supper have offered up particularly unique contributions to our growing dining scene. But, as I reflected on the bigger picture, I had to give my vote to Irie Zulu. Dishes are creative, made with passion, and maybe most significantly, they’re served up with a dose of cultural insight. Another element that’s not lost on me is the fact that, as suburban landscapes increasingly fill with predictable American-style cuisine, Irie Zulu has offered a multitude of new diners a menu that takes them on a delectable journey solidly outside of their comfort zones. Milwaukee needs more restaurants like this gem.
This year we also asked a variety of prominent Milwaukeeans to weigh in on their pick for specific categories. For this category, we consulted Shary Tran, director of diversity and inclusion at Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin.
Tran's pick: Irie Zulu
We are truly blessed to live in a city where it's so hard to choose just one place to be named the best new restaurant. There are so many great places, but I chose Irie Zulu because it is the restaurant that I have returned to the most. The dishes are so amazing that I keep coming back to try something new. Yollande [Deacon] brings a blend of food and culture that creates a unique experience for everyone who enters her restaurant. You are welcomed like family. Who wouldn't want to come back to that feeling again and again?