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 are multiple aspects of a favorable dining experience: delicious food, well-curated beverages, pleasant atmosphere and – maybe most important of all – courteous, attentive service. And when Milwaukee diners cast their votes for the latter, Lake Park Bistro racked up all the tips.
Open since 1994, Lake Park Bistro has been offering up white tablecloth service for over twenty years. And it seems they've still got the golden touch when it comes to menu knowledge, an accommodating attitude and all the other little things including keeping water glasses full and knowing exactly the right moment to clear plates or bring the check.
Another Bartolotta's spot, Ristorante Bartolotta, took home the silver medal followed fairly closely by two other West Side restaurants, Le Reve and Story Hill BKC along with Odd Duck in Bay View.
Lori Fredrich's pick: c.1880
I want more restaurants to emulate the service component I find on a regular basis at c.1880. Their waitstaff are attentive and informed. In fact, they can answer just about any question you throw their way (or happily find the answer in the rare case they don’t know). They also seem to be equipped with an innate ability to tend to all the details (including refilling water glasses) with ninja-like reflexes.
This year we also asked a variety of prominent Milwaukeeans to weigh in on their pick for specific categories. For this category, we consulted Public Relations Manager Ryan Amundson of Potawatomi Hotel & Casino.
Amundson's pick: Story Hill BKC
I disqualified any restaurant at Potawatomi Hotel and Casino, but would be derelict in my role if I didn’t at least mention the great service, without fail, guests receive at Dream Dance Steak. Each and every dining experience I’ve had (and I’ve had more than my fair share) has been delightful thanks, in large part, to the very talented wait staff.
Putting my professional biases to the side, my choice for best service at a Milwaukee restaurant is Story Hill BKC. From checking in at the host stand to paying the bill at the end of the meal, there is always a sense of pleasantness among the staff. They really seem to be enjoying their work and interacting with guests. Both at the bar and in the dining room, you can tell everyone does their homework with the menu, too. It’s refreshing when you have a question and the server doesn’t disappear into kitchen because he or she doesn’t know the answer. It’s especially impressive with a menu that changes often. Lastly, there is a fine line between a server being attentive and overbearing. I’ve never experienced the latter at Story Hill. They’re there when you need them and, at the same time, allow you to enjoy the company you’re with.
With two young children, my wife and I don’t get out often enough for date night or for an evening with friends, but when we do, Story Hill BKC is always at the top of our list, due in large part to the stellar service.