By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor Published Jul 30, 2020 at 2:30 PM Photography: Lori Fredrich

There’s a new Brady Street spot to get your burger and custard fix. Betty’s Burgers & Custard is officially open for business at 1233 E. Brady St. in the former Cousins Subs.

The new restaurant is owned by brothers Anthony and James Roufus who initially proposed a venue called Hot Box Burgers for the former Hybrid Cafe just off of Brady Street. Fortunately, even as plans for Hot Box fell through, the brothers were able to bring their dream to fruition in the form of Betty’s Burgers & Custard. 

Fittingly, the restaurant is named for the brothers’ grandmother Patrina "Betty" D’amato, who lived on Warren and Arlington and raised her family there, including the Roufus’ mother, Marilyn.

Inside, the burger and custard restaurant currently features brightly colored walls and a few high-top tables.

But co-owner James Roufus says that final touches are still on the way, including an outdoor awning and interior artwork, which will feature photographs of famous Milwaukeeans including Downtown Freddy Brown, Gene Wilder, Liberace and Charlotte Rae Lubotsky, who played the Drummonds’ original housekeeper on the show "Diff'rent Strokes" before starring in "The Facts of Life" where she was housemother at the fictional Eastland School.

Burgers, sausages, custard & more

The menu, says Roufus, is representative of both classic Wisconsin culture and global fare inspired by a childhood growing up in a diverse neighborhood filled with Polish, Latino and Middle Eastern families.

"Buttered" burgers are the restaurant’s mainstay, available in single, double or triple form ($5.55, $7.65 or $9.75), topped to order with "the works" (ketchup, mustard, fried onions) or a slew of additional toppings.

Sides include fries ($2.75), "hot" fries ($3.25), garlic fries ($4), cheese fries ($5) and poutine ($7)

Sausages, including polish, hot hungarian and brats sourced from the Foltz Family Market, are also a feature, priced at $6 each. There’s also a selection of sandwiches including a grilled summer sausage sandwich ($7); a pepito, the Venezuelan steak sandwich with lettuce, tomato, onions, peppers, guasacaca, garlic mayo and potato sticks ($8) and grilled cheese ($5), which can be fully loaded with additional toppings (grilled tomato, avocado, fried egg, fried bologna, tuna, bacon or sloppy joes) for an additional charge.

Taquitos are also a mainstay with a choice of jack cheese, jalapennos, carnitas, chorizo or bistec ala Mexicana (three for $6 or six for $10) served with sour cream, spicy guasacaca (avocado)  salsa and cotija cheese.

Custard comes in the form of cones, dishes, Sundaes and dipped cones (priced $2.75 to $5.25).  In the coming months, the venue will also offer shakes and malts, as soon as the restaurant is able to install the necessary equipment.

"Secret" menu

Customers can also order from a "secret" menu featuring a variety of globally inspired eats. Among them are:

  • The Zapiekanka, a Polish street food specialty featuring a baguette served open-face with mushrooms, onions, gouda and ketchup;
  • The Toledo hotdog featuring a hot Hungarian sausage topped with sloppy joes, onions and mushrooms;
  • The Completo Italiano, a Chilean style hotdog (Klements all-beef) with mayo, smashed avocado and tomato;
  • TheDurham Dog, a Carolinas-inspired hot dog topped with pimento cheese, onion and mustard.

Opening hours for Betty’s are Wednesday and Thursday from 2 to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 2 p.m. to midnight and Sunday from 2 to 8 p.m.

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.