You've gotta eat breakfast. On this topic, you mom, your nutritionist and I agree. Whether or not we all agree on what to eat and where to eat it is another story.
Due to some recent houseguests, I found myself breakfasting at restaurants more than normal and that led me to ruminate on some of my favorite places to eat breakfast in the Milwaukee area.
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Heinemann's -- This legendary place began Downtown on Milwaukee Street and has had locations come and go all over town. When the Mayfair Road location closed, we shifted to 76th and Bluemound, although historically, we visited the Downtown and Whitefish Bay locations, which are now gone. Kind of like an overgrown diner, Heinemann's has pretty quick turnover, but it's clean and friendly and thankfully they have some healthy options. Breakfast, after all, can be one of the deadliest meals with all that fried meat, eggs and sugary syrup. I also like that they're quite open to substitutions without quarrel.
Ted's -- Located on the eastern edge of Wauwatosa on 62nd and North, Ted's is what in New York would be called a diner. It's almost entirely counter seating (there's one booth and a couple odd-shaped tables) -- which encourages (nay, demands) socializing -- and the service is fast. The food is reliable and relatively cheap, but I don't think they have oatmeal pancakes or turkey sausage, like Heinemann's.
City Market -- Although we used to go mostly to the one in Shorewood, we now frequent the Tosa location on 87th and North (there is another one nearby at 81st and Watertown Plank, too). There is nice outdoor seating, which makes up for the fact that the options are somewhat limited. The best feature, however, is the menu that has numerous healthy options. It's the priciest option in the bunch, but probably the easiest of the places when it comes to eating smart.
Omega -- Located on 27th and Morgan, we don't get to Omega all that much, but it's a great place when you've got a big group. On weekend mornings there's often a wait, but the service and turnover are fast in this huge restaurant -- which serves a little of everything, but I tend to only choose breakfast there -- so you don't usually have to sit around very long. Longest wait times are Sunday mornings, when the churches finish up and the ladies with the big hats arrive! Another good place, was the recently-shuttered Riverbrook just outside Shorewood on Capitol Drive.
Cafes -- If I just want a muffin or croissant -- for example -- and coffee, I'm inclined to hit any area Alterra or La Reve in Tosa Village. But insert your favorite coffee shop here.
My patio -- I wish I took advantage of this option more often in season, but the morning routine is a fragile, beat the clock situation, so although I carry a picture of us breakfasting under the umbrella, it's more imagination than realty. But I have eaten breakfast out there occasionally and one of my minor goals in life is do it more often.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.