For the ninth 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 2015."
Beginning Tuesday, Oct. 20, Walker’s Point will gain a new hang-out specializing in American craft beer and creative upscale bar fare.
Camino – the brainchild of longtime Lowlands Group employee and former Beer Capital rep Casey Rataczak – is located at 434 S. 2nd St. in the former home of one of Milwaukee’s groundbreaking restaurants, The Social.
The space, which features reclaimed barn wood from Justin Kutz of the Wisconsin Reclamation Project, seats 16 at the bar and 26 at tables throughout the space. Local art smatters the walls; and each piece is for sale, with 100 percent of profits going back to the artists. In the rear of the restaurant, on what used to be a stage for bands, Rataczak will showcase old school arcade games, including Captain Fantastic Elton John Pinball, Ms. PacMan, Donkey Kong, Burgertime and Tapper.
Rataczak says he drew inspiration for the concept from work with Milwaukee restaurateurs Scott Johnson and Leslie Montemurro, and Mike and Kristen Eitel.
"They really taught me to think outside the box and approach my work with creativity," he says. "And, with so much experience on the beer side, I really wanted to open a place that showcased the best of American craft beer. And I wanted it to be casual, accessible, simple."
Camino exemplifies all of these things, filling a gap that has developed in the Walker’s Point market.
A kitchenette behind the oval bar on the north side of the restaurant will serve up sandwiches and sides made with fresh ingredients. Meanwhile, the bar will showcase a number of cocktails along with 20 taps, 19 of which will dispense craft brews from Lakefront Brewery, Three Floyds, Ballast Point and Great Lakes Brewing Company, which Rataczak cites as being a great example of a craft brewery that’s stayed true to style in each of its expressions. The twentieth tap will sport pours of Pabst. Each brew will be available to enjoy at the restaurant, or to be taken home in a growler.
Chef Nicolas Goetzke, who spent the past three years with the Marcus Corporation, most recently at Milwaukee Chophouse, will man the kitchen, which will serve up sandwiches (priced $7-12) including a ribeye with mushroom ragu, a half-pound burger and the Waldorf chicken sandwich. Vegetarian options will include a beet reuben, a brussels sprout pita and the "Kimcheese" featuring American, Swiss and provolone cheeses along with authentic kimchee.
Sides ($2) will include hand cut fries, rye breaded Clock Shadow cheese curds with Russian dressing and mushroom ragu served with crostini. A three-bean chorizo chili and beer cheese soup will also be available for $3, along with jumbo grilled wings ($6 for six; 12 for $11) with a choice of house-made sauces, including sweet (brown sugar, ketchup. worchestershire, cider vinegar), green (Jalapeno, herbs, scallions, honey) and angry (gochujan, ginger, rice vinegar, sesame).
Sweets will include a rootbeer float made with the spirited "Not Your Father’s Rootbeer" and a double vanilla ice cream from Purple Door.
According to Rataczak, future plans include the addition of lunch starting in November, as well as an expansion of the existing patio starting next spring.
Camino will be open Tuesday through Saturday, beginning at 3 p.m. The kitchen will remain open from 5 p.m. through midnight.
Lori Fredrich (Lo) is an eater, writer, wonderer, bon vivante, traveler, cook, gardener and girlwonder. Born and raised in the Milwaukee area, she has tried to leave many times, but seems to be drawn to this quirky city that smells of beer and alewives.
Some might say that she is a little obsessed with food. Lo would say she is A LOT obsessed with food. After all, she has been cooking, eating and enjoying food for decades and has no plans to retire anytime soon.
Lo's recipes and writing have been featured in a variety of publications including GO: Airtran Inflight Magazine, Cheese Connoisseur, Cooking Light, Edible Milwaukee, Milwaukee Magazine and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, as well as on the blog Go Bold with Butter, the web site Wisconsin Cheese Talk, and in the quarterly online magazine Grate. Pair. Share.