The Milwaukee-based Catch 22 is neither a Joseph Heller novel nor a paradoxical situation. Instead, it's an upscale sports bar with a fresh take on the usual game day fare.
Six months ago, Todd Fogel opened Catch 22 Bar and Grill, 770 N. Milwaukee St. The "22" theme is played out throughout the establishment. There are 22 flat screen TVs; 22 signature drinks; 22 different kinds of sliders on the menu and 22-cent drink specials.
Yes, that's right: Monday through Friday, from 5 p.m. to 5:22 p.m., drinkers can enjoy a 22-cent beer. But only one, folks.
"We gotta limit the 22-cent beer to one per customer and for only 22 minutes otherwise, before you know it, you're taking a cab home at 2:22 in the morning," says bar manager Bash Fotouhi.
Happy hour runs from 4 to 7:22 p.m. and offers $1 off taps (Guinness, Stella Artois, Bells' Two Hearted Ale, Riverwest Stein, Fat Tire, Lagunita's IPA, various New Glarus products, Point beer, Blue Moon and more) along with half-off appetizers and $3.50 cocktails.
Catch 22 has a late-night menu that's available seven days a week until 1 a.m. Ryan Whitman, who has worked for 12 years as an executive chef and owns a Downtown-based food truck called Red Truck Sliders, developed the menu that features, predominantly, an impressive selection of sliders.
The sliders, which are mini sandwiches, are sold three to a plate for $8 or six for $12.50.
"They're classic bar food with a unique spin," says Whitman, who graduated from Johnson & Wales culinary school in Charleston, S.C. "Sliders are great for sharing. They're a fun way to eat: a little of this, a little of that."
Slider options include a "popper slopper" featuring a hamburger topped with a jalapeno popper, caramelized onions and Cajun mustard; fried or grilled Parmesan chicken topped with mozzarella marinara; the ABLT with avocado, bacon, lettuce, tomato and mayo; the Bar Fight mini burgers with "kick-ass ketchup," bacon, cheddar cheese, jalapenos and caramelized onions and the beer brisket that's topped with beer cheese, onions and peppers.
And Catch 22's sliders don't just come on tiny round buns. The U Betch Ya features mini bratwursts slathered in homemade mustard, caramelized onions and beer sauerkraut on mini long buns. The FIB Dog is a grilled hot dog with tomato, relish, mustard, onions, peppers, pickles and celery salt.
All of the food is made fresh, the dressings are homemade and the buns come from Milwaukee's Sciortino's Bakery.
"Anybody can make a mini cheeseburger. We make a really, really good cheeseburger that's packed with flavor. We don't skimp on anything," says Whitman.
And it's true. After sampling from a bar top slider buffet, we determined all of the sandwiches were incredibly juicy and well crafted. Arguably our favorite was the portobello, which comes lightly breaded and pan fried and topped with roasted peppers and a creamy, heavenly remoulade. The seared tuna was delicious, too, featuring sushi-grande tuna steak, bacon, lettuce, tomato and basil-horseradish cream.
Appetizers include beer cheese fries with bacon and scallions ($7.50), tempura shrimp with an apricot / orange dipping sauce ($10.75) and Fundito, a baked Monterey / goat cheese dip, that comes with salsa and chips ($6.25). A nice selection of salads is also available.
Catch 22 has a dance floor and sound system and plans to host '80s nights, DJs and live music in the future. They also have weekend Ladies' Nights with $3 Stoli mixers for female drinkers.
"We're a great place to relax after work or to come to on the weekends for a game or just to have a good time," says Fotouhi.
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.