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."
Bennie Smith's inspiration to open his restaurant, located in the SOHI neighborhood, came from two sources. One was his desire to have a home for his already-established catering business and the other was to celebrate fatherhood.
In January 2014, Smith's father was diagnosed with cancer, and he passed away that spring. Opening the restaurant was a dream shared by father and son.
"Without a father, the family is in chaos. We want to reiterate here what a father is. It's about loving your child and your child loving you back. That is manhood," says Smith.
The menu is primarily a soul food buffet, but classic American items like burgers and veggie burgers are also available. However, we think you'd be amiss to pass on the soul food because it is some of Milwaukee’s finest and tastes like it came straight from a mom’s – or a daddy’s – kitchen.
Type of food: Soul food, American food, vegetarian food, breakfast
Prices: Affordable. The soul food is $9.99 daily and offers a choice of meat (this varies, but usually ribs, fried chicken, baked chicken, meatloaf, pork chops and tilapia are available) and two sides (macaroni and cheese, buttery greens, dressing, sweet potatoes, beans, rice or mashed potatoes). Meals come with a cornbread muffin.
Vegetarian friendly? Yes. The mac and cheese and mashed potatoes are vegetarian, and there is a veggie burger, portobello sandwich, veggie wrap and garden salad on the menu.
The greens are on point, but not vegetarian:
Hours: Open Tuesday-Saturday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sundays from noon to 6 p.m. Closed on Mondays.
Parking: There's generally parking in the lot that surrounds the building. Enter from the alley.
Vibe/dress: Casual, but also fine to show up in your "Sunday best." Homey vibe with comfortable seating and warm-colored walls adorned with local art by African-American artists and black-and-white photographs depicting fatherhood, including a photo of Smith’s father.
Hits: The meatloaf is absolutely outstanding. This is not the dense and dry dinner your mother made you choke down. This is moist (sorry to all who hate that word), perfectly seasoned and thick but not too thick. The greens are also perfectly tender and drenched in butter, and the fried chicken is super crispy.
Daily specials include chicken and waffles, which is on our list for the future.
Misses: It was incredibly difficult to choose just two of the many delicious-looking sides. Also, the restaurant gets very busy, and there might be a slow-ish moving line.
Pro tip: When asked "gravy?" There’s only one answer and it’s, "Absolutely!"
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.