More barbecue is coming to Milwaukee beginning in March. This time, it’s in the form of Doc’s Commerce Smokehouse, which will be located in the SpringHill Suites building at 744 N. 4th St.
The restaurant, which is shooting to open by the second week in March, will specialize in Southern style barbecue including Central Texas style whole brisket and its signature pepper-heavy rub.
"This has been a long-time dream of mine," notes co-owner Brent Brashier, who also operates Doc’s Smokehouse and Craft Bar in Dyer, Indiana with partner Dr. Himanshu Doshi. "I lived in Milwaukee for a couple of years in 2012 and 2013. I loved the city, but the one thing that I found was missing was barbecue."
Brashier says the focus of the menu, which will be headed by executive chef Brian Atkinson, is on hickory smoked meats, which will be prepared daily in custom smokers and available until they run out. Options will include brisket, pulled pork, chicken, ribs and turkey along with sides like Carolina hot slaw, macaroni and cheese, and Southern-style Brunswick stew.
"Every day, we’ll have chalkboard specials," he says. "Most focus on vegetables like collard greens, creamed corn and anything that’s fresh," Brashier notes. "But we also have a special we call redneck fries that features fries topped with cheese sauce, brisket and sliced jalapenos."
Meats are served bare, with a choice of regional sauces including a spicy Texas-style sauce, a tangy tomato-based Memphis style sauce, Eastern Carolina pepper sauce, Doc’s signature sauce which is sweetened with molasses and brown sugar, and a poultry-friendly Alabama-style white sauce made with mayonnaise and vinegar.
"It’s amazing with poultry," notes Brashier, who says it’s particularly good with the restaurant’s house turkey breasts, which are brined in sweet tea.
Brashier says they’re currently working on a way to integrate a Milwaukee favorite – cheese curds – into the menu, as well as a custom-made sausage made by Usinger’s.
Look and feel
The interior of the restaurant, which will seat just over 250, will feature rustic white oak tables, framed record albums on the walls and original terrazzo flooring.
"It will have the look and feel of a down-home barbecue joint," Brashier says, "So nothing too fancy."
The showpiece, he says, will be the white-oak topped bar, which will feature 64 rotating beer taps with a focus on regional brews, along with a collection of bourbons and a draft cocktail program.
The Digital Pour app will allow craft beer lovers to see in real time which beers are on tap and how much is left in the keg. Meanwhile, a flight program will allow beer lovers to sample a variety of new-to-them brews.
Doc’s plans to be open for lunch and dinner seven days a week with hours from 11 a.m. to close.
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.