By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published May 13, 2013 at 9:37 AM

"One of Milwaukee’s best kept secrets … if you can find the Double Eagle Pub, you will enjoy the Double Eagle Pub!"

So reads the website for the subterranean restaurant in the Humphrey Scottish Rite Masonic Center, 790 N. Van Buren St. Open only on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, the pub offers a fish fry and so, of course, I couldn’t resist.

The site claims the place opens at 5 and on a recent Friday, I stopped over with the family. With the kids in tow, we arrived a bit early and expected to wait, until we noticed an exterior sign board that says the pub opens at 4:30.

Down the stairs, past hundreds and hundreds of faces in group photos of Masons that line the walls – including a couple famous ones if you look closely – we found the pub, but it was locked. A few minutes later, an employee arrived and let us in, at, maybe, 4:45.

That’s how the Double Eagle Pub rolls: casual.

The employee, who turned out to be hostess, server and more, was cheery and friendly and chatted with the kids. She told me that the Double Eagle is open mainly for Scottish Rite members, but the public is most certainly welcome. It only occasionally gets super busy, she said, and the night we visited, though it was early, there were a mere handful of diners.

The vibe is casual and friendly; nice but no-nonsense. The menu is small but with some options.

In addition to the baked or fried cod ($11.95), there are a few appetizers (mozzarella marinara, buffalo wings, potato skins, potato chips – ranging in price from $3.95 to $7.95), a soup of the day ($2.50 a cup/$4 a bowl) and a couple salads ($3.95 for a spring salad, $8.95 for an entree version with grilled chicken), pizzas ($10-$14), burgers ($6.50-$7.75), a chicken sandwich ($7.25) and steak sandwich ($12.95).

We tried the house made potato chips, which were hot and delicious – the kids enjoyed best the ones that ballooned up – and came with a side of sour cream and chive dip.

The fish fry – with four crispy pieces of battered cod, a roll, tartar sauce and tasty coleslaw – was good, though disappointing in one aspect.

I noted with disappointment the lack of potato pancakes on the menu (fries are listed), but was happy to hear that they are, in fact, an option.

However, while the fish was crispy and delicious, the latkes were thick and heavy. They were made from coarsely mashed potatoes and appeared to be pan fried. Despite being quite clearly house-made, the thickness and density denied them crispness and they were, in the end, disappointing.

However, we had a nice time at the pub – which was something of a surprise despite the fact that I drive past the Scottish Rite nearly daily – and would certainly return. Next time, however, I’m trying the French fries with my fish.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

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 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 has be heard on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories, in that station's most popular podcast.