By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor Published Jun 02, 2014 at 11:03 AM

The ninth annual Downtown Dining Week begins Thursday, June 5. Coordinated by Milwaukee's Downtown Business Improvement District (BID), the eight-day event features 40 area eateries who will serve three-course menus at lunch for $12.50 and dinner for $25 or $35 through June 12.

In looking over the menus, which include selections from restaurants like Benihana, Carnevor, Carson’s, Distil, Karl Ratzsch’s, The Loaded Slate, Mason Street Grill, Millioke, Rodizio Grill and Smoke Shack, here are some things that caught my eye:


  • Give Kanpai a try with a miso soup starter and lunchtime Bento box featuring salad, rice, tempura, gyoza, and choice of tofu, chicken, beef or salmon. Top it all off with a green tea fruit smoothie for just $12.50.
  • You’ll relish the fennel and pepper soup at Kil@wat. Pair it up with the Big Boy burger and the rustic apple tart with cinnamon Mascarpone Chantilly and caramel.
  • And you can’t go wrong with Coquette’s watermelon gazpacho, a classic Croque Monsieur, and Oeufs a la Neige -- meringue snow eggs with creme anglaise, praline and caramel sauce – for dessert.


  • Head to Hinterland for their $35 dinner offering including house-made tomato dill soup, Pan-Seared Arctic Char with Indian-inspired chana dal, cilantro chutney, spinach and yogurt, and citrus panna cotta with rosemary streusel, hazelnuts and whipped cream for dessert.
  • If you haven’t been to Millioke, try their smoked corn gazpacho with Applewood-smoked ribs, braised red cabbage, and grilled asparagus. The bourbon bacon chocolate cake with maple brown sugar caramel would be a fitting ending to this $35 feast.
  • Go classic German for $25 at Karl Ratzsch’s. Follow your cup of soup with sauerbraten, featuring marinated sirloin roast with gingersnap gravy, burgundied red cabbage and potato dumpling. Wrap things up with Viennese chocolate torte
  • At Smoke Shack, start off with a Bourbon sidecar, add cornmeal fried okra with spicy chipotle sauce, and round it out with the "Personal 3 Meat Combo" featuring sausage, pulled pork and chicken with sweet potato fries for just $25.
  • Or go big at Ward’s House of Prime with lobster bisque, a 14 ounce prime rib and a fat slice of banana cake for $35.

Unique offerings:

  • Club Charlie’s "liquid lunch" option, including a Bloody Mary, martini flight and the Naughty Girl Scout Martini for dessert.
  • Port of Call’s Portobello and fig fettuccini. Pair it with an artisan cheese plate and New York cheesecake for just $25.
  • Check out the unique burger offerings at The Loaded Slate, including the "Slumber Jack" featuring a one-thir pound burger topped with cheesy hash browns, bacon and a fried egg. Both lunch and dinner also include the option of a deep-fried oatmeal Girl Scout Cookie served with a scoop of ice cream for dessert.

In addition to enjoying discounted dining, four lucky diners, chosen from among those who complete Dining Week surveys, will be awarded $500 in dining certificates

No passes, coupons or cards are required for participation. However, due to demand, reservations are recommended.

A complete list of restaurant menus is available at

Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.