Change is the only constant in an active dining scene, and diners will witness yet another evolution at the new East Town Kitchen & Bar, which opens today at the Downtown Marriott, 323 E. Wisconsin Ave.
The restaurant replaces Millioke, which opened in 2013 with a focus on Midwestern staples of meat, cheese and beer. And it sports an updated floor plan and a menu showcasing regional takes on classic dishes.
The most notable changes are in the restaurant’s layout, which features a relocated bar nestled along the east wall. The back bar is chic and clean, sporting subway tile and new grey metal stools. Meanwhile, the dining room features a wide variety of seating options from high four-tops to larger tables accommodating groups of six. Former booths have been replaced by open banquette-style seating.
The bar maintains a focus on local craft brews including selections from Door County Brewing, 3 Sheeps, Central Waters, Lakefront and Miller (priced $5-7) along with a short list of beer-tails like a Beer-Groni with Bombay gin, campari, dolin rouge and IPA ($12). Cocktails include seasonal takes on classics like the Pecan Pie Old Fashioned featuring pecan-infused whiskey, all spice demerara syrup and ango ($12) and an East Town Mule with Wheatley vodka, cranberry cordial, house-made ginger beer and bitters ($10).
Wines are also available by the glass, as are selections from the bar’s extensive whiskey collection. During happy hour, guests will enjoy $2 off taps and wine pours (with a happy hour food menu on the way).
A breakfast menu features staples like eggs Benedict, biscuits and gravy, avocado toast and a brunch burger topped with egg.
Lunch and dinner options include a variety of small plates, from jumbo pretzels with beer cheese sauce and mustard, BLT deviled eggs and char-grilled chicken wings to fried Widmer’s cheese curds served with chipotle ranch dressing ($8.95-11.95).
There’s also a selection of soups and salads including a classic Caesar, a southwestern chopped salad and a seasonal baby greens salad ($8.95-12.95). Soups include creamy tomato soup with cheesy garlic bread ($7.95) and baked French onion soup with a topping of provolone, gruyere and parmesan ($5.95/$8.95).
Sandwich selections include burgers, grilled cheese and a chicken club along with a fried walleye sandwich topped with fennel slaw, tomato and tartar sauce ($10.95-$15.95). There’s also a fried bologna sandwich featuring thinly sliced Usinger’s bologna, Wisconsin queso and yellow mustard for $12.95.
Fried chicken is both a lunch staple and dinner entree. It comes with mashed potatoes, gravy, coleslaw and a hot honey drizzle ($12.95/$18.95).
Other dinner entrees include a double cut pork chop with Brussels sprouts, steak frites, grilled salmon, baked macaroni and cheese and a quinoa vegetable chili bowl ($14.95-$25.95).
East Town Kitchen & Bar is open daily from 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 to 11 p.m.
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.