By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor Published Apr 29, 2022 at 2:01 PM Photography: Lori Fredrich

The Milwaukee Film Festival is now playing across the city, and unless you want to subsist for days on theater popcorn, Whoppers and bad nachos (all of which can be delicious, in moderation), it’s probably worth your time to think about where to grab a bite before –or after – your trips to the movies.

While there's an entire city filled with options at your disposal, decisions can be daunting. So we thought we'd narrow the field to the most convenient (and delicious) spots to get your food and drink on, including a few unexpected places you may not have considered.

Click on the theater for film listings and nearby eats:
Avalon Theater
Oriental Theatre
Times Cinema

Avalon Theater

2473 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., (414) 539-6678
avalonmke.com

[Click to search the Milwaukee film line-up at this theater]

Cafe Corazon
2394 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., (414) 544-2774
corazonmilwaukee.com

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If it’s Mexican fare you’re craving, you’re just blocks away from one of the best Bay View spots to get your fix. Choose from tacos, tostadas or enchiladas (vegan and vegetarian options, too). If you’re hungry for something substantial, you can’t go wrong with the wet burrito; wash it down with a margarita or a Mexican beer. Cafe Corazon is open for brunch (Sundays), lunch and dinner.

Honeypie Cafe
2569 S Kinnickinnic Ave., (414) 489-7437
honeypiecafe.com
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If comfort food is calling your name, look no further than Honeypie where locally sourced products are transformed into down-home favorites, from creamy macaroni and cheese to salads, sandwiches and tender pot roast with all the fixin's. They also serve up weekend brunch, so you can make it a Sunday Funday with a leisurely brunch before your weekend matinee.

Lazy Susan
2378 S Howell Ave., (414) 988-7086
lazysusanmke.com
Reservations required
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If Lazy Susan is still on your "to try" list, now is as good a time as any to give it a go (because you should go). Choose from shareables like deviled eggs, steamed mussels or housemade flatbread or explore their inventive main dishes, which cater to a wide variety of diners from vegetarians and meat-eaters to gluten-free guests. If you're looking for a deal, make a reservation for their Wednesday four-course dinner for two. It's just $50 and always gluten-free.

Sorella
2535 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., (414) 301-6255
sorellamke.com
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If you like sharing a meal with friends before or after a show, there are few places better than Sorella, where wood-fired pizzas and pastas are served up alongside shareable Italian-inspired vegetable dishes and inspired entrees, giving you every excuse to try a bite of everything. 

Oriental Theatre 

Oriental Theatre
2230 N. Farwell Ave., (414) 276-5140
mkefilm.org/oriental-theatre

[Click to search the Milwaukee film line-up at this theater]

Crossroads Collective
2238 N. Farwell Ave., (414) 763-9081
crossroadscollectivemke.com
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Can't decide what you're hungry for? Make it easy on yourself and hop over to this East Side food hall where you can assuage multiple cravings in a single visit. That includes creative drinks by Discourse: A Liquid Workshop; healthful soups and sandwiches from Ruta's Vibrant Indian Cafe; decadent pasta and pizza from Egg & Flour; Peruvian empanadas from Triciclo Peru Express; delicious fusion cuisine from Dia Bom; Nashville hot chicken sandwiches, chili dogs and burgers from HotWax; and ice cream from the Scratch Scoop Shop.  There's also the Pharmacy Bar, which serves up beer, wine and cocktails all day long.

Good City Brewing
333 W. Juneau Ave., (414) 539-4343
goodcitybrewing.com
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The Film Festival is the perfect opportunity to pay a visit to this East Side brewery, try out some of their new brews and enjoy a meal of well-executed sandwiches (their burgers are stellar) and snacks. got the kids in tow? There's even a menu that accommodates the little ones.

Kawa Ramen & Sushi
2321 N. Murray Ave., (414)-800-7979
kawaramensushi.com
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Whether you're hungry for consistent, well-executed ramen or a plate of ultra-fresh sushi, you'll find it at Kawa, located within easy walking distance of Oriental Theatre. Choose from three types of ramen (tonkotsu, garlic miso or hellfire), a selection of Japanese dishes, or the extensive menu of sushi, sashimi and signature rolls. 

Maru Korean Bistro
2150 N. Prospect Ave., (414) 210-4139
marukoreanmke.com

The Film Festival is the perfect time to try out one of the East Side's newest spots. This Korean bistro offers a mix of modern and classic dishes from Korean fried chicken wings, bibimbop and beef bulgogi to budae jigae and jap chae. Surprise your tastebuds before or after a flick at the nearby Oriental Theatre.

Strange Town
2101 N. Prospect Ave., (414) 885-0404
strangetownmke.com
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Enjoy delicious, shareable plant-based eats at this cozy gem located just blocks from the Oriental. Grab a glass of wine or one of their stellar low-proof cocktails and nibble on their ultra-silky hummus. Or make the full commitment and indulge in a few globally-inspired plates off of their ever-changing menu. Either way, you'll be satiated and ready to tackle a great film or two.

The Times Cinema

5906 W. Vliet St., (414) 763-1763
timescinema.com

[Click to search the Milwaukee film line-up at this theater]

Ca'Lucchenzo
6030 W. North Ave., (414) 312-8968
calucchenzo.com

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If you've come  all the way to the West Side for a specific film and you also happen to have an affinity for pasta, you won't want to miss a chance to diner at this neighborhood gem. The menu is filled with delights, from house focaccia and meatballs to handmade ravioli, orecchiette and risotto. You'll also find beautifully curated wines and cocktails (including low and no-proof options). Ca'Lucchenzo is about a 6-minute drive from the theater, so it's a convenient spot after an afternoon show or before a later film. 

Charles E. Fromage
5811 W. Vliet St., (414) 305-1458
charlesfromage.com

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Go ahead, laugh at the name; it's meant to incite a smile. And so is the convivial atmosphere at this quaint little wine (and beer) bar just steps away from the Times. Stop in for pre-movie snacks (cheese spreads,  olives, nuts and sweets) and beverages; or linger with friends for a post-film discussion for the ages. You really can't go wrong.

Neighborhood Draft
5921 W. Vliet St., (414) 885-2028
neighborhooddraft.com
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Looking for a casual spot? Settle in at this cozy neighborhood pub for a drink and a bite before or after a show. You'll find friendly folks and a menu of elevated bar fare from excellent grilled wings and hand-cut fries to housemade French onion soup, substantial salads, sandwiches and platters of fried chicken.

Wy'east Pizza  
5601 W. Vliet St., (414) 943-3278
wyeastpizza.com
Reservation required for indoor dining
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If you’re heading to the theater Wednesday through Sunday evening, you might want to make time for a stop at one of my favorite pizza spots, Wy’East Pizza. The pizza, which is made from slow-fermented dough and fresh toppings, features a chewy crust made crisp on the exterior by the extreme heat of the Italian oven. You can’t go wrong with the Hot Marmot (pepperoni, fresh garlic and sweet hot pappadew peppers); but don’t neglect a look at the specials, which feature fresh seasonal ingredients. 

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.