By Robin Mindt   Published Jan 03, 2002 at 5:13 AM

Pinching pennies 'til payday? Or just looking for something new this lunch hour? Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21, presents "The $5 Lunch Challenge."

This week we asked John, a Milwaukee Downtown Public Service Ambassador, to find lunch for under $5. Is it possible? And how. Check out this week's challenge winner.

Firstar Café
777 E. Wisconsin Ave. (Inside the Firstar Center.)

Forget choosing just one entrée this lunch hour. Try a little bit of everything on the Firstar Café Lake View Market's buffet. Every day, the Firstar Café creates a spread fit for a king including fresh vegetables, fruit and gourmet entrees. And you can get your fill for about 30¢ an ounce.

Buffet themes and offerings change daily. One day, they may roll out their Cajun Buffet complete with baked cod with crawfish étouffeé sauce, fried catfish, blackened prime rib, dirty rice, creole corn and Cajun potatoes. The next, you could find yourself looking down a smorgasbord of Chicago-style favorites like deep dish pizza, Chicago-style hot dogs, Italian beef, diced tomatoes, diced onions, green relish sport peppers and pickle spears on the Windy City Bar.


Other common buffets include the Build-Your-Own Caesar Salad Bar, the Orient Bar, the Fresh Berry Bar and the Mediterranean Bar with Mediterranean grilled chicken, falafel, hummus, spicy rice, baba ghannouj, tabbouleh, pita bread and baklava. Just call (414) 765-MENU (6368) for the daily buffet menu.

You can get a good meal for under $5, but you may go over, since the price is based on weight. It's up to you. Call the Firstar Café for more information, (414) 765-6525.