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If you’ve been reading OnMilwaukee, you know that over the past few weeks we’ve been trying to share as many ways possible to help support local bars, restaurants, breweries and other small businesses during this tough time.
These small businesses include long-running, family-owned Brew City classics that have in some cases survived a World War (or two), the Great Depression, Prohibition, the 1918 flu pandemic, 9/11 and other tests of our collective mettle.
So, as a little reminder, here are some – not all – of those businesses, all of which can, like everyone else, use your help.
"We have been amazed by the outpouring of support from our loyal patrons," says Five O'Clock Steakhouse's Stelio Kalkounos. "This is the greatest challenge the 5 O’ Clock Steakhouse has experienced. Within a few hours, we transformed from an iconic supper club steakhouse into a delivery and carryout business. Whoever survives this economic and emotional turmoil will emerge stronger."
Adds Nite Owl's Chris Roepke, We are trying our best to stay alive."
Because everything seems to be changing so quickly, I encourage you to call ahead to make sure these classics are still open and to check their hours. Calling ahead allows means you can have less face-to-face contact when you stop in to carry out.
Five O’Clock Steakhouse
2416 W. State St., (414) 342-3553
The restaurant is open for carry-out and curbside pickup, as well as for gift card sales. You can call ahead earlier in the day to schedule an evening pickup, too, if you’d like. The restaurant is also selling discounted packaged beer, wine and liquor, as well as Old Fashioned and other cocktail to-go kits.
4156 N. Oakland Ave., Shorewood, (414) 332-7777
(PHOTO: Lori Fredrich)
Werner "Benji" Benjamin opened this classic deli in 1963 and now there’s a second location, too, at 8683 N. Port Washington Rd. in Fox Point. Benji’s is open for to-go orders, curbside pickup and Door Dash delivery.
Gilles' Frozen Custard
7515 W. Bluemound Rd., (414) 453-4875
(PHOTO: Gilles Frozen Custard)
Milwaukee’s oldest custard stand, open since 1938, is up and running for carryout and via its pickup window. And when I was there the other day, there was still some Jameson custard left.
1319 E. Henry Clay St., Whitefish Bay, (414) 964-3800
Read about the long history of Jack Pandl’s in this Urban Spelunking story and then order some gift cards on the restaurant’s web site and order a sumptuous German pancake (pictured above) for carryout or delivery via Door Dash.
(PHOTO: Kopp's Frozen Custard)
Kopp’s, founded by the Queen of Custard, Elsa Kopp, in 1950, has three locations around the area and is still serving its delicious custard and burgers for carryout.
3131 S. 27th St., (414) 383-1784
(PHOTO: Leon's Frozen Custard)
Not only does Leon’s date to 1942, but its founder Leon Schneider was instrumental in helping many other stands open and survive, including Kopp’s, Kitt's and more.
It is open, as always, for carryout. Nothing comforts quite like custard.
1041 N. Old World 3rd St., (414) 271-3377
Not that you need a reminder about why Mader’s is on this list, you can get the full story in this Urban Spelunking story. Mader’s is open for carryout and is selling gift cards at its website, too.
3146 S. 27th St., (414) 671-2118
(PHOTO: Lori Fredrich)
Mazo’s, which dates to 1934, decided to close, posting on Facebook, "As much as we'd love to do carryout business or curbside pickup, we feel it's still too much to risk. We will announce a re-opening date once it's safe to do so again." But please watch for news of its reopening, at which point it will surely need a hand.
830 E. Layton Ave., (414) 483-2524
(PHOTO: Nite Owl Drive-In)
This airport area drive-in, which began life when current owner Chris Roepke’s dad bought Bob’s Airport Custard and renamed it Roepke’s Airport Custard, which later became the Nite Owl, purveyor of one of the best burgers in town. The stand reopened this week to kick off its 72nd season and if offering carryout. It also sells T-shirts and gift cards.
4629 N. Port Washington Rd., (414) 332-8808
A family-owned butter burger haven since 1936, Solly’s is open for carryout and also has a GoFundMe to help its employees, many of whom have been furloughed as business has dropped.
2414 S. St. Clair St., (414) 481-7530
The James Beard Foundation has named this family-owned Serbian gem an American Classic and who are we to argue. It’s like being invited over to your lovely neighbor’s house (a lovely neighbor that really knows how to cook) for dinner. We featured it last year in this Urban Spelunking story.
2235 N. Farwell Ave., (414) 272-1775
A relative youngster on this list, dating back "only" to 1978 – when it took over the former Rieder’s space – Von Trier (which is really a bar, but also serves food, so I’m including here) is as much a Milwaukee classic as any business. It, too, has launched a GoFundMe fundraiser for its employees. You can find it here.
There are others, too, like Ned’s Pizza, Kitt’s Custard, Conejito’s, Polonez and Maria’s Pizza, to name but a few others. If we want these classics to endure, we must lend a hand, because we’re all #inthistogethermke.
A complete list of restaurants offering carryout is here.
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 OnMilwaukee.com 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 can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.