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Brunch has become a ubiquitous part of weekend life in Milwaukee and it seems everyone has a favorite spot to indulge. But if you’re looking to try something new, this series is for you. We’ll be highlighting a new brunch spot every week and bringing you all the tasty details. Click here to check out all the spots we've tried!
143 W. St. Paul Ave., (414) 423-1365
Brunch available: Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Bottomless beermosas and Bloody marys until 2 p.m.
Carry-out and dine-in available
If you’ve not explored the low key digs at the new Third Ward location of The Explorium Brewpub, consider this your official invitation. In addition to distanced seating inside, there are two patio spaces to enjoy: one inside the “Tunnel,” offering open air style seating that’s still viable if it drizzles and a few tables out of doors, along with fireside seating for enjoying a beer or two.
Last weekend was too beautiful to resist a patio brunch (especially now that our second vaccine doses are in full effect), so we masked up and decided to pay The Explorium a visit.
Their brunch service runs a bit on the early side compared to most restaurants; but we slid over a bit past 11 a.m. to ensure we could still partake.
You’ll find a menu of breakfast classics, including French toast, steak and eggs and a country breakfast (eggs, potatoes, meat and a biscuit), along with beermosas and bloody marys ($7 each or $14 for bottomless), their great beer list and at least a few other brunch-worthy drinks.
Among them is the Julietta, a refreshing mule/mojito mash-up with mint, lime, bourbon and ginger beer ($8), which made for a nice summer quaff alongside a cup of locally sourced coffee from fellow brewers at Vennture Brew Co.
And while we didn’t go bottomless, we did get a bloody mary. Theirs is smooth. Tomato forward and not too salty (or spicy, if at all) and comes garnished with lemon, lime, a dilly bean, a gherkin, a pickled mushroom, a cheese curd and meat stick.
On the food side, we ordered up their classic biscuits and gravy served with two eggs for $12.
The dish showcased a large beautifully fluffy biscuit sliced in two and covered in classic sausage gravy flecked with black pepper and herbs. You can get your two accompanying eggs cooked as you like; I opted for sunnyside up, and they were nicely done with a beautifully crisped bottom, soft yolk and nicely cooked whites.
We also went for their Nashville hot chicken and waffles, featuring two waffles, two Nashville hot chicken breasts and a drizzle of syrup ($16). If you’re not a hothead, you can nix the Nashville in this dish if you like.
Portions were hefty and the chicken breast carried a good amount of spice. If you like heat, this isn’t the lingering, sweat-inducing type of heat; but as someone who appreciates spicy food, I didn’t feel cheated. As for the waffles, they were a nice foil to the chicken: sweet and tender with little crisp bits of sugar doppled throughout (a bit like a Belgian liege waffle).
We also split an order of their Cannoli Crepes (three crepes filled with a sweet ricotta cheese and chocolate chips. Topped with powdered sugar and chocolate syrup, $10).
This not-too-sweet dessert made the perfect diversion from the savory side with tender, well executed crepes and a lightly sweet filling that offered up a hint of cinnamon and enough chocolate chips to round things out.
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.