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!
Zócalo Food Park
636 S. 6th St., (414) 433-9747
Brunch available: Saturdays
Carry-out and patio dining available
Food trucks serving brunch:
Anytime Arepas (opens at 9 a.m.)
Ruby’s Bagels (7:30 to 11:30 a.m.)
Dairyland (opens at 11 a.m.)
Mazorca (opens at 9 a.m.)
Tavern (opens at 11 a.m.)
If you think brunch at one restaurant is great, imagine the possibilities when you have multiple food trucks serving brunch-worthy fare at your disposal, plus a tavern for drinks and a beautiful sunswept patio on which to gather. That’s what you get at Zócalo Food Park.
If you want to catch the most vendors possible, it takes a bit of coordination, but 11 a.m. was the sweet spot when we paid our recent visit. It gave us a chance to order up a bagel from Ruby’s Bagels (go earlier if you want fancier options), plus fare from three other vendors and drinks from the Tavern. Best of all, you can order everything online from your phone using cashdrop.biz/zocalo. You’ll get a text from each vendor when your food is ready for pick-up.
Since we arrived at 11 a.m., we ordered from Ruby’s Bagels first to catch them before they closed. My go-to is the rosemary sea salt bagel, which I ordered with jalapeno cheddar cream cheese ($2.50). And yes, it was warm and chewy and tender and herbal all at the same time. Love.
We also ordered a couple of drinks from the Tavern. They don’t serve traditional “brunch drinks” per se (though maybe they could be persuaded by demand); but their house paloma (ordered with Cazadores Blanco) makes a pretty darn good mid-morning quaff with its fresh lime and grapefruit flavors and wake-you-right-up sweet Chamoy rim ($10). The same is true for the Beaches Away, a tap cocktail with tequila, mezcal, ginger, blueberry, hibiscus and lime ($10). Both were lovely, quaffable and paired easily with all of our breakfast fare.
Next time, I’d also be tempted by the “Resting Spritz Face,” a berry spritz with white wine, pomegranate, raspberry, blackberry. I love it not only because of the name, but also because a spritz is the perfect stand-in for mimosas on a warm sunny day ($7).
Next up, a breakfast arepa from Anytime Arepa… because arepas really are amazing any time of the day. We ordered ours with scrambled eggs, cheddar and bacon ($10). The soft grilled corn cake was the perfect hug for the beautifully whipped scrambled eggs, smokey bacon and cheese.
Dairyland has a long list of brunch items, including the Humpty Dumpty a hangover-style breakfast burger featuring two house ground seasoned beef patties, American cheese, a hash brown patty, tomato and flyover sauce sandwiched between grilled thick-cut white bread on the bottom and grilled bread with a runny “egg in a hole”on top ($8.95).
But we kept it simple with a classic biscuit breakfast sandwich featuring sausage, egg, cheese and hash brown sandwich on a housemade buttermilk biscuit ($5.95). Simple, well executed breakfast sandwich bliss. And if you’re a biscuit fan, it’s worth the extra dollar to upgrade from an English muffin to that fluffy, buttery biscuit.
If you’d like something sweet, grab a personal-sized sour cream coffee cake topped with streusel ($2.95). The cinnamon coffee cake tastes like something your grandmother may have made. Maybe even better.
Last, but absolutely not least, we ordered up one of the best breakfast burritos I’ve had in a long while from Mazorca. We ordered the Campiona (one of featuring housemade chorizo wrapped inside a soft flour tortilla with scrambled eggs, melted Monterey Jack cheese and hash browns ($7). We added guacamole (+$2) for good measure. I’m telling you, it was delicious.
The chorizo had fantastic flavor, the eggs were light and fluffy and the potatoes and cheese rounded things out. If you love heat, don’t miss enjoying it with the complex (but definitely racy) hot sauce. Perfecto.
We sat on a picnic bench under an umbrella, enjoying the warm air on our skin and just taking time to breathe it all in. We saw tables filled with friends, folks grabbing a bite with their pups and well behaved children squirming in seats next to their parents. Everyone seemed happy. Content. Maybe even joyful. It’s the kind of brunch I could get used to.
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.