540 S. 76th St., (414) 476-8668
Liquid Johnny’s has been around for decades and over the years it has switched owners and changed its decor, but continues to be known for its solid bar-food menu – particularly the fish fry.
On a recent Friday, we stopped in for lunch. No, we did not have a "liquid lunch," despite the name, but we thought about it.
Hours: Liquid Johnny’s is open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2:30 a.m.
Atmosphere: The space is clean and comfortable. New lighting fixtures add contemporary class and shed just the right amount of light. The limited seating – about eight tables and the bar – means there can be a wait.
Drinks: Liquid Johnny’s has a full bar. Duh, it's Liquid Johnny's.
Food highlights: The fish fry is the star of the show and features four pieces of beer-battered cod for $10.50. After 8 p.m., it’s all-you-can-eat for $12.50. The choice of sides is impressive: fries, tots, garlic mashed potatoes, potato pancakes, chive wedges or onion rings. What makes this fry so good is that the amount of batter is ideal. It’s not too thick or thin; it's moist but not greasy and it’s crunchy. The fish was very fresh and flaky. The potato pancakes were also just the right thickness.
The shrimp fry is also one of Liquid Johnny’s signature dishes. It’s fried in the same batter as the fish, but also lightly seasoned and grilled. Choice of seasonings include traditional, jerk, cajun or lemon pepper. The cost is $12.
The burgers are well crafted, too. The curd burger looked particularly appealing, a half-pound patty topped with cheese curds and cheddar cheese with a side of cheese curds for $9.75. We didn’t order it because we didn’t feel like unbuttoning our pants after eating, but we might wear elastic-waist pants next time and try it. Our dining companion, however, got the LJ burger, which was classic and satisfying and topped with bacon for $9.
Service: The service was very slow, and we waited about an hour for our food. This may have been a fluke – it was Friday and there was only one server. Maybe someone called in sick, maybe they were unexpectedly slammed. Luckily, we weren’t in a hurry.
Price: Appetizers start at $5; burgers are $8.50-9.75; sandwiches are $5.50-9.75; and seafood dinners range from $7.50 for a fish sandwich to $15 for the walleye or perch plates.
Misses: As previously mentioned, the service, literally, wasn't up to speed during our visit. Liquid Johnny’s was one of those places we’d been meaning to try for ages, and were really glad that we finally did. We'll be back.
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.