By Matt Mueller Culture Editor Published May 20, 2021 at 6:56 PM

Fiserv Forum is currently gearing up for yet another Milwaukee Bucks postseason run and so is The MECCA, 1134 Vel R. Phillips Ave.  In fact, the flashy sports bar and grill revealed some new summer dishes today, just in time for the start of the NBA playoffs proper this weekend.

While the Bucks shift from the regular season to the postseason, The MECCA's kitchen – under the eye of Fiserv Forum and Deer District senior executive chef Kenneth Hardiman – is also changing with the seasons, revealing several new items that speak to the new warmer climes outside. One of the newly introduced dishes, for instance, is a summer salad topped with berries, toasted almonds, mandarin oranges and balsamic vinaigrette, while the menu's handhelds section now has a fresh, beach-approved crab cake club sandwich.

The summer salad
MECCA's new summer salad

Of course, considering its place as one of the largest sports bars in the Milwaukee area (certainly at least the home of the largest screen for sports-watching) in the shadow of the city's key sports venue, the stars of the culinary show at The MECCA are the bar snacks and mains, perfect for munching while Giannis and the Bucks hopefully make a meal out of the Eastern Conference these playoffs. 

For sharable snacks, in addition to the menu's established lineup of curds, wings and other bar eats, The Mecca introduced two new dips: a housemade caramelized onion dip with pub chips as well as a buffalo chicken dip served with El Rey tortilla chips. And for more crunchy chip-based action, the sports bar also revamped its nachos, featuring El Rey chips topped with three types of cheese, pickled jalapenos, pico de gallo, avocado and a choice of either chicken, ground beef or pulled pork.

New menu items
The MECCA's new options include (clockwise from left) buffalo chicken dip, caramelized onion dip and bar nachos.

The new share-worthy menu additions also include a new variation on MECCA's pretzel bread, made by Milwaukee Pretzel Company. What was once a very tasty and traditional warm pretzel loaf, topped with salt and served with a cheese dip, now comes amped with an everything bagel flavor topping (including poppy seeds, sesame seeds, garlic and onion) and whole-grain mustard for dipping. And for those who want something a little healthier in their bar snacking ways, there are now zucchini fries as well, thin deep-fried battered zucchini strips served with a garlic aioli. (Hey, it's a vegetable!)

Pretzel bread
The MECCA's revamped pretzel bread
Zucchini fries
For the vegetarians in the crowd, there are now zucchini fries

Meanwhile, meat lovers can enjoy a BLT, bahn mi, burge or patty melt and chicken tenders, as well as an Italian sausage with the classic fixings of roasted onions and peppers. 

Italian sausage
The MECCA's new Italian sausage

In addition to the new additions, The MECCA will also serve weekly specials – with some upcoming items, Hardiman notes, potentially correlating with the regional favorites of the Bucks' playoff opponents. For a look at the full food and drink menu, as well as to reserve tables, visit The MECCA's website

The MECCA isn't the only place in Deer District gearing itself for increased crowds cheering on the start of the Bucks' hopefully long playoff run, which starts on Saturday at 1 p.m. against the Miami Heat. In addition to having the playoff games on the large screens both inside the MECCA and in The Beer Garden – found in the alleyway between Old World Third Street and Fiserv Forum – a large screen will be set up in the plaza outside the arena to broadcast the games and gather Bucks fans together to cheer on the team.

The MECCA is currently open Tuesday and Wednesday from 4 to 10 p.m., Thursday 11 a.m. until 10 p.m., Fridaysand Saturday from 11 a.m. to close, and Sunday from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m.

For additional sports bar options for the Bucks' return trip to the postseason, click here

Matt Mueller Culture Editor

As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.

When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.