By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Oct 01, 2018 at 2:03 PM

Season's eatings! The weather may be getting colder, but Dining Month on OnMilwaukee is just cooking up, dishing out your winning picks in this year's Best of Dining poll. Dining Month is brought to you by Fein Brothers, your premier food service equipment and supply dealer in Wisconsin since 1929. Congratulations to all of the winners, and happy eating for all those who voted!

Foodways have long been acknowledged as a key to understanding a culture. Long-standing traditions can show how people have preserved or lost cultural traditions in their communities.

But, most of us also tend to have more modest food-based traditions – we like to have pizza on Tuesdays, or we get ham and rolls on Sundays, etc.

Over the years, some of my habits have turned more than a little ritualistic. They’ve become unspoken traditions. Here are a few of them ...

Cranky Al’s

We forgo breakfast on the first and last days of school and head instead to this Tosa doughnut hotspot for a sweet meal that would make Homer Simpson drool.

Rocket Baby

One morning each weekend, I walk to Rocket Baby with a kid (or kids) to get some delicious pan de mie (sliced, if it’s not too hot to cut) and a sweet treat, which serves mostly to negate the calories burned on the walk. In our pre-kid, Bay View days, the walk was to Canfora.

Divino Wine and Dine

We feasted on pizza here on our wedding day (it was Palermo Villa back then) and have done the same every year since on our anniversary. Some of Milwaukee’s best pizza and owner Dean Cannestra’s a gem.

Emperor of China

This one is an tradition. Everyone goes to lunch when they get hired in this great Milwaukee Chinese restaurant.


Once a month I have a meeting with folks at school and typically, a couple of us adjourn to McGinn's for wings afterward. Especially the jerk, Buffalo and maple bourbon varieties.


I remember childhood visits to the Usinger’s shop with my grandparents and once my kids were born, I started taking them there regularly to see the tiny houses, the paintings of the elves, the free beefstick ... the pure Milwaukee experience.

Do you have some informal Milwaukee food traditions? If so, share them using the talkback feature below or on Facebook.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

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 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 has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.