Looking for new spots to try? During Dining Month, Lori Fredrich is dishing out must-tries in 20 different dining categories, from brunch to BBQ and everything in between. Here's what she's recommended so far!
For some folks, brunch is all about the day drinking. For others, it’s about enjoying a feast of deliciously indulgent dishes. If you ask me, a great brunch requires both, plus the opportunity to enjoy a leisurely late morning or afternoon of catching up with friends (possibly followed by an afternoon nap).
However you decide to brunch, these five spots are sure to hit all the right notes.
Eldr+Rime does West Side brunch right with bottomless mimosas and epic bloody marys which come complete with grilled shrimp and an oyster shooter.
And the food is just as good. Choose from blueberry French toast with whipped ricotta and lemon curd; shortrib hash with eggs or their King Crab benedict featuring king crab with asparagus and hollandaise. Vegetarian options are also available, including vegetable hash and an avocado benedict.
Be sure to order up a warm housemade cinnamon roll to share with the table. They even come with extra frosting for dipping.
Local, seasonal comfort food is the name of the game at Honeypie Cafe and that's reflected on their brunch menu. Start out with one of their amazing buttermilk biscuits served with housemade jam (a hint that you can’t go wrong with their biscuits and gravy).
Then delve into stand-outs like their buttery croissant stacked with pulled ham, dijonaise, mornay sauce, white cheddar and a sunny egg or delectable short rib hash with roasted potatoes, onions, bell peppers, horseradish crème and sunny eggs. They also whip up a fine breakfast burrito filled with housemade chorizo, scrambled eggs, potatoes, cheddar and roasted tomatillo salsa.
Ah yes, and their menu of brunch drinks is just as compelling. They make a great house bloody mary, along with mimosas, beermosas, and the Sconniemosa which adds a touch of local cranberry liqueur.
The Lafayette Place
Looking for a plant-based brunch that appeals to everyone? You’ll find it at this quaint East Side spot that dishes up both great hospitality and a menu of compelling veg-based offerings like decadent “Cheesy” Hash features house potatoes and roasted vegetables under a shroud of housemade chorizo, melted cheese, avocado and chipotle sauce, plus a side of toast.
Meanwhile, breakfast sandwiches come with Impossible sausage, hashbrown patty, melted Violife cheese, guacamole and chipotle sauce on a toasted pretzel bun. And their veggie breakfast burrito is filled with roasted vegetables, black beans, corn, tofu scramble, Spanish rice and chipotle cream and served with pico de gallo and house potatoes. There's also a menu of sandwiches like the Chorizo Joe, a jazzed-up take on sloppy joes and a Southern Po’Boy featuring cajun-fried tofu on a baguette with pickled onions, cucumbers, arugula and remoulade.
Guests can also get their hands on bloody marys mimosas and (my favorite) the Brunch Old Fashioned featuring all ingredients in the classic Wisconsin drink rounded out by a splash of cold brew.
Among the newest brunch spots on the block, LP is offering up a soulful brunch menu with a delightful dose of southern inflection, plus a nice list of brunch cocktails including a house bloody (plus variations with hot pepper, peppercorn, bacon or cucumber-infused vodka), mimosas and other classics like Harvey Wallbangers, Screwdrivers and more.
Highlights on the brunch menu include their stellar Benedict which features a choice of thick-cut bacon or fried green tomatoes (get the tomatoes!) served with runny eggs and bearnaise sauce atop a toasted English muffin; and Cheddar Grits served with a choice of flavorful Creole shrimp or roasted Mushrooms with scallion chimichurri and pan sauce.
There’s also a bang-up brunch burger featuring a single smash patty topped with thick cut bacon, Sharp American cheese, lettuce, tomato, shaved red onion, LP sauce and a runny egg served up on a potato roll. And yes, it’s as good as it sounds.
If you’re craving something sweet, delve into three generous slices of custardy Bruleed French Toast topped with creme anglaise, caramelized sugar, crunchy cinnamon streusel and whipped cream.
This quaint creperie tucked away in the Riverwest neighborhood is among the coziest spots I can think of for a conversational brunch with friends.
Crepes span both sweet and savory with options like Cinnamon Toast with butter, cinnamon sugar and whipped cream; The Paris (Nutella, strawberries, bananas, roasted honey almonds, whipped cream); Vermonter (filled with rosemary sausage, sharp cheddar, caramelized apples, pictured above); the Frenchie (filled with caramelized and Gruyere); and a Three Cheese crepe served with a side of tomato basil soup for dipping! There are also seasonal specials to keep things interesting.
While you won’t find brunch cocktails at Seven Swans, they do offer a full menu of coffee and espresso drinks, teas, sparkling beverages, juice and kombucha.
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.