There's a new hang out in Shorewood and, even as a faithful greater Downtown diner and drinker, I'm liking this place and think you should get it a try.
The new Oakcrest Tavern, 4022 N. Oakland Ave., does it right: 100 percent smoke free, casual, a comfortable bar with plenty of televisions (seven, if I counted correctly) and a dining setting that's nice, but not stuffy.
The Red Rock Café in a former life, the space has been totally gutted and reborn. Its dark burgundy walls and fireplaces give it a cool, neighborhood tavern feel that's right for eating, drinking or just hanging out.
Open only a bit longer than two weeks, it was pretty full for a recent late lunch and owner Rick Schmidt couldn't be happier. The brother (and former business partner) of Water Street Brewery, etc. owner, R.C. Schmidt, Rick has been in the business "forever," and of late has focused on consulting and helping others like Riverwalk Bistro and Cempazuchi grow and thrive. Oakcrest, though, is all his and he has already assembled a fine team including former Sauce executive chef, Ben Fairly and general manager Dan Zealley.
The menu is solid and opens with this statement, "We find this menu to be self evident." It is fairly self evident and it's all about variety. Six salads, "tavern favorites" like hanger steak, meatloaf and mussels and a ton of sandwiches including a tasty crab cake sandwich and an interesting egg salad that's cheese and aioli slathered.
Oakcrest also offers a children's menu, it's in Shorewood after all, and after 5 p.m. the menu grows to offer bigger items like tenderloin, salmon and a cognac chicken.
Food is served 11 a.m. - 11 p.m. daily, and Schmidt tells me that weekend brunch and the old-school Saturday night prime rib will begin "soon."
Oakcrest isn't in my neighborhood, but early impressions tell me that in no time it could easy become a place where "every one knows your name" no matter if you're a Shorewood resident or not. Check it out.
A life-long and passionate community leader and Milwaukeean, Jeff Sherman is a co-founder of OnMilwaukee.
He grew up in Wauwatosa and graduated from Marquette University, as a Warrior. He holds an MBA from Cardinal Stritch University, and is the founding president of Young Professionals of Milwaukee (YPM)/Fuel Milwaukee.
Early in his career, Sherman was one of youngest members of the Greater Milwaukee Committee, and currently is involved in numerous civic and community groups - including board positions at The Wisconsin Center District, Wisconsin Club and Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. He's honored to have been named to The Business Journal's "30 under 30" and Milwaukee Magazine's "35 under 35" lists.
He owns a condo in Downtown and lives in greater Milwaukee with his wife Stephanie, his son, Jake, and daughter Pierce. He's a political, music, sports and news junkie and thinks, for what it's worth, that all new movies should be released in theaters, on demand, online and on DVD simultaneously.
He also thinks you should read OnMilwaukee each and every day.