By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Oct 20, 2022 at 1:01 PM

’Tis Dining Month, the tastiest time of year! This means we’re dishing up fun and fascinating food content throughout October. Dig in, Milwaukee! OnMilwaukee Dining Month is served up by Potawatomi Hotel & Casino and Wollersheim Winery & Distillery.

In this series, we’ll be hiking the burger trail to find the latest, greatest and most delicious burgers in Milwaukee. Click here for an explanation of the criteria used to rate each burger. Where have we been? Check out the complete catalog of burger reviews here

Central Standard Crafthouse & Kitchen
320 E. Clybourn St., (414) 455-8870 

It’s been a hot minute since I last reviewed a burger for the On the Burger Trail series. Truth be told, after eating over 180 burgers, the series had begun to feel a bit stale. No longer inspired to find the next great burger, I decided it was time to take a pause.

But thanks to the rise of a few new burger joints, along with a renewed sense of excitement for indulging in beefy bliss, I decided to bring the series back for Dining Month. If all goes well, I plan to continue adding to the series on at least a monthly basis. I may even revisit some classic burgers and old favorites, just to see how they’ve held up over the years.

Last week I found a true contender in the smash burger at HotWax.  So I was looking forward to putting another increasingly popular burger to the test, this time at Central Standard.

Central Standard Crafthouse and Kitchen opened in August of 2021, it’s gradually earned its place on the Downtown dining scene – not just as a cocktail bar, but also a restaurant – offering a solid menu of lunch, dinner and brunch options (along with a bangin’ rooftop patio).

Among the staples on their lunch and dinner menu is their Crafthouse cheeseburger, which showcases a classic build with all the accouterments. It’s worth noting that a variation of the burger also appears on their brunch menu sporting bacon, egg, bourbon caramelized onions and aioli.

The Crafthouse Cheeseburger features a Carlisle beef patty, lettuce, onion, tomato, pickle, American cheese and Central Standard special sauce; served with fries ($16).

Presentation: 10

Right out of the kitchen, the burger represents well on the plate, sporting a visually toasted bun, a beef patty glistening with melted cheese and visible layers of onion pickles and juicy red tomato.

Bread/Bun: 9

The bun at Central Standard is fairly classic. It’s plenty soft but sturdy enough to support the toppings and it comes nicely browned on both of its cut sides. The burger-to-bun ratio is spot on and the bun also does the job when it comes to resisting sogginess, even against a juicy burger.

Burger: 10

The star of the show here is the beefy burger, which is made with locally raised American wagyu beef from the Carlisle Farm in Sparta, Wisconsin. Beyond its origins, the beef patty was beautifully cooked with a notably caramelized crust on its exterior and just a hint of pink at its center. 

When I broke off a piece of the meat to taste on its own (which was a trick, since the patty was coated in cheese), I found a piece of meat that was exceptionally juicy and tender. The meat was well seasoned and the beef offered up a rich, complex flavor.  

Toppings: 9

When it comes to toppings, this cheeseburger sticks to a relatively classic build; but it’s the quality of the ingredients that makes it shine. 

The burger sauce offered up the classic creaminess and pleasant tang – adding just enough flavor to complement the beef without overpowering it. The American cheese was umami rich and melted over the entirety of the burger, ensuring a bit of flavor with every bite. 

The tomatoes were delightfully fresh and juicy with a bright red color and good flavor and the raw onion offered a hint of sharpness, but also a lovely sweetness and crispness that added a bit of texture to the overall sandwich. Sweet pickles rounded things out, offering balance to the otherwise very savory burger.

The only disappointment came in the form of the spring mix which comprised the lettuce component; the delicate leaves did not hold up against the heat of the burger, leaving them wilted and flavorless.

Value: 9

Simple quality ingredients make a huge difference when it comes to a great burger; and this cheeseburger is a great example of how quality, combined with great technique and an eye for balance, results in a solid creation. In this case, that $16 price tag pays off in the form of flavorful, locally raised beef that’s been treated as well in the kitchen as it was in the field and a slew of worthy toppings that served to compliment the star of the show.


If you’re looking for a solid burger, Central Standard Crafthouse & Kitchen is among the spots to find one.

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

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.