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.
Gina’s Sports Dock
W278 N2315 Prospect Ave., Pewaukee
There’s friendly service and above-average bar food waiting for you at Gina’s Sports Dock, a casual lakeside pub on Pewaukee Lake.
The Prospect Avenue bar doesn’t look like much from the road. But, once inside, you’ll find brightly colored digs decorated in beach-inspired tones. Canoe paddles and rustic wooden signs adorn the walls.
During the week, you’ll find tables of locals enjoying lunch. Some linger for a game of Rummikub, others enjoy a beer or watch sports on one of the bar’s television sets. Window-side seating gives guests a primo view of boaters on Pewaukee lake during the summer and ice fishing during the winter months.
If the weather is clement, Gina’s also offers up a cheerful beachside patio with colorful picnic tables and a walk-up bar. On weekends, you might even be able to enjoy a bit of live music.
As for the burgers, we ordered up their signature burger: The MOAB (Mother of All Burgers), a half-pound beef patty served up with thick-cut bacon, sauteed mushrooms and your choice of cheese. It’s served with lettuce and tomato on the side along with a pickle, a radish and a celery stick. You also get your choice of potato (waffle or regular fries) or coleslaw ($12.75).
Bars are known for serving their burgers in baskets, so it was no surprise when the same was true at Gina's. But, in this case, our handsome burger – with its shiny bun and visible bacon and cheese – came in a quaint paper-lined wicker basket that seemed to be paying homage to picnic lunches on the beach.
The bun was delicious. The golden split top was shiny, and the bun itself was soft and buttery. It was also served up toasted on the grill, potentially with a bit of butter, making it even tastier.
Burgers at Gina’s aren’t cooked to order – or if they are, our waitress didn’t ask our preference. Our patty was close to well done; however, it wasn’t at all dry. In fact, it was well seasoned and tender with a nice beefy flavor.
Toppings were quite good. We ordered our burger with Cheddar cheese, and it came with plenty. The only downside was that it wasn’t fully melted when it arrived. However, both the sauteed mushrooms and bacon were well prepared. The bacon was crisp and smoky and offered nice texture; the mushrooms were nicely sauteed and had an ample presence on the burger overall. Even without the lettuce and tomato, the burger’s flavors were well balanced, and I was happy to eat it without adding additional condiments.
Prices on the Burger Trail so far have varied widely. At $12.75, The MOAB is neither the most expensive, nor the most affordable burger. In the end, it’s a fair price for both its quality and flavor. Plus you get a pretty snazzy lake view.
The burgers at Gina’s Sports Dock are big and tasty. And they come alongside a great lake view.
Gina’s Sports Dock is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. and Sunday and Monday from 11 a.m. to midnight.
Lori Fredrich (Lo) is an eater, writer, wonderer, bon vivante, traveler, cook, gardener and girlwonder. Born and raised in the Milwaukee area, she has tried to leave many times, but seems to be drawn to this quirky city that smells of beer and alewives.
Some might say that she is a little obsessed with food. Lo would say she is A LOT obsessed with food. After all, she has been cooking, eating and enjoying food for decades and has no plans to retire anytime soon.
Lo's recipes and writing have been featured in a variety of publications including GO: Airtran Inflight Magazine, Cheese Connoisseur, Cooking Light, Edible Milwaukee, Milwaukee Magazine and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, as well as on the blog Go Bold with Butter, the web site Wisconsin Cheese Talk, and in the quarterly online magazine Grate. Pair. Share.