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.
The Gingerbread House
S63W16147 College Ave., Muskego
If The Gingerbread House is anything, it’s quaint. Located in a restored farmhouse that dates back to 1885, the family-owned restaurant sports plenty of old-fashioned charm from its rustic hardwood flooring, pressed tin ceilings and Victorian style gingerbread trim. While you’re waiting for your table, you can also browse the upstairs boutique, which is filled with charming, rustic housewares and jewelry.
On the food side, The Gingerbread House is a bakery and restaurant that prides itself on made-to-order goodness from cinnamon French toast for breakfast, homemade soups and sandwiches for lunch and a tempura battered fish fry on Fridays. There’s also plenty to enjoy in the sweets department, from pies, cakes and tortes to scratch-made cookies and bars (the lemon bar I ordered to take home was absolutely top notch).
But, after hearing from numerous people that The Gingerbread House also serves a pretty mean burger, we decided to make a trek out to Muskego to check it out.
The Gingerbread House offers five burger options, from your basic hamburger or cheeseburger to a cheddar bacon burger, Mexi-Burger and Cowboy Burger featuring sautéed onion, cheddar cheese, bacon and barbecue sauce (priced $10.95 to $12.95). I opted for the Mushroom Swiss Burger which features a half-pound Angus burger topped with sautéed mushrooms, Swiss cheese and wedge fries ($11.95). All burgers are served with seasoned wedge fries.
The burger – in all of its half-pound glory – was delivered in a paper-lined tray. There were visible sauteed mushrooms and a delicious looking cascade of melted Swiss cheese oozing generously from beneath its homestyle bun. Delicious, no?
The burger featured a Kaiser-style roll which was soft and pillowy. Its softness made the burger easy to handle; however, it also predisposed the bun to easy compaction and sogginess, especially when faced with the plentiful juices from the burger.
Burgers are made to order at The Gingerbread House, and mine would have scored slightly higher had it displayed even a bit of pink on its interior. But, alas, it was closer to medium well. Fortunately, the patty was well-seasoned and loosely packed, giving it a nice texture and juiciness (enough that it dripped profusely when I picked it up). The flavor quality of beef isn’t really something to which I paid much attention to until I began eating so many of them, but I also noted that the beef itself didn’t quite have the rich beefy flavor that really takes a burger over the top.
There was good and bad in the burger’s toppings. On the very good end, the Swiss cheese was generous and well-melted, and the mushrooms were nicely caramelized with a rich earthy flavor (I would have loved to see more of them on the burger, in fact). I did opt for lettuce and tomato on my burger, though I might not choose to go that route again, as the tomato was super thin with relatively little flavor; and the lettuce was limp by the time it arrived at my table.
At $11.95, this was a well-priced burger, which made for an affordable (and filling) lunch, particularly with the generous portion of wedge fries alongside. That said, I would have gladly paid more for a slight upgrade to both the beef and bun.
You can get a decent Mushroom Swiss burger – with a side of charm – at The Gingerbread House in Muskego.
The Gingerbread House is open Monday through Thursday from 5 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 5 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Burgers are available Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
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.