By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Sep 26, 2006 at 4:17 PM
Despite the kitschy “island” theme, which is anathema to a nearly life-long, serious fan of Jamaican music like me, the Painted Parrot, 8028 W. National Ave., dishes up one of the area’s best Friday night fish fries.

Of course, this is no secret. Just pop over there one weekend and you’ll see that for yourself. I, however, was previously ignorant. On a recent Friday, I went there on the recommendation of my sister-in-law after fleeing the 90-minute wait at Kegel’s. I was pleased to find a 30-minute wait at Painted Parrot.

A shorter delay could only mean one thing: baaaaaad fish fry. A longer wait was not an option, as we had an 11-month-old in our party. Although the wait turned out to be longer than half an hour, the music wasn’t excessively loud and it wasn’t all that smokey in this bar/restaurant.

The $9.95 fish fry is all you can eat, which is a rapidly disappearing trend, and is served family style on an upended rubbish pan lid (hey, if they wanna go for the Jamaican theme, I can use the lingo, too!).

The battered cod arrived hot and not too greasy. Best of all the breading had a nice, peppery taste that made the fish jump in your mouth. The potato pancakes are tiny and delicious and aside from the fish, it is the pancakes that make the fry for me.

There was good cole slaw and tasty salted rye bread, of course, but I went home remembering the fish and the pancakes. Alas, we never got our second helping since the longer than expected wait, combined with the arrival of one of our bedtimes, meant we had to make a quick getaway.

But don’t worry, Parrot, we’ll be back. Maybe for the all you can eat crab legs three nights a week!
Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.