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After a long stretch of eerie quietness, the usual buzz has begun to return to Old World Third Street (soon to be Martin Luther King Jr. Dr.). The optimism surrounding loosened pandemic restrictions has, naturally, helped. As has the return of warmer weather. But, even on non-game days the excitement of the Bucks making it to the play-offs seems to linger in the air around the longtime German commercial corridor.
Of course, the stretch of newly expanded parklet-style patio spaces at a variety of bars and restaurants in the area, doesn’t hurt that vibe one single bit.
In fact, spots like Milwaukee Brat House, a staple at 1013 N Old World Third St. since 2008, are a great bet, not only for grabbing a few drinks and a quick bite, but also for taking in all the pent up urban energy that’s finally beginning to resurface after many months of pandemic-fed anxiety.
Their outdoor seating area provides room for somewhere around 50 guests at a combination of umbrella-topped tables and larger sunswept beer-garden style picnic tables that easily seat 8-10 each.
Any one of them makes the perfect spot to take in the street side bustle, people watch or simply throw down a few cold drinks with friends on a lazy afternoon.
The Brat House has a sausage-friendly selection of draft brews, from domestic staples like Miller Lite and Schlitz to imports and more well known craft beers from breweries like Lakefront and New Glarus (and a few more in bottles and cans). Drafts are even $1 off during happy hour (weekdays from 3 to 6 p.m.).
But if beer’s not your mainstay, you’ll find plenty of other options including hard cider, seltzers (Vizzy, White Claw) and plenty of cocktail options including popular picks like the Lunchbox, a $5 mug of brew topped with amaretto and OJ (trying one might be a bit like your Brat House initiation).
Even better, if you get hungry, there are plenty of choices, from burgers and sausages (topped pretty much however you like) to salads.
Of course, if you’re drinking with friends, you’ll probably also want shareable snacks. Obvious choices include their famously huge Bavarian pretzels (served with sharp cheddar cheese sauce, house made beer cheese soup and spicy beer mustard), loaded tots or fried wings (dry-rubbed or sauced).
But you can also get your fried cheese curd fix with no regrets. The white cheddar curds are beer-battered, deep-fried, and dusted with (yes, even more cheese) Parmesan cheese. Get them with ranch on the side or go bold and have them tossed in house Buffalo sauce for an extra $1.
On Fridays, you can also enjoy the Brat House’s signature fish fry complete with Schlitz-battered cod, fries, rye bread, tartar sauce and coleslaw ($13.95).
But, if you’re visiting during the play-offs, it might just be an added dose of good luck to order up a Milwaukee brew and The Greek Freak, a special sausage-filled tribute to #34 featuring a pita stacked with Bunzel's Gyro Brat and a fresh flavorful mix of diced tomatoes, cucumbers, chopped pepperoncini, kalamata olives, red onion, feta, and tzatziki sauce ($13.95).
Any way you look at it, somebody is a winner.
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.