October is the third annual Dining Month on OnMilwaukee.com. All month, we're stuffed with restaurant reviews, delicious features, chef profiles, unique articles on everything food, as well as the winners of our "Best of Dining 2009."
If someone mentions Taylor's, you likely think immediately of the jet-setter bar on the corner of Jefferson and Wells Streets that has accommodated Jazz in the Park patrons and the nighttime cocktail crowd since the mid-1990s.
But earlier this year, Dan and Jim Taylor pulled some of the elements of the Downtown Milwaukee hotspot into Waukesha's revitalized Downtown.
Taylor's People's Park, 337 W. Main St., mimics its sister with large windows and a bar as the focal point, but also adds some interesting art pieces, a large collage of doll and character heads behind the bar, and food.
While the restaurant promotes itself as an upscale restaurant and bar, a recent scouting visit showed the space to be more focused on alcohol than dinner. That seems just fine for this strip of Waukesha, which already boasts multiple restaurants and drinking establishments.
The atmosphere at Taylor's is casual, and it offers a decent wine, cocktail and beer list. The food menu here seems more of an afterthought, with appetizers and sandwiches, and a tiny dining area flanks the back of the space, with a few booths and tables surrounding the outskirts of the bar in the entry area.
The smoke-free bar was busy on a recent Thursday evening, as patrons who looked like they could have been picked up and dropped in from the Milwaukee location mingled. Aside from a few diners noshing on sandwiches and appetizers, most had found a cozy seat at the bar. For me, the décor was more conducive to libations than a light dinner.
Food selections at Taylor's are priced reasonably and focus on starters and sandwiches, with a few salads thrown in for good measure. The food is inexpensive and arrives rapidly, but don't expect anything extravagant nor above average
Selections include standard bar food fare: chicken wings, mozzarella sticks and artichoke and red pepper dip make the app list; the sandwich list offers burgers, chicken, grilled cheese and a tenderloin sandwich. All sandwiches come with fries (regular or "park fries" -- sweet potato fries -- for an extra buck) and a pickle spear.
The tenderloin sandwich is the most expensive item at $9.95, leaving your dinner bill well under $50 for two people with cocktails and appetizers, unless you venture into some of the more expensive signature sparklers or martinis that made the Downtown Milwaukee location's mark on the scene and also now make an appearance in Waukesha.
Amy L. Schubert is a 15-year veteran of the hospitality industry and has worked in every aspect of bar and restaurant operations. A graduate of Marquette University (B.A.-Writing Intensive English, 1997) and UW-Milwaukee (M.A.-Rhetoric, Composition, and Professional Writing, 2001), Amy still occasionally moonlights as a guest bartender and she mixes a mean martini.
The restaurant business seems to be in Amy’s blood, and she prides herself in researching and experimenting with culinary combinations and cooking techniques in her own kitchen as well as in friends’ restaurants. Both she and her husband, Scott, are avid cooks and “wine heads,” and love to entertain friends, family and neighbors as frequently as possible.
Amy and Scott live with their boys, Alex and Nick, in Bay View, where they are all very active in the community. Amy finds great pleasure in sharing her knowledge and passions for food and writing in her contributions to OnMilwaukee.com.