By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor Published Dec 23, 2021 at 1:06 PM

Snuggle up with some holiday cheer as OnMilwaukee shares stories of everything merry and bright in the spirit of the season.

Brought to you by Noel Indoor Light Park & Christmas Market and MillerCoors

The holidays are the perfect time to plan cozy gatherings with family and friends. But all of those things take time and effort.

That’s why the holidays are the perfect time to consider leaving the cooking to someone else. Even better, you can support local restaurants at the same time.

Here is a list of locally owned and operated restaurants offering something special for the holidays. 

Saint Kate Arts Hotel
139 E. Kilbourn Ave., (414) 270-4422

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Aria is taking reservations for both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day meals from 2 to 8 p.m. on Dec. 24 and 25. Guests can choose between a special holiday pre-fixe menu (with a choice of prime rib or filet) or the standard Aria menu. Reservations can be made online or by phone.

Aria is also accepting reservations for dinner on New Year’s Eve between 5 and 11 p.m. Choose from Aria’s standard menu or an enhanced menu (featuring oysters, seafood, streaks and more). Reservations can be made online or by phone.

Bavette La Boucherie
330 E. Menomonee St., (414) 273-3375

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Bavette will be offering pre-made Christmas dinners for four with a choice of thyme and garlic beef tenderloin roast ($240) or fennel pollen bone-in pork roast ($192). Accompaniments for both include bordelaise sauce, black garlic potato and celery root gratin, roasted mushrooms with kale & cured ham, a salad with pickled apple, dried cherries, pepitas & blue cheese, rolls and cultured butter, and a sticky marmalade, ginger and nutmeg cake for dessert. Meats will require cooking (instructions are included), with fully prepared accompaniments that can be heated and served. Both meals will come in servings of 4 (please order for 4 or 8 or 12, etc.). Ordering deadline is Dec. 15 with pick up Dec. 23 and 24. All orders can be placed online, by phone or by email (

New Year's Eve heat and eat dinners will also be available. Each meal serves two for $120. Meals include veal osso bucco; celery root and black truffle lasagna, topped with crab breadcrumbs; roasted broccoli raab; citrus, pomegranate and goat cheese salad; rolls and cultured butter; and sacher torte with raspberries and whipped cream for dessert. Ordering deadline is Dec. 17 with pick up on Dec. 30 and 31. All orders can be placed online, by phone or by email (

459 E. Pleasant St., (414) 323-7372
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For New Year’s Eve, Birch is offering two in-house dining options, a five course chef’s tasting menu or a three course prix fixe dinner.  The tasting menu is available for $110 per person with optional wine pairings for +$75 (the tasting menu must be ordered by all parties at a given table). The menu starts off with a selection of canapes (day boat scallops with citrus and silk chili; beef tartare with dry aged beef fat and caviar; country ham with slow roasted salsify; wood roasted oysters with pickled peppers and kale). Remaining courses include shell-roasted lobster with leeks and matsutake mushrooms; ricotta filled pasta with brown butter and parmesan; dry aged beef with sunchokes, hen of the woods mushrooms and Swiss chard; and wood roasted apples with miso caramel for dessert.   The prix fixe menu is $65 per person and includes roasted squash soup with poached lobster and crispy Brussels sprouts; a choice of dry aged beef with hen of the woods mushrooms and chard or chicken under a brick with braised carrots and Brussels sprouts; and a dark chocolate tart with herbed whipping cream for dessert.

Black Shoe Bakery
Pick-up @Blue’s Egg Milwaukee
317 N. 76th St., (414) 299-3180

A variety of holiday desserts and baked goods from Black Shoe Bakery will be available to pre-order online beginning Monday, Dec. 13 (with pick-up starting Dec. 16).

Offerings will include 9-inch pies including Key Lime, apple and pecan ($20-$22); dinner rolls (six for $6 or a dozen for $12); 6-inch cakes including spice, red velvet and German chocolatte ($36); retro cookie boxes with peanut blossoms (4), stained glass cookies (4) and peppermint snowballs (4) for $24; chocolate cookie boxes with hot cocoa cookies (4), chocolate crinkles (4) and salted brown butter chocolate chip cookies (4) for $24; nut cookie boxes including Nutella rugelach (4), pecan snowballs (4) and cranberry-pistachio shortbread (4) for $24; and cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting (four for $18).

Pick-up for orders will be available Wednesday, Dec. 16 through Thursday, Dec. 23 from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily at Blue's Egg curbside (located behind the restaurant at 320 N. 77th St.).

Braise Restaurant
1101 S. 2nd St., (414) 212-8843

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Braise is currently taking reservations for their very special New Year’s Eve dinner, which includes four courses for $70 per person. Courses include polenta with mushroom ragout; griled endive and pear salad; a choice of red wine braised beef, seared scallops or grilled wild mushrooms; and a choice of saffron orange creme brulee, boca negra or opera cake. Demi or full-sized wine bottle pairings are also available. Make your reservation online.

6030 W. North Ave., (414) 312-8968

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Ca’Lucchenzo will be offering a five course dine-in tasting menu for New Year’s Eve (starting at $95 per person). Reservations can be made online. A $10 per person deposit is required to secure your reservation. 

401 E. Erie St., (414) 930-9088
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Cavas will be open during normal business hours for both Christmas Eve and New Years Eve and will feature a variety of special dishes including offerings like duck confit beef and potatoes for Christmas Eve and stuffed flank steak for New Year's Eve.  Guests are also welcome to order from Cavas' regular menu. View all holiday specials online and call the restaurant to make your reservation.

360 E. Erie St., (414) 488-8036

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For the very first time, Dandan will be offering their Christmas Eve-worthy three-course Peking Duck dinner for carry-out. The meal features wonton soup, duck breast with pancakes and duck leg chow fun (serves two to three for $82). Orders must be placed online by Dec 15 for pick up on Dec. 23.

The Dark Room (TDR)
Saint Kate Arts Hotel
139 E. Kilbourn Ave., (414) 276-8686

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If you’re going to go all in (with friends) for a truly memorable New Year’s Eve, you might as well go all in at Saint Kate. They are offering guests a very special group New Year’s Eve package featuring a one-night stay with six guest rooms (Dec. 31 through Jan. 1), a New Year’s Eve dinner featuring pre-dinner drinks for 12 at Giggly and a chef-curated private dining experience for 12 in The Dark Room. You’ll also get a reserved private area for live music and cocktails in the bar after dinner (includes two bottles of champagne) and complimentary 2 p.m. late check out. Reservations can be made online.

2300 N. Mayfair Rd., Wauwatosa, (414) 867-9200
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Eldr+Rime will be open on Christmas Eve from 2 to 8 p.m. (closed on Christmas day). But they will be offering a heat and serve holiday feast for four ($140) featuring a choice of main courses (braised shortribs, roasted turkey breast or seared salmon) with a variety of sides and Christmas silk pie (chocolate mint) for dessert. View the full menu online and place your order for pick-up on Dec. 24.

Engine Company No. 3
217 W. National Ave., (414) 226-5695
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Engine Company will be offering Christmas brunch items for pre-order and pick-up. All items are par-cooked and come with baking instructions. Selections include items like quiche Lorraine or quich florentine, pancake kits and cocktail kits. View the full menu and place your order online by 2 p.m. on Dec. 18, with pick up on Dec. 22 or Dec. 23 between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.

360 E. Erie St., (414) 488-8036

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EsterEv is offering both dine-in and carry-out options for celebrating both Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

Fancy up your Christmas or New Year’s Eve with caviar service to go. The indulgent offering includes one ounce of Private Label Kaluga from Rare Tea Cellars, crème fraîche tater tots, brown butter egg salad, shallots and chives ($75). Christmas orders must be placed by Dec. 21 for pick-up on Dec. 23. New Year’s orders must be placed by Dec. 27 for pick up on Dec. 30. Orders can be placed online.

Dine in reservations are available Dec. 26, Dec. 29, Dec. 30 and Dec. 31 (with seatings at 6 p.m. or 8 p.m.). The menu includes eight courses featuring indulgent items from Rush Creek Reserve and caviar to foie gras, truffles, lobster and Wagyu steak ($120 per person; $55 wine pairings available). Reservations can be made online.

Hot Dish Pantry
Pick up at their commercial kitchen, 770 N. Jefferson St.

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Hot Dish Pantry is offering a special nostalgia-fueled menu of seven holiday-themed pierogi including brandy old fashioned duck confit pierogi; ham and scalloped potato pierogi; and a red wine poached pear and mascarpone pierogi. All pierogi are handmade in limited quantities and packaged frozen with cooking instructions. Guests can also choose from their full menu of frozen pierogi, biscuits and cookies. Ordering closes Dec. 16 (or when sold out) with pick up on Dec. 17 from 5 to 7 p.m. Free local delivery is also available in the metro Milwaukee for orders over $50. Delivery will be coordinated after orders are placed. 

The Iron Horse Hotel
500 W. Florida St., (414) 831-4677
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The Iron Horse Hotel is offering two packages for New Year’s Eve, both of which include food, beverages, DJs and live performances. IGNITE!, a celebration produced by Dynamic Events by David Caruso, will transform two floors of the Hotel into a fiery world featuring two DJs, fire dancers, acrobatics and cabaret/burlesque performances.  VIP packages include a one-night stay, complete with welcome amenity, two VIP tickets to IGNITE (including complimentary food and beverages), an open bar with signature cocktails, exclusive admission to the seafood bar in the “Red Den,” a champagne and dessert bar inside Ash, night club, food and cocktail stations in the “Dungeon” and New Year’s Day hangover brunch for two in Ash and the lobby on Jan. 1 ($719 for two). General admission includes one ticket to IGNITE (including complimentary food and beverages), an open bar with signature cocktails, a champagne and dessert bar inside Ash, night club and food and cocktail stations in the “Dungeon” ($100 per person). Purchase tickets online.

Lou Malnati's Brookfield
15795 W. Bluemound Rd., Brookfield, (414) 930-4500

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Lou Malnati's in Brookfield will be hosting a special New Year's Eve dinner, complete with a festive atmosphere and fun, family-friendly activities including a New Year countdown with “bubbly” (sparkling juice) for the kids. Seatings are available by advance reservation only at 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. with a maximum of 8 guests per party. Call to reserve your spot; Full order must be placed at time of reservation to hold the table.

Mason Street Grill
425 E. Mason St., (414) 298-3131

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Mason Street Grill is accepting reservations for New Year’s Eve dinner on Dec. 31 between 5 and 10 p.m. The evening will feature live music and a champagne toast at midnight. Private dining rooms are available for family gatherings. Reservations can be made online or by phone.

Miss Molly’s Cafe & Pastry Shop
9201 W. Center St., (414) 249-5665

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Miss Molly’s is offering heat and eat meals for both Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Both include everything needed for a holiday meal, portioned for either two ($120) or four people ($240). You can view the full menus and place your order online.  The ordering deadline for Christmas meals is Dec. 19 with pick up on Dec. 23 from 4 to 7 p.m.  New Year’s Eve orders must be placed by Dec. 26 with pick-up on Dec. 31 from 4 to 7 p.m.

The Pfister Hotel
424 E. Wisconsin Ave., (414) 273-8222 

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Christmas brunch at The Pfister is back on Dec. 25 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. And it begins with a choice of a complimentary bloody mary or mimosa, followed by their popular buffet featuring seafoods, cheeses, carved meats, omelets and more. Pricing is $27 for children (3-10 years old) and $69 for adults. View full details online. Reservations are required and can be made by phone at (877) 704-5340 or (414) 935-5950. Credit card guarantee required with 48-hour cancellation notice required or full amount is charged.

1547 N. Jackson St., (414) 276-9608
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Sanford will be open for dine-in service through Dec. 23. But they will also be offering a limited number of holiday meals for curbside pick-up. Meals are $240 (feeds four) and include slow roasted prime rib with saffron poached pear, fig and golden raisin red wine reduction; roasted root vegetables; duck fat potatoes with duck confit and parmesan breadcrumbs; rolls and buttter; holiday fruit cake with white chocolate and brandied cherries. Modifications to accommodate food allergies or dietary restrictions will not be possible. Orders can be placed online beginning Dec. 13 for pick-up on Dec. 23 between noon and 4 p.m. Important: The number of available meals is limited. When ordering, choosing “one guest” will get you one meal that serves four (if you'd like a meal for 8, choose "two guests" and so on). 

Story Hill BKC
5100 W. Bluemound Rd., (414) 539-4424

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Story Hill BKC will be offering a take-and-heat BKC Christmas Dinner featuring a two-pound Angus beef pot roast for two, with green bean casserole, roasted brussels sprouts, mac 'n cheese and hasselback sweet potatoes ($100). Add ons include mushroom lasagna ($25), and desserts from Black Shoe Bakery (see ordering details above). Orders must be in by Thursday, Dec. 16, with pickup from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 23.

Union House
S42 W31320 WI-83, Genesee Depot, (262) 968-4281

Union House will be hosting a decadent five course New Year's Eve Champagne Dinner. This formal or black tie optional event will feature a lavish tasting menu paired with select champagne such as Krug Grand Cuvee, Ruinart Blanc de Blanc, Moet & Chandon, and Veuve Cliquot ($275 per person). View the full menu online and make your reservation by calling the restaurant.

Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor

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.