If the bacon craze is winding down, don't tell that to the Saloon on Calhoun, which recently changed its name to the Saloon on Calhoun With Bacon.
The popular western suburban sports bar and grill, nestled in a most unexpected location at 17000 W. Capitol Dr., is going bananas for bacon, putting the pork in everything from cocktails to apps to desserts.
In other words, if their bacon-buttered grilled shortcake topped with fresh strawberries, covered in whipped cream and kissed with sprinkles of sweet bacon bits, is just a little too much for you, the bar serves free bacon – straight up – at its daily happy hour.
This place isn't messing around.
The bacon Bloody Mary, for example, is not especially unusual these days, but the Saloon on Calhoun doesn't hold back, using BAKON vodka, BaconSalt and two strips of bacon.
They work swine into several main courses, too, but the desserts are perhaps the most unique. Besides the strawberry shortcake, they also serve bacon-wrapped brownies.
The Saloon on Calhoun is a place for serious pigging out.
"Everything's better with bacon," says the bar's general manager Jennine Paoli, who helped create the new concept during a recent ownership change.
There are, however, some things that are not better with bacon, admits Paoli. Like the bacon chocolate martini, which didn't make the cut.
"I tried it, and it was disgusting," she says.
Paoli says her customers love the new theme. "They love its quirkiness, they love the disgruntled pig on our logo," she says.
Bacon goodness aside, the Saloon on Calhoun holds plenty of other non-pork activities at the bar. Live music, trivia and karaoke, for example, keep the place busy. "It's a word of mouth bar, it always has been," but business is good, says Paoli.
Paoli says she doesn't think the bacon craze has jumped the shark (or jumped the pig) – "I don't think it's ever gonna die" – but if it does, she doesn't rule out tweaking the concept of the bar yet again.
"This was just something quirky, and we don't know where things will go. We know where we want them to go, but those are our secrets," she says.
Andy is the president, publisher and founder of OnMilwaukee. He returned to Milwaukee in 1996 after living on the East Coast for nine years, where he wrote for The Dallas Morning News Washington Bureau and worked in the White House Office of Communications. He was also Associate Editor of The GW Hatchet, his college newspaper at The George Washington University.
Before launching OnMilwaukee.com in 1998 at age 23, he worked in public relations for two Milwaukee firms, most of the time daydreaming about starting his own publication.
Hobbies include running when he finds the time, fixing the rust on his '75 MGB, mowing the lawn at his cottage in the Northwoods, and making an annual pilgrimage to Phoenix for Brewers Spring Training.