Heading south on Lake Drive in Cudahy, many people remember the Old Fountain Blue, a popular dining and drinking spot where older friends of mine reminisce about their pre-prom antics in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
After Fountain Blue closed its doors several years ago, local business enthusiast Lee Barczak and his wife Jane Schilz stepped in to return the circa 1911 building to its glory as a boutique hotel and café.
Now named Sheridan House, 5133 S. Lake Dr., an inadvertent throwback to the building’s 1920s stint as the Sheridan Hotel, Barczak and Schilz have painstakingly transformed every square inch of what is now a 12-room getaway in what they have coined “Milwaukee Metro’s South Side.”
The rooms here are classic with a decidedly masculine bend and reflect famous worldly vineyard names, perhaps a nod to the couples’ sister business, Sheridan’s Finest Wine and Generous Spirits, in the Milwaukee Public Market.
The café, which opened in early September, is art nouveau meets comfortable classic and the menu, with former Sanford and Coquette Café chef Jason Jones at the helm, lends an authoritative twist to all foods ordinary.
Because the café is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, the menu is filled with breakfast and midday selections several steps up from your standard fare.
In the mornings, diners can select from sweet, savory and breakfast sandwich selections including Belgian waffles ($5.95), French toast ($6.75), oatmeal pancakes ($6.50), gourmet omelets ($7.95), Sheridan’s spin on either eggs Benedict (“Eggs Sheridan” served on a baguette with ham beneath a red pepper hollandaise: $8.25), or the Egg soufflé du jour ($6.50) which parrots a quiche stuffed within light puff pastry.
The breakfast sandwiches skew epicurean with a sweet apple wood panino ($5.50) replacing a common bacon, egg and cheese compilation, and a stuffed croissant rife with herbed cream cheese and ham ($5.75).
While lunch is served daily, dinners are only on Friday and Saturday evenings and feature fish specials that pleasantly do not include a neighborhood fish fry. Weekend diners can instead expect such delicacies as pan seared trout served with rosemary lemon risotto to find their way onto the special menu in addition to the static soups, salads, sandwiches and gourmet comfort food.
Sandwiches at Sheridan’s pair ingredients such as mascarpone and lingonberry sauce with turkey breast on the lingonberry turkey ($7.95) and caramelized apples and orange coriander dressing on the apple wood chicken panino ($8.25). Entrées, too, take a step outside the box of bistro dining, adventurously pairing tomatoes and cashews in a chutney with tamarind glazed shrimp ($14.95), and roasted carrots in a Tahini yogurt sauce abreast a honey glazed roasted chicken ($11.95)
Saturdays and Sundays feature a sophisticated brunch with many of the daily breakfast items, and of course, mimosas, bloody marys, coffee and hot chocolate drinks. The dessert menu here, too, is promising with Annie Wegner LeFort (of Braise on the Go) -- Sheridan’s pastry chef -- adding cakes, pastries and novelty desserts to the fledgling restaurant’s already expansive menu.
Before the weather turns, the outdoor patio at Sheridan’s is a good place for a first visit, featuring a “Ring of Fire” fountain and natural wood burning fire pit. And its Cudahy location makes this perhaps a destination spot for Milwaukeeans or others looking for a new definition of weekend getaway or weekday business travel.
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.