A new upscale burger restaurant, Point Burger Bar, will open Wednesday, Nov. 18 at 10950 W. Good Hope Rd., near the U.S. Highway 45 interchange.
The project, headed up by local restaurateur Brian Ward, owner of Ward’s House of Prime, was inspired by burger bars in Las Vegas, including Hubert Keller’s Burger Bar and Gordon Ramsay’s Burgr at Planet Hollywood.
"You know fast casual is the trend right now in Vegas," says Ward. "And all these famous chefs are doing burger joints. During our trip, we went to like eight or nine different ones to see what they were doing. And along the way, you saw a lot of options for different buns, different proteins. And people love choices."
A licensing agreement with Stevens Point Brewery, a Wisconsin brewery with a history that dates back to 1857, lends both their name and their beer to the project. The agreement allows them to have a stake in the restaurant without bearing ownership (a proposition currently prohibited by state law). Other breweries, including Sprecher and Ale Asylum have also entered into similar agreements as an effort to spread awareness of their brews in areas outside of the vicinity of their breweries.
The Point partnership is evident in the decor, with blue and white accents (Point Brewery colors) flowing through the space, along with myriad brewery paraphernalia on the walls, which vary from whitewashed wood to brick and metal trim.
The bar features 30 taps, 25 of which are Point products, along with over 60 bottled brews and a full selection of spirits.
Branded beer kegs form a wall along the west side of the restaurant, showcasing various Point brands and brews. Meanwhile, big screen televisions throughout the restaurant broadcast various sports events.
Chef Thomas Peschong, corporate chef for Ward’s and former chef at Turner Hall and the Riversite in Mequon, designed the menu which – not unexpectedly – is filled with mostly burgers, but also numerous other sandwiches, appetizers and a few entrees.
Housemade tater tots – available both plain or poutine style – star on the appetizer menu, which also includes items like deviled eggs ($7.45), fried pickles ($6.95) and Bloody Mary gazpacho shrimp cocktail ($10.95), along with classics like cheese curds, mozzarella sticks, sweet roasted garlic hummus and onion strings with Sriracha mayo, all priced under $10.
"I was on a bus ride on my way to Green Bay for a Packers game, and that’s when I came up with the idea for making tater tots," says Ward. "And places just don’t do it, because it’s a pain. But, we knew that if we did it, we had to do it well."
Point Burger Bar tots showcase a crisp exterior and fluffy interior seasoned with a hint of chive.
The menu, says Ward, showcases numerous meat choices that you don’t necessarily find at other places, as well as high quality ingredients like Prime Angus beef, locally procured duck and the specialty Boar's Head pastrami (made from beef belly) used as both a burger topping and for stand-alone sandwiches.
Options for a "build-your-own-burger" (prices vary depending on what you choose) include Prime Angus beef, bison, lamb, duck, turkey, portobello mushroom, veggie, salmon and chicken along with selections of cheeses, breads, vegetables and sauces (think tapenade, truffle aioli, bourbon bacon jam, horseradish cream and peanut butter). Specialty burgers, like a lamb burger with feta, red onion, tomato and tzatziki sauce ($13.45) and a duck burger with 5 spice powder, caramelized onion and orange gastrique ($14.95), also showcase a variety of meats.
A signature "Point Burger" features Prime Angus beef with Sarvecchio Montamore, Nueske’s bacon and truffle mayo ($13.95).
Three soups include French onion, chili and a soup of the day ($3.95 to $6.45) and five salads including a classic cobb, Caesar, Mexican and Asian for $7.45 to $8.95.
Alternative sandwiches include grilled chicken, a perch po’ boy, pastrami and Reuben ($8.45-10.45), along with "The Nicolas" a sandwich stacked high with one pound of a mix of pastrami and corned beef for $18.95.
Entrees include skirt steak with fries and a vegetable ($17.95), shrimp skewers with lemon garlic butter, rice and vegetables ($14.95) and char-grilled salmon with basil tomato and kalamata relish with rice and vegetables ($15.95). Or you can opt for the chicken pot pie – as big as, or bigger than your head – filled with chicken veloute, carrots, celery, potatoes, peas and onions topped with puff pastry ($13.45).
Shakes made with housemade custard are another highlight of the menu, and are available in both classic ($5.95) and alcoholic formats ($10.95). There are fifteen classic flavors and twelve alcoholic varieties including flavors like Dreamsicle, Macadamia Nut Mocha, which is sweet and nutty with a subtle coffee kick from Kahlua and Dark Creme de Cocoa; and Salted Caramel Brittle which includes peanut butter and salted caramel with a hit (two shots) of Jameson and Frangelico.
Ward says the restaurant will roll out a Friday fish fry in the coming weeks, as well as brunch service (likely next year).
The Burger Bar will also offer a number of entertainment options, both during the week and on weekends. Happy hour will feature half off taps and rail drinks. Tuesdays will feature trivia; there will be karaoke on Wednesday nights, and the Kris Krowe Band will play on Thursdays (beginning Dec. 7). Other live music will also roll out on Saturday evenings starting after the first of the year.
The Point Burger Bar will be open seven days a week from 10:30 a.m. to close, with kitchen hours daily until 10 p.m. and a limited menu offered between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m. daily.
Lori Fredrich (Lo) is an eater, writer, wonderer, bon vivante, traveler, cook, gardener and girlwonder. Born and raised in the Milwaukee area, she has tried to leave many times, but seems to be drawn to this quirky city that smells of beer and alewives.
Some might say that she is a little obsessed with food. Lo would say she is A LOT obsessed with food. After all, she has been cooking, eating and enjoying food for decades and has no plans to retire anytime soon.
Lo's recipes and writing have been featured in a variety of publications including GO: Airtran Inflight Magazine, Cheese Connoisseur, Cooking Light, Edible Milwaukee, Milwaukee Magazine and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, as well as on the blog Go Bold with Butter, the web site Wisconsin Cheese Talk, and in the quarterly online magazine Grate. Pair. Share.