For the eighth straight year, October is Dining Month on OnMilwaukee.com, presented by Locavore, the newest restaurant at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino. All month, we're stuffed with restaurant reviews, delectable features, chef profiles and unique articles on everything food, as well as the winners of our "Best of Dining 2014."
Italian-American restaurant Buca di Beppo – which roughly translates to "Joe’s Basement" – first opened in the basement level of a Minneapolis apartment building in 1993. Today, there are 95 restaurants nationwide – including two in Milwaukee – and Planet Hollywood International, Inc. now owns the chain.
When Buca first opened on the Lower East Side more than a decade ago, there was a lot of positive buzz about the family-style dinners, the kitschy decor, the opportunity to dine in the kitchen and the photos of partially nude men in the ladies powder room.
In recent years, the Buca buzz seems to have simmered down and so, OnMilwaukee.com checked in with the Social Circle for its thoughts on the restaurant. What are your thoughts on Buca?
Kelly Briskie: "We still love it and when you get the one table where you can hear everyone else speaking as clear as day at the table across the aisle it's even better! We call it the echo table."
Sean Finnegan: "When they were bought out a few years back, the menu and quality changed for me. I haven't been there as much as I was back in the day. Too bad, it was a fun place for large groups of people."
Marla Czechowski: "Carini’s is the place."
Laura Fefferman: "Still a fun place to go with the group!"
TW Hansen: "Great pasta for people with no teeth. No teeth at all left in their heads. Just gums."
Damien Jaques: "Went once, thought the food was mediocre, and never returned. Too many better restaurants in Milwaukee."
Mary McDowell: "We like it so it's a go-to spot for us. Although I hate when we make reservations and they have you standing around waiting for a table."
Yo Meegs: "I still love their green beans!"
Kymberly Parodo: "Joey Buona's is so much better."
Christina Poth: "It's a chain restaurant. It's as authentic as the Olive Garden, so meh."
Tamila Reed: "I have gone there exactly once. Blech."
Anja Sieger: "I always thought it a local restaurant, and then when I moved to Kansas City, I discovered an identical Buca there. It is a huge chain. Knowing that surprised me. In my opinion homemade Italian food always beats any Italian restaurant."
John Shaw: "Not my number one go-to for Italian, but If someone suggested it for dinner, I wouldn't be opposed."
Heather Smith: "I haven't been there in at least 10 years so don't know."
Jim Thompson: "Once a year to split a pasta, antipasto salad and a little left for lunch the next day. The original location in Minneapolis back in the day was really cool."