By Andy Tarnoff Publisher Published Sep 02, 2002 at 5:49 AM

Solly's puts the butter back in the butter burger. If you're not a Wisconsin native, you may not understand why we would want a big dollop of butter on something like a hamburger. And even if you are, and your idea of a butter burger is what you'll find at Culver's, then fire up the angioplasty machine -- you're in for something completely different.

Solly's is a North Shore staple that sits in the shadow of the butter burger giant, Kopp's. Small and unpretentious, it's been serving up good, honest food since 1936.

But if it's been a few years since you've visited the small restaurant, you'll be in for a surprise when you can't find it. That's because the restaurant has been moved, literally. In 1999, the Village of Glendale picked up the building and drove it 100 yards down the street to its new location at 4629 N. Port Washington Rd.

Desipte a renovation, the building, itself, is unassuming, so the café and grill lets its food do the talking. Most of the seating is at a horseshoe-shaped lunch counter. After about a minute of reading the small menu, a no-nonsense waitress will take your order, which simply has to be a hamburger or cheeseburger. (Vegetarians, take note: Solly's offers the grilled cheese option, but if red meat isn't your thing, then you best skip this lunch.)


Choose raw or fried onions as a topping, and perhaps some fries as a side, and you're ready to go. Better make that a Diet Coke to drink; all your weekly allotted grams of fat are about to go down the hatch. If you really don't care about all that healthy eating hullabaloo, try the banana malt.

The small burgers are literally slathered in butter. Not glazed or brushed. The buns have big chunks of white, melted butter, which may be, for some, a little much. No worries. Take a napkin and wipe that bad boy off to just how you like and enjoy the phenomena that is the butter burger.

The prices are inexpensive, and the décor is spartan; a small cabinet filled with Milwaukee sports memorabilia is about all there is. But who really needs much more? Someone apparently forgot to tell the owners of Solly's that red meat and tons of butter aren't so great for the ticker. But then again, they didn't forget to tell Solly's this: you'll have to look long and far to find a Milwaukeeans who doesn't appreciate a cheap, quick and tasty lunch that packs in a lot of history along with those calories.

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 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.