By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor Published Oct 06, 2021 at 10:01 AM

’Tis Dining Month, the tastiest time of year! This means we’re dishing up fun and fascinating food content throughout October. Dig in, Milwaukee!

Looking for new spots to try? Lori Fredrich will be dishing out her top five picks in 20 different dining categories throughout the month of October.  

Staring down a list of new restaurants – and trying to determine which one to try next – is often a daunting prospect. But my hope is that this list of promising spots makes your journey a bit easier. 

Need more choices? Check out the full list of restaurants, cafes and bakeries which have opened in the past year.

Don't forget to be kind, patient and tip well!

1. Birch

Green tomato carpaccio at Birch
Green tomato carpaccio at Birch

459 E. Pleasant St., (414) 323-7372

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The variety at Birch is part of what makes this newly reimagined restaurant shine. Dishes run the gamut from fresh and bright (take that summer crudo made with Steelhead trout, for instance) to sexy and caramelized (like the wood-fired shishito peppers currently served with house foccaccia and ricotta). Meat dishes are satisfying, but never overly heavy; and their housemade filled pastas are simultaneously exciting and comforting. Most importantly, if you love vegetables, you'll find them in spades. They're respected, treated well and allowed to shine... right there in the center of the plate.

2. Fool’s Errand

 Monte Cristo from Fool's ErrandX

316 N. Milwaukee St., (414) 269-9908

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I know that one shouldn't get too attached to restaurants; but I'll admit I was quite heartbroken when Fauntleroy closed last year, leaving me to mourn their amazing French onion soup and the best salmon I've eaten in a restaurant for a long while.

But I've been heartened by both the atmosphere (it's just really lively and fun) as well as the food I've had at Fool's Errand.  Their broccoli salad with tahini and herbs is delicious (and healthy!). And I literally dream about their Monte Cristo with its ultra crisp exterior, creamy interior and sweet and savory dipping sauces. I'd even go as far as to say it's the best in the city. Even better, there's now a salmon and bearnaise dish on the menu... and if it's half as good as the last, I might just be a very happy lady.

3. Taste of Lindsay Heights Cafe

1617 W. North Ave., (414) 264-2326 

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While I've not had the opportunity to stop this brand new community cafe (it just opened on Saturday), there's no question I'm going to put my food dollars behind it (and I hope that you will too). I'm 100% behind not only what it means for the Lindsday Heights Neighborhood, but our city at large. Support for local food entrepreneurs is scarce at best; so the notion of creating a low-cost venue where folks can grow their dreams is a huge deal. 

I can tell you that I'm eyeing up a nice gingery cold pressed juice shot, a warming bowl of seasonal soup, a delicious slice of rum cake and some lemonade from 11-year old entrepreneur Kyric Burt. And, if past experience holds true, I'm quite sure a slew of other items will end up making it onto my order.

4. Saint Bibiana

Burger from Saint BibianaX

1327 E. Brady St., (414) 988-4629

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Saint Bibiana is a quirky new addition to Brady Street; and I mean that in the best possible way. After all, the venue is named for Saint Bibiana, a martyr sometimes known as the patron saint of hangovers. And the venue was designed to resemble a little East Side church ... albeit a very sexy church with a neon glow in its balcony and tempting portraits of angels watching over all who partake at the bar. You should go for all of those reasons, but also for the Bibiana Burger, which is pretty sinful all on its own.

5. Central Standard Crafthouse & Kitchen

Central Standard scallops special
Scallops special (Photo: Central Standard)

320 E Clybourn St, (414) 455-8870

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I'd suggest heading to Central Standard Crafthouse & Kitchen for the sheer pleasure of hanging out in the gorgeously appointed, beautifully restored historic space.

But, there's also a great deal of promise in the menu, which I can only envision will evolve and get even better over time. I tasted through (in its entirety) during a mukbang-style FoodCrush Live the day before the restaurant made its debut.  I'm very eager to get back to enjoy a more leisurely meal, and when I do, there are a number of things I'm looking forward to enjoying again: the standard salad (so simple and fresh); the raviolo with browned butter and sage; and the aged ribeye with fondant potato and smoked soy (it was delicious). 

Of course, if there is a special like the one pictured above (scallops, aja blanco, Red Cabin Bourbon compressed plum, crispy rice noodle, and chili oil); I might just abort my entire plan to try it out.

Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.