It's taken a long time for me to find The Trysting Place, N71W12980 Appleton Ave., in Menomonee Falls.
Of course, like most Milwaukeeans, I've heard of the place for years. But until life's little circumstances led me to start driving past the bar and grill on the corner of Appleton and Good Hope once in a while over the last year, I couldn't even have told you where it was located.
In recent months, we've talked about stopping in to try the fish fry, because we've heard good things. A few weeks ago we stopped in and tried the fish.
It was a warm evening – one of the first in a while – and so we took the opportunity to sit outside on the covered patio. While there's not much to see out there, it's remarkably relaxing considering it's nearness to the parking lot and busy Appleton Avenue. Anyway, we dined as a family and we figured if the kids got messy or loud, it would be less intrusive out there (luckily, they didn't).
Inside, the Trysting Place is a sprawling bar with an attached dining area, pool tables and even a banquet room. On a late spring early Friday evening, the bar wasn't crowded, but I suspect it gets pretty hopping as the sun sets and, I bet, when the softball crowd starts to roll in.
But, I saw no apparent trysting and so, parents, it's just fine to bring the kids. We were one of about a half-dozen tables on the patio with children during our visit.
While the kids noshed on grilled cheese and fries (and my applesauce, natch), I of course had the fish. Cod, battered and fried, and paid the extra dollar for the potato pancakes.
As is de rigueur, there were also two slices of rye, a cup of tartar sauce and a cole slaw.
The portion was generous – and cost $9.95 (plus the extra buck for the pancakes) – with three big pieces of fish that were flaky and delicious. Though the batter was a little on the greasy side, a few dabs of a napkin was enough to remedy that.
The pancakes were pretty good; not amazing but certainly not bad. They were crisp outside and tender inside, but could have used a bit of a flavor jolt.
I always hope for – but rarely experience – a revelation a la the old Turner Hall of Kegel's. Here, it was hard to tell if they were made on-site or not.
Though definitely better than the clearly out of the box variety, these shredded potato flapjacks were pretty uniform in shape, which made me think they may not be handmade at The Trysting Place.
The service was attentive and super friendly with our server and her helper keeping the kids happy and keeping our needs met despite their being in constant demand and in constant motion.
Of course, the large menu has lots of pub food options beyond the Friday fish fry, with a wide range of burgers, sandwiches, appetizers, salads and more.
In the end, we spent a total of $40 for two kids meals and two adult meals plus a beer each for the adults. Not bad. The food was plentiful and good, the vibe was mellow and low stress, and the staff was great.
So, though we arrived very, very late to The Trysting Place's charms, we'll be back to experience them again.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.