By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Oct 10, 2023 at 7:02 PM

This is one of our favorite stories from 2023! Thanks for reading OnMilwaukee. 

There's no shortage of articles and television shows that showcase the dishes chefs cook at their restaurants. But, what do they love to eat when they're not at work? In this beloved series, we ask Milwaukee area chefs to share three of their favorite dishes from locally owned restaurants.  Love this? Check out the rest of the series.

The National Cafe
839 W. National Ave., (414) 431-6551

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It was 2019 when longstanding employee Angie Wierzbinski and industry veteran Amy Plennes took the reins at The National Cafe, a neighborhood staple that had made a name for itself as not only a popular eatery, but a community gathering place.

Wierzbinski is a Milwaukee native and Alverno College graduate who lived and worked in both Japan and England before taking on positions with Hunger Task Force, Outpost Natural Foods Cooperative and The National Cafe. Wierzbinski and Plennes also operate the popular vegan brunch spot, The Lafayette Place, on Milwaukee’s East Side.  Fans of The National Cafe know what Wierzbinski and her staff serve at the cafe. But what does she eat when she's off the clock?  That’s what we wanted to find out.

Video by Courtney Bondar.

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Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

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.