Walker's Point, sometimes called the Fifth Ward, lies just south of the Third Ward and the eastern part of the Menomonee River Valley. Founded in 1835 as a fur trading post, the area has traditionally been home to more industry than residents. The Allen-Bradley clock tower, located in the Rockwell Automation complex, still stands as one of the icons of the neighborhood – a reminder of Milwaukee's industrial innovation and rich history.
Historically a Polish neighborhood, Walker's Point is now home to a wide variety of immigrant populations, including Mexicans and Puerto Ricans who formed small close-knit communities in proximity to the thriving industry in the nearby Menomonee River Valley.
But, in the words of Bob Dylan, "Times, they are a'changin'." Take a casual stroll down South 2nd and its adjoining streets and you'll find brand-new condos and loft apartments, hip restaurants and formerly prosaic blocks in the throes of gentrification.
In an effort to showcase the delicious side of the revitalized Walker's Point community, MKEfoodies, OnMilwaukee.com and Milwaukee Food Tours will host the first-ever Walker's Point Food Crawl Saturday, June 23 from 1 to 4 p.m.
Attendees will have the opportunity to stroll through the Historic Walker's Point neighborhood at their own pace tasting delicious small plates from area restaurants and food venues.
Here’s a glimpse of what’s in store:
- Braise (1101 S. 2nd St.) is situated in a 1907 Cream City brick building connected to a 1940s-era former bowling alley. Its ever-changing, seasonal menu focuses on high quality local ingredients. Passersby can indulge in garlic scape bruschetta with green garlic jam.
- Chez Jacques (1022 S. 1st St.), located in the warehouse that once housed the former Forelle Fish Netting company, is a cozy restaurant that serves up traditional French recipes, many of which were handed down by Chef Jacques' family. Participants will have the choice of a spinach Roquefort crepe with shallot cream sauce or a roast beef mushroom crepe with gruyere and mushroom au jus.
- C. 1880 (1100 S. 1st St.) takes diners back to a time when fresh, local and seasonal were the norm. Cocktails are solid nods to the classics, and high-end fare includes ever-changing specials incorporating locally procured meats, cheeses and produce.
- The Clock Shadow Creamery (538 S. 2nd St.) is Milwaukee’s first urban cheese factory and retail store, serving up cheese curds, quark, chevre and other fresh cheeses on a daily basis. This is your chance to try a plate of their favorite cheeses with accompaniments.
- Ginger (235 S. 2nd St.) is a low-key spot where diners can enjoy cocktails, along with world-inspired tapas. Food crawl participants can sample their choice of Thai chili shrimp rolls, or Catania toasts topped with gorgonzola cream, prosciutto, roasted red pepper and fried leek.
- INdustri Cafe (524 S. 2nd St.) is located in a 130-year-old building which housed a machine shop for almost 125 years. The restaurant aims to pays homage to all Milwaukee-based industries: agriculture, artists, manufacturing and of course, the service industry itself. Its food pays homage to Wisconsin classics, with a twist.
- Lo-Cash Live (124 W. National Ave.) combines the culture of Nashville gritty watering holes with contemporary live music, local tap beers and Southern comfort food, including finger lickin’ barbeque. Get a taste on June 23 with a BBQ pulled chicken slider served with sweet potato fries and spicy sour cream for dipping.
- The Noble (704 S. 2nd St.) is a tiny Bohemian restaurant-bar featuring idiosyncratic décor, classic cocktails and an inventive menu with choices to fit every budget.
- Purple Door Ice Cream (538 S. 2nd St.) serves up delicious scoops of super-premium, homemade ice cream, including a rotating variety of specialty flavors such as balsamic strawberry, goat cheese, bacon and whiskey. Savor a sampling of five flavors on your way to the next stop.
- Steny’s Tavern and Grill (800 S. 2nd St.) has been a Walker’s Point mainstay since the 1980s. Known for their "world famous" TB Buffalo wings, Steny’s serves up signature sandwiches, dinner specials and a Friday fish fry that includes Wisconsin staples of walleye, cod, perch and blue gill. Crawl-goers will have the opportunity to sample those famous wings alongside a mini Bloody Mary.
- Times Square Bistro and Pizzeria (605 S. 1st St.) is tucked back in an unassuming location, wedged in a strip mall attached to a gas station. In the words of Bobby Tanzilo: "Don't let the location fool you, Times Square Bistro and Pizzeria plates up a formidable slice of pizza." And you won’t want to miss the handcrafted chocolate truffles made by Atomic Chocolate.
- Zak's Cafe (231 S. 2nd St.) opened in April 2011 to the delight of neighborhood patrons seeking something fresh and different. Whether it’s a plate of brioche French toast for breakfast, a pan-fried perch sandwich for lunch or a classic Friday night fish fry, Zak’s brings Milwaukee favorites home.
- Other participating area businesses include Great Lakes Distillery, Rishi Tea, and Milwaukee Brewing Company.
Are you drooling yet? You won’t want to miss this self-guided tour of all that’s tasty in Walker’s Point. Get your tickets today. And bring your appetite.
Tickets are available online. Silver Tickets include eight small plates for $50; Gold Tickets include 14 small plates for $75. Families with children are welcome and encouraged to attend. Sponsorship for this event is provided by the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.
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.