Zisters, the new breakfast, brunch and lunch spot at 13425 Watertown Plank Rd., opened to the public today at 7 a.m. And it looks like a bright spot for an Elm Grove brunch.
On the exterior, Zisters doesn't appear much different than its predecessor, Penelope's Restaurant, which occupied the space for nearly two decades.
However, you'll note the transformation when you step inside. The space is clean and bright with its white tables and black stools. Frosted front windows maintain privacy on the parking lot side of the restaurant and light fixtures underscore an overall modern industrial feel.
There’s seating at both high and low top tables, as well as the back bar, which features a rustic wood bar top and aluminum facing.
Meanwhile, automatic garage door-style windows open to the north, allowing an open-air feel to the restaurant on pleasant days.
And, in an unexpected pop of color, the picture wall in the back of the restaurant near the bar showcases the restaurant’s theme: "Champagne is the new coffee."
Behind the restaurant are sisters Gabbi and Betsi Zierath and their father Dan Zierath, owner of The Zierath Restaurant Group and operator of Jacksons’ Blue Ribbon Pub in Wauwatosa and The Thirsty Duck mini-bowls in Sussex and Wauwatosa.
Breakfast and brunch
The breakfast menu is loaded with choices from appetizers like freshly made beignets ($7) which can also be ordered with chocolate sauce or fruit for an additional charge to Billionaire’s Bacon, thick-cut hickory smoked bacon that’s candied and topped with red pepper flakes ($8).
There are a variety of omelets (priced $11-13) as well as a build-your-own option starting at $8. There is also avocado toast ($11), chicken and waffles ($13) and a variety of bowls including an acai bowl with fruit, hemp granola, coconut and honey ($9), an herbivore bowl with two eggs, a choice of cheese, mushrooms, onions, spinach, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes and toast ($11) or a carnivore bowl with two eggs, ham, bacon, sausage, cheddar, potatoes and toast ($13).
Meanwhile, eggs Benedict is available served traditionally; topped with smoked salmon, feta and dill hollandaise; or as a Florentine Benedict with spinach, mushrooms, Swiss and red pepper hollandaise ($12 each). Can’t decide? Get a flight with all three for just $14.
Sweets include buttermilk pancakes (plain, bacon-filled, chocolate, or topped with items like berries, banana and walnuts), waffles and a French toast flight featuring one slice of cinnamon sugar cream stuffed, mixed berry and caramel crunch ($7-12).
On the lunch side, the menu features salads, sandwiches and flatbreads including a grilled chicken panini with sundried tomato pesto, fresh mozzarella, basil and balsamic glaze ($12), blackened salmon with lettuce, tomato, onion, avocado and lemon aioli ($14) and a steak wrap with marinated sirloin and grilled onions, mushrooms, peppers, provolone and steak sauce ($13).
There’s also the Zisters burger with mushrooms, fried onions, avocado and pepper jack cheese with a side of "zauce" ($12) and an Impossible Burger served on a pretzel bun with lettuce, tomato, fried onions and spicy mayo ($13/14 with cheese).
Flatbreads include margherita ($11), wild mushroom ($12) and salmon featuring smoked salmon, pickled red onions, capers and roasted garlic pesto ($12).
Since "champagne is the new coffee," the menu features a good selection, as well as the option for bottomless mimosas on Sundays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. for just $15. For those who prefer their wine still, there’s a nice selection of both domestic and international whites, reds and roses.
A cocktail menu features classic brunch drinks like the bellini, grapefruit mimosa and bloody mary, along with creative takes on classics like an old fashioned featuring both rye and brandy; the Zisters margarita featuring tequila, pink grapefruit liqueur, lime and honey syrup; and the "Every Rose has its Thorn" featuring vodka, elderflower liqueur, lemon and sparkling rose (priced $8-10).
There are also fresh juice blends, custom blended coffee and Brew City nitro cold brew, which is also available in a variety of cocktails like the Biscotti Americano featuring bourbon, amaretto and fresh cream ($8) and the Salted Nut Roll with vodka, Rumchata and butterscotch liqueur ($8).
Things to look forward to
An extensive patio – complete with festive cafe lights, an outdoor gas fireplace and lounge-style seating – is still on the way. In fact, construction is scheduled to begin soon and the patio could be up and running by late June or early July. Around the same time, the Zieraths also plan to expand the restaurant’s hours to include dinner service.
Beginning tomorrow, Zisters will be open daily from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., with expanded hours later this summer.
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.