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A smoke-free tavern? Yep.

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The Oakcrest Tavern serves food daily.

Oakcrest Tavern gives Shorewood new, smoke-free spark

There's a new hang out in Shorewood and, even as a faithful greater Downtown diner and drinker, I'm liking this place and think you should get it a try.

The new Oakcrest Tavern, 4022 N. Oakland Ave., does it right: 100 percent smoke free, casual, a comfortable bar with plenty of televisions (seven, if I counted correctly) and a dining setting that's nice, but not stuffy.

The Red Rock Café in a former life, the space has been totally gutted and reborn. Its dark burgundy walls and fireplaces give it a cool, neighborhood tavern feel that's right for eating, drinking or just hanging out.

Open only a bit longer than two weeks, it was pretty full for a recent late lunch and owner Rick Schmidt couldn't be happier. The brother (and former business partner) of Water Street Brewery, etc. owner, R.C. Schmidt, Rick has been in the business "forever," and of late has focused on consulting and helping others like Riverwalk Bistro and Cempazuchi grow and thrive. Oakcrest, though, is all his and he has already assembled a fine team including former Sauce executive chef, Ben Fairly and general manager Dan Zealley.

The menu is solid and opens with this statement, "We find this menu to be self evident." It is fairly self evident and it's all about variety. Six salads, "tavern favorites" like hanger steak, meatloaf and mussels and a ton of sandwiches including a tasty crab cake sandwich and an interesting egg salad that's cheese and aioli slathered.

Oakcrest also offers a children's menu, it's in Shorewood after all, and after 5 p.m. the menu grows to offer bigger items like tenderloin, salmon and a cognac chicken.

Food is served 11 a.m. - 11 p.m. daily, and Schmidt tells me that weekend brunch and the old-school Saturday night prime rib will begin "soon."

Oakcrest isn't in my neighborhood, but early impressions tell me that in no time it could easy become a place where "every one knows your name" no matter if you're a Shorewood resident or not. Check it out.


Talkbacks

jvilseck | Nov. 3, 2007 at 5:25 p.m. (report)

Most definitely agreeing with awj. Because of the way I was treated by Oakcrest's owner, I would have to say awj is 100% on target. Rudeness, impoliteness and ungracious behavior from a restauranteur is absolutely unacceptable. There are so many excellent, gracious restaurants on the east side/Shorewood area that no one should have to endure the poor treatment that I and apparently awj endured.

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jvilseck | Nov. 3, 2007 at 5:12 p.m. (report)

Please watch your bill carefully if you pay by credit card. We dined here late September and we agreed to split the bill with another couple. Inadvertently I'm sure, the waitress billed us for both parts of the bill. When I received my credit card statement, I immediately stopped over at Oakcrest on a Saturday morning in hopes of quickly resolving their mistake. The owner as he introduced himself refused to issue me a refund for the erroneous charge that Saturday but told me he'd call his credit card company the following Monday to void the charge. I called my credit card company that following Thursday evening and was told Oakcrest had not issued me a refund. So, the next evening on Friday, I stopped in at Oakcrest again and the owner told me everything had been taken care of on Monday. I simply asked him why he could not just issue me a refund for their erroneous charge as any other upstanding retailer could or would. He stated "no, he didn't have that capability because they (i'm assuming his employees) would be stealing him blind." Well, today as I check my credit card online, the Oakcrest owner still has not issued me a refund. So, I will go through the dispute process with my own credit card company. So diners please check your receipt(s) if you dine at Oakcrest. We have our second home in Shorewood and dine out quite frequently in the neighborhood by ourselves and with our many friends and family. I will have to say I will never recommend Oakcrest to anyone again due to the ungraciousness of Oakcrest's owner.

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awj | June 8, 2007 at 3:58 p.m. (report)

We have visited the Oakcrest Tavern twice. The food was ok, but the service was so terrible that we probably won't go back. I don't blame the waitresses...they are young and I just don't think they were trained properly. The manager (or maybe it was the owner) walks around barking at his staff and was even rude to the customers...ourselves included. He needs to teach his staff to be polite, say hello when you walk in, apologize if something goes wrong (like a forgotten appetizer as was our case), and say thanks when you leave. That will go a long way and is a lot more meaningful than the number of flat screens on the wall. If all you care about is a smoke free environment, try the Ardor Pub on Broadway.

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jaadamcz | June 6, 2007 at 8:29 p.m. (report)

It's amazing how everyone just dwells on the fact that there is no smoking. Get over it already. Go to Oakcrest Tavern get some food, have a beer and lighten up. Sit outside and enjoy Shorewood on the nice days we've been having, the food is fantastic, the drinks are great, the staff is fantastic and who really cares if you can't smoke? Who can really smoke, eat and drink at the same time anyway???

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ChateauDweller | June 6, 2007 at 4:02 p.m. (report)

Yes, and we should ban all unhealthy food, coughing, and rail tequilla shots because they all could affect your health. I say we mandate velcro shoes so nobody trips into someone else. While we are at it, maybe the govt. can whipe our rears when we are finished because none of us are smart enough to make the right choices. . . . more Soma please. . .

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