Posts Tagged ‘Wisconsin Cheeseburger’
And so many are bogus, anyway, aren’t they? I wonder what kind of person it takes to completely trash a restaurant based on some (usually imagined) slight, like “My water had ice cubes in it?” “We were VERY nice to the waitress but it didn’t help.” “I didn’t want onions on it, even tho the menu said that, and I didn’t tell you otherwise.”
I can imagine these people as children: “Wah, you didn’t cut the crusts of my sammich!” “What do you mean you washed my favorite shirt?” Whatever.
None of them have the slightest clue about how difficult it is to start and run an independent restaurant, and then add 4-5 more of the same concept over a few years. Somebody’s blood, sweat, tears, money, debt, and 100 hour weeks. Nor do the whiners have any concept of what it’s like to be a server, one of the least appreciated jobs around, where no matter how big of a jerk your customer is, you’re expected to be ultra sweet and polite to every one. I couldn’t do it. Either. For sure.
So as for me, I look for the redeeming things in every restaurant experience, because I take into account the points I listed above. I have ‘elastic boundaries.’ And I like to be surprised to the point where the reality of a meal experience far exceeds my expectations.
And after that long line of B.S. above, we come to the heart of the matter, my experience at Milwaukee Burger Company (MBC), at their Kenosha location.
This indy has five locations in SE Wisconsin. And during my visit, they exceeded every one of my expectations.
MBC has taken local ingredients to create American cuisine that just rocks. While there are some creative takes on the menu, the chef didn’t feel the urge to go crazy by reinventing American classics.
This is a burger shop. And craft beer. And they excel at both.
So here’s the deal: server – John. Knowledgeable. Friendly. Interested in our experience. Conscientious checking back.
Hamburger. I had the Cheese Curd cheeseburger, which had two giant curds atop the patty (see pic below). If you’re not from or been thru Wisconsin, cheese curds are a pretty standard offering but most of them are pretty awful, reminiscent of those fried cheese sticks in bars.
Curds are not supposed to be like that, and these certainly aren’t. MBC starts with a sizable cube of (choice of) fresh cheese, and douses it with their own unique breading formula before frying it just to the point of the breading being crisp and the cheese starting to melt. Perfect. These should be the standard by which all other curds are judged. I’m not joking, pal.
Onion rings for an appetizer. I’ve had the pleasure (privilege?) of dining in 65 countries, and o-rings are one of my go-to foods to try every where. Spoiler alert? Without a doubt, no questions asked, no contest, MBC makes the best rings I have had anywhere on the planet.
They start with large slices of sweet onion, again into their special batter which somehow ends up being crispy and fluffy at the same time without being overbearing. I like a lighter breading on my rings, not those kind that are more like a string of onion inside a donut. Two of us couldn’t finish an order. A very generous serving, and a good value.
Finally, the burger. I dissemble them, that’s my thing. I want to see how I like each part of a burger before seeing how I like the entire experience. And of course, the beef patty has to be the star of the show, and at MBC it surely it. Great beef flavor, a light seasoning, nice texture. A very pleasurable experience.
The menu offers a variety of ‘pre-designed’ choices for burgers, or the build your own option, with lots of choices for cheese, toppings, and condiments.
The burger comes nestled on a bakery soft, brushed with butter bun, which is sturdy enough to hold whatever you choose to top your burger with. And as I am sure you are aware, flimsy buns can be a problem at many places.
I upgraded my side to get the poutine, which, if you’re not familiar, is the national snack dish of Canada, available everywhere you go up North. It’s fries (here, superb fresh cut), brown gravy, and cheese curds (not fried), and MBC’s “interpretation” is great. Too many chefs today think this is one of those things they can ‘gussy up’ with weird ingredients. Loved this one.
All in all? I’m enthused enough that I will drive the hour that it takes me to get to one of their locations to try many more things on the menu. To me, it is that good. Congrats, people!!! Oh, and I’m not a craft beer drinker, but if you are, you’ll be more than happy with the selections available.
Was there anything I didn’t like? Sure, but that’s just me. Most people will find the wall to wall TV’s with sports enjoyable. Whenever I’m in a joint like that, I always wish they could have one TV on
CNN or something. But you (I) don’t have to watch, either. Afterthought: MBC thoughtfully provides take home boxes constructed out of paper products, instead of plastic or foam. Appreciated on so many levels!
Milwaukee Burger Company Review
This isn’t the sort of place I’d usually stop or write about. First because I’m the last person you’d ever expect to find in a campground, and secondly because in advance of eating there, pretty sure I’d expect to be disappointed. Boy, was I wrong in thinking that here!
Plymouth Rock Campground is a sizable campground for RVs, trailers, and tent campers, with hundreds of spots for rent – you can get maximum facilities or minimum.
There are clean public bathrooms, showers, three swimming pools, a very well stocked store, and planned activities. It also happens to be across the highway from RoadAmerica, a professional race track that stages Indy, Nascar and other races. This is a monster facility that can accommodate up to 150,000 spectators. I didn’t attend.
Near the swimming pool in the NE corner of the campground, is the restaurant, which serves from breakfast until 9PM, a typical “snack bar” menu, but very long on choices. (Menu follows below).
You’ve probably been to a hundred to these types of places, whether at your local golf course, high school game, street fair, and they are all pretty much the same, pre-made, frozen items reheated on the spot. Even the burgers on Amtrak are like that (and very expensive).
Not so with the Plymouth Rock folks. I could tell looking over the ordering window that they had a full kitchen and were actually cooking to order. A flattop grill next to a fryer for burgers, fries, rings, tenders, fish sandwiches and the like. A Baker’s Pride counter top pizza oven. Bakers Pride ovens are standard gear for most of the pizzerias in America. Broaster Chicken oven. Equipment like that, you know these people are serious.
I ordered a bacon cheeseburger and a side of fries, expecting to receive what I described above. Wrong. The burger was hot, freshly made, topped with hand-cut veggies I requested, on a substantial bakery roll – stiff enough to hold a burger, but soft to bite into. Likewise, the fries were hot, crisp, and lightly salted. REAL POTATOES. It’s a pet peeve of mine these days to order fries and get those ones made by extruded presses, they basically take a mashed potato slurry and shove it through a fry shaped mold. Yecchh. No flavor, wrong texture. But not these.
I had to say something, so I finished eating (hey, priorities!) and went back to the counter and said “That was really great, it really exceeded my expectations.”
They thanked me. Nice young couple. How many people thank a cook at a place like this. (I do, a lot, if I’m impressed). Running a restaurant is hard, thankless work.
I was also very surprised at the value pricing. This kind of situation, only outlet for hundreds and hundreds of people, captive audience, usually prices the menu by the “flinch method.”
Not these nice folks. They could easily get another half buck to a buck for any item on the menu and I’m sure no one would bat an eye.
This is a seasonal operation as is the campground. Not sure of precise dates, but sometime from April to October. They mentioned they owned another restaurant, but I didn’t think to get the details.
Click the menus for larger views.
Plymouth Rock Campground Restaurant Review
I was prepared for three things – to wait awhile for a table, to have to pay more than I wanted to, and for lousy service due to the crowds. None of the three happened. We were seated immediately, despite nearly a full house, the prices were unbelievably reasonable, and the service was prompt, continuous, and affable. So I over tipped.
“Over the top” bloody mary cocktails has become a “thing” latey, and Sobelman’s has it down to an art, offering a half dozen varieties. My order was pretty near the low end of the scale, and didn’t take all that long to get served, despite the crowds.
Sobelmans has their own version of an ‘amuse bouche,’ as the waitress handed us short glasses of beer (4 ounces?) the moment we sat at the table. She was back quickly to take the order, and for the table, we had the “Masterpiece,” and one that I missed the name of that featured chunks of buffalo flavored chicken on a skewer, along with the other accompaniments. My Masterpiece had a slider, sausage, jumbor shrimp, olive, cheese, pickle, mushroom, celery stalk, pickled green bean, and one lonely Brussel sprout.
The waitress had an absolutely perfect answer for my question on whether or not it was a single shot of vodka; she replied “they free pour.”
Bloody mary mix is very good, medium spice, medium tomato juice “thickness” and is supplied by a local company called Jimmy Luv’s. At the extreme end of the bloody mary menu is one with all the kind of stuff previously mentioned, and an ENTIRE WHOLE FRIED CHICKEN. That one goes for $50. They have special bacon-themed ones, as well.
We also had an order of fries, and “bacon cheese crack,” deep fried cheese fritters laced with bits of bacon. Oh my.
Now depending on whom you ask, these special bloodys are only served on Saturday and Sunday, or just Sunday. I couldn’t resolve that.
What’s funniest of all? Sobelman’s always gets voted “best burger in Milwaukee,” and I went there to have one, and didn’t!
Take a gander at the burger menu before heading over. Lots of appys, sandwiches, and the proverbial Wisconsin Friday nite fish fry.
This is a great experience. Top quality ingredients, creative flair, extremely fair pricing, and good service.Oh, and a good assortment of table top condiments at the reach. Do it.
Sobelmans Pub and Grill Review
George Webb. When it’s 3AM, you shouldn’t be driving, and White Castle won’t cut it, and you’ve sworn never to set foot i a Denny’s again. Since 1948, the George Webb chain has been serving locally sourced grub to hungry Packer backers 24/7; to go, at the counter, or table side.
Webb’s B and B (breakfast and burgers) menu is all cooked to order, and they really do try and source as much locally as they are able, kinda like the Pacific Northwest’s Burgerville. (which I never understood the fascination locals have for this place, and besides, their workers don’t wear gloves).
Toss in a couple of ersatz dinner entrees (including the ubiquitous Wisconsin Friday night fish fry, but aviaalb e, and the George Webb experience is complete.
Webb’s food is a step or six above national or other regional chains, even if you can’t get your hash browns “Waffle House” style of chopped, slopped, cropped, mopped, smothered, covered, or however the phrase goes.
I went for a single plain burger at midnight, and it was delish.
I’ll almost always stop at a place that’s been open for three decades or more, especially if they brag about it. Since around 1917, Wedl’s have been serving burgers griddled on a flattop, in lard and onions, in the tiny burg of Jefferson, Wisconsin, on US Highway 18 between Madison and Milwaukee. I understand that the place has gone through a number of owners during their nearly one century of operation, but locals say the recipes and methods haven’t changed in all those years.
As the burgers are cooked and served from an 8 x 8 wood shack on the sidewalk, the business is only open seasonally.
They’ve recently purchased the adjacent building and can now offer indoor seating as well as some ice cream on the side.
Burgers are available in one, two, or three patties, and of course with your choice of cheese, bacon and the like. Condiments are left up to you from bins and bottles on the counter. Fries, rings and a few other menu items are available.
You order from either the new building or the shack window, if you are ‘dining in’ (or al fresco), they will bring you your order when it’s ready, but it seems like the majority of customers are grabbing sacks to go. A single burger clocks in at under $2.00, and while other diners have described these as “sliders”, they most certainly are not, easily topping the size and weight of your standard McDonald’s burger.
The chef-du-jour takes a fist full of fresh ground beef, puts it on the sizzling flattop, and smashes it, where it cooks quickly. Fresh large-chopped white onions are being sauteed next to and around the burger patties; cook seems to be able to handle about 20 or more patties at a time.
The buns are soft, but firm enough to hold the burger. Some dash of “secret seasoning” and your hamburg sandwich is ready for consumption. I tried both a plan and a cheese, and I have to say, these are some of the best hamburgers I have had in year. I liked the texture of the grind, the seasoning, and the bun. I added my usual dill pickle chips and yellow mustard as condiments, though the burger doesn’t really need any help. Ordinary crinkle cut fries are….ordinary, but a nice side nonetheless.
I drove a couple hours out of my way to hit this place, and it was worth it. I might just drive a few hours out of my way on a regular basis for the rest of my Midwest visit!
Winding our way through the backwoods of Wisconsin, back and around my old stomping ground of LaCrosse, where I had my first job after college. Cruising up US 53 north out of LaCrosse, and feeling a might puckish as the noon hour was approaching. We had passed through Sparta, WI, earlier, home of F.A.S.T. Enterprises, manufacturers of huge fiberglass ‘things’, like the muffler man, and chickens, and you name it. Always a joy for me to see that field.
On to Arcadia, Wisconsin, home of a factory for Ashley Furniture, and Arcadia Fryers (now part of Gold N Plump) and not much else. Founded in 1855 along the banks of the Trempealeau River, an 80 mile tributary of the Mississippi.
Wandered into the Detox Bar and Grill, expecting your usual assortment of bar food, which they had, and a whole lot more. I had a hankering for smelt bites, as it was the season, but fell for the Detox burger when I read that the bun was garlic/cheese French bread. Ah, overdose, material.
And you know what? This was one of the best burgers I have had in the past year or so. Hand made patty, nicely seasoned and cooked, and the garlic/cheese bread added to the flavor layer. I liked it. I’d do it again.