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Posts Tagged ‘Milwaukee’

Sams Diner Review – Waterford, WI


Sam’s Diner Review – Waterford, WI

Sam's Diner Review – Waterford, WIThere are a few times in my life when I’ve had a plate put in front of me at a restaurant and I’ve sighed and said “this is art.”

When/where this has happened, it’s never been dependent on the price or the number of stars, or some fancy name chef.

It’s about quality ingredients, meticulously prepared, properly plated, and probably a little love thrown in.

Such was the case at Sam’s Diner, a small eatery out in the middle of nowhere Wisconsin. It so exceeded my expectations on every level. It’d decorated with rustic Americana, about a dozen tables and booths.

I ordered the ham steak and eggs and was presented with a thick slab of quality ham prepared just the way I requested. I opted for “American fries” for the potato, thinly sliced crispy rounds, and marble rye toast.

Everything was superb including service and follow up, including getting chatted up by the manager and the chef.

It was about a 40 minute drive for me. Well worth it. I’ll hit it again and explore more of the menu.

You can find the full menu on Zomato. It’s pretty ambitious for a small joint.

Thirty miles Southwest of Milwaukee, eighty miles NNW of Chicago (map below). Opens early, seven days.

Sam's Diner Review – Waterford, WI

Ham steak and eggs, American fries

Sam's Diner Review – Waterford, WI

Sam's Diner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sams Diner Review – Waterford, WI
Sams Diner Review – Waterford, WI


Coffee Pot Review – Kenosha, WI


Originally opened in the 1930s, the Coffee Pot has had different names, but remains at the original location serving the same delicious breakfast and lunch menu.

Although they can be very busy on the weekends, the table turnover seems to go quickly and within minutes you’ll be seated sipping fresh brewed coffee while pondering the lengthy and innovate menu.

We went with something new and something traditional. The “Reuben Omelet” is just what is sounds like, a fluffy three egg omelet wrapped around corned beef, swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and even thousand island dressing if you want it. Or get it on the side for dipping.

I went with ham and eggs, a thick slice of ham “off the bone” ( a think in these parts), a nice little char from the grill on it, two perfectly cooked eggs over easy, crispy breakfast potatoes and house-baked toast.

The full menu offers some old favorites and new dishes at lunch time. Fresh made sandwiches, juicy burgers, crisp salads and even a veggie plate. They’re proud of their bloody marys and mimosas and have some craft beers and splits of wine on hand.

The Coffee Pot has recently added a couple of “hotel” rooms upstairs, if you’re inclined to explore the neighborhood for the weekend and have a couple great meals brought upstairs to you. Burgers in bed anyone? Yes please.


Coffee Pot Review Kenosha

Reuben Omelet

Coffee Pot Review Kenosha

Fried eggs and ham off the bone


Coffee Pot Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Coffee Port Review
Coffee Port Review


Gloriosos Italian Market Review – Milwaukee, WI


Gloriosos Italian Market ReviewSeventy-year-old Glorioso’s in Milwaukee is one of several fine Italian deli/groceries the city has to offer.

If it’s even remotely Italian, Glorioso’s has it on the shelf, in the counter or in the cooler. It’s a wonderland for foodies and cooks alike.  Naturally, I stocked up.  Sausages. Cheese. A muffaletta sandwich. So let’s talk about that.  Purportely invented a zillion years ago by immigrants in New Orleans, the “muff” is traditionally a nine inch round loaf, bedazzled with sesame seeds, with two or three types of Italian cold cuts, cheese, and topped with “olive salad” – which is finely diced vegetables and olives in oil.

The result is a messy wonderland – most people can’t eat a whole one, and happily, Glorioso’s has “halves” in their counter.

I put away more than my share, living in New Orleans, and have written about several of them. Tourists like to go to the store that is supposedly the birthplace. I prefer a dive bar uptown.

Glorioso’s could easily pass in New Orleans.  I enjoyed it. If I knew how much I was going to like it, I’d have stocked up. Only “complaint?”  A little light on the olive salad.   (I bought a jar of their mix to bring home, as well).

Scored a fantastic dry salami, “Licini Cacciatore.”  I love when processed meats actually taste like the animal they came from, and this is soGloriosos Italian Market Reviewme great pork.  BTW, the name means (Cacciatore) “hunter”  and (Lincini) Bent or pointing upwards.  It’s a very hard salami, with a robust flavor.

Their beef/pork meatballs have a great flavor, run about a buck apiece, I brought home four to try. They have an awful lot of ingredients compared to the ones I make at home, which are just beef, pork, milk, bread, fennel, parsley, garlic and basil.  Glorioso’s balls are a very fine grind, good for the mass appeal market. My own balls have a rougher texture, chewier. My preference only.

Salads, olives, meats, cheese, entrees, they are all in the counter. You can order a sandwich or a plate, pasta, panini or pizza. (They have take and bakes also).  Their full menu is below.

Staff is personable and knowledgeable about the products.

Really worth a stop if you are passing through.  Really worth being on your regular shopping route if you live there. I will be back. Often.  (I had planned on writing more, but doing this made me hungry, have to go see what I have left from my trip!)

Gloriosos Italian Market Review

Half a Muffaletta Sandwich

 Gloriosos Italian Market Review

Gloriosos Italian Market Review

Glorioso Menu – Click to enlarge

Gloriosos Italian Market ReviewGloriosos Italian Market ReviewGloriosos Italian Market Review
Glorioso's Italian Market Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Gloriosos Italian Market Review

Gloriosos Italian Market Review


Kegels Inn Review – Milwaukee, WI


MEXICO TRAVEL WARNING: The U.S. State Department is warning tourists going to Mexico about reports of tainted or substandard alcohol causing drinkers to become sick or pass out. Details: you’re an occasional reader, you know that I’ve been disappointed in the past when I’ve gone to an establishment that’s had the title of “City’s favorite for XXX decades.”

Lots of those types rest on their laurels, or the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th generation think they “know better.” But I’ve been on a roll to NOT have that happen lately, and certainly Kegel’s Inn, Milwaukee’s oldest and premier restaurant celebrating Bavarian cuisine exceeded my expectations on every level.

We hit the door at dinner time on a Saturday nite, and the restaurant was busy, but we didn’t have to wait long. One gets the feeling that there are an awful lot of regulars (“…a place where everybody knows your name….”), but you’re only a stranger once.

The eatery is decorated like a fairly traditional German beer hall, with rough dark brown accent timbers and colorful murals.

The menu offers a strong list of appetizers, including traditional sausages, pork shank rolls, and onion rings.  There are daily soup choices, that always include chicken dumpling, French onion and one other. During my visit, the soup of the day was house-made mushroom, and it was superb, large chunks of hand cut ‘shrooms in a creamy preparation.  (Dinners include soup, salad, and bread).

The entrees run the gamut of German specialties including rouladen, goulash, sauerbraten,  hasenpfeffer and of course, wienerschnitzel. American Kegelsdishes, regional favorites, like walleyed pike, steak, fried shrimp, steaks, liver and chicken.

I opted for the schnitzel, which was superb, equal to any I’ve had in Europe, and my co-diner went with the hasenpfeffer (rabbit stew) and raved that it was “just like mom’s.”

A full range of both domestic and imported beers is available, as is a full bar.

I over ordered on the food. Took some home to enjoy the next day.

Excellent service, even at the busiest times.

Oktoberfest comes early at Kegels,  so check their calendar in early August for the exact dates.

Full dinner menu.  Friday fish fry menu.

Kegels Inn Review Milwaukee

Schnitzel Holstein Style

Kegel's Inn Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Kegels Inn Review
Kegels Inn Review


Sollys Grille Review, Milwaukee, WI


Sollys Grille ReviewIf you tool around the Upper Midwest, you’ll undoubtedly run into a regional burger and custard chain named “Culvers.” Their motto is roughly “home of the butter burger.”

Believing that depends on who you ask. Culver’s version is to fry the burgers on a flattop and nestle it on a toasted, buttered, bun.

But on the East Coast of the state, in Milwaukee, one will come across Solly’s Grille, which opened in 1936 and purports to be the inventor of the actual “Butter Burger.” Or “Butterburger.”

What the term means at Solly’s is completely different than Culvers. At Solly’s, their patty also starts out on a flattop, and the buns are also toasted, but…wait for it……when the burger gets placed on bun, atop it comes an ice cream scoop size dollop of pure Wisconsin butter, which quickly melts, flavoring the patty, soaking the bun and pooling on the plate.

They say they use 150 pounds + of butter weekly, and I’ve no reason to doubt them.

There are different toppings on tap for burgers, various cheese, bacon, and such, but according to the server, there’s never been a pickle or mayo in house and there never will be.

The full menu includes breakfast.  (Yes, you can get a burger during breakfast hours).  Sides can be crinkle cut fries, rings, or potato pancakes. (After all, Wisconsin at its heart is very German).

The standard Butterburger is also topped with Solly’s own stewed onions.

There’s a guy in America named George Motz, who is considered by many, far and near, to be America’s Hamburger Expert.  Here’s a little video about Solly’s from one of his programs, and introducing the main man at Solly’s these days.  (George has a book and a documentary that share the title “Hamburger America.”

You’ll see a million “WOW” reviews of Solly’s online. And I always try to find something cool about every place, every experience, but you know what? This place was a lot better in my imagination that in reality. To me.

The factory produced, frozen patty is nothing special, and the onions were rather overpowering for me. Of course I loved the butter and how it flavored both the bun and meat, but the downside is as it pools on the plate, it soaks the bottom half of the bun and your sandwich can quickly become unmanageable.

Seating is limited to a long counter, and a very few tables, if that influences your decision. Service is hit and miss. And you can expect your multi-layered meal (burger, fries, shake) to not come out in any particular order or proximity to each other. You may have consumed your fries prior to even catching a glimpse of your burger.

The rings I liked. Crispy, a little beer in the batter I suspect, and the waitress “upsold me” on the dipping sauce, which was more than the usual restaurant fare. I’m gonna take a guess it is mayo and Tabasco. Not unpleasant. But I didn’t expect to be charged for it. Oh well.  Fries are top-notch as well.

This is a great place to hit for a nostalgic thing if you’re going to Milwaukee. Kind of like hitting the Billy Goat in Chicago. In either case, you’re not going because the food is gonna make you say “WOW OH MAN.”

But it’s fun nevertheless.  Two burgers, fries, rings, dipping sauce,  one soda, $21.

Sollys Grille Review

Butterburger with cheese

Sollys Grille Review

Perfect crinkle cut fries

Sollys Grille Review

Crispy flavorful rings

Solly's Grille Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Sollys Grille Review


Klements Polish Sausage Review


Klements Polish Sausage ReviewOne of Milwaukee’s largest and oldest sausage companies, Klement’s is often my ‘go-to’ purveyor when I’m looking for processed meats.  When I’m not in their distribution area, I even order care packages online.  The company has a wide variety of fresh and cooked sausages, as well as deli and sandwich meats.   I am fond of their summer sausage, corned beef, cocktail sausages,  and liver sausage.

Today I’m cooking up some of their Polish for breakfast. This is a natural casing sausage (YAY), and the company website lists the following ingredients: Pork, water, Beef, Salt, Contains less than 2% of Flavorings, Corn Syrup, Potassium Lactate, Isolated Oat Product, Dextrose,
Sodium Phosphate, Paprika, Sodium Diacetate, Sodium Erythorbate, and Sodium Nitrite.

I’m not one of those consumers that gets all bent out of shape about certain ingredients, too late in my life cycle to worry about any of the alledged effects at this point in time.

Anyway, these are great, for  a breakfast side, or any meal,  on a bun, or on the grill.  I’d be careful on the grill to watch the direct heat, if the casings split, you’re gonna lose a lot of flavor.  My preferred method is to simmer in a cast-iron skillet until the water is gone, and then put a slight char on the sausages.


These beauties come out of the Klement’s plant at 207 E Lincoln Ave in Milwaukee, according to the USDA establishment number on the package.

Klements Polish Sausage Review

Klement’s Polish Sausage


Klements Polish Sausage Review

Factory – Aerial View

Klements Polish Sausage Review

Milwaukee Factory



Klements Polish Sausage Review


Usinger’s Meats – Milwaukee, Wisconsin


I wrote a bit about Usinger’s the other day.  Here’s the rest of the story, as I prepare to dig into their natural casing “Old World Recipe” wieners.    Pretty straightforward ingredients with these pups,  beef and pork,  water, spices, sugar,  salt, paprika, and a couple of the sodiums as a preservative, in a natural lamb casing.   My kind of dog.  Mrs. Burgerdogboy will be sorry she missed out on these, she loves a good hot dog.

Back to the story.

Immigrant Fred Usinger Sr. arrived in Milwaukee from Frankfurt (!) in 1880, took over a little butcher shop in downtown, and eventually married a niece of the former owner.   Four generations later, family members are still running the company, which has grown to become a Milwaukee institution with a national reputation, in fact, Usinger’s hot dogs were the official supplier to the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake.  That’s recognition!

Usinger’s makes a wide variety of smoked and fresh sausages, in addition to deli meats.   Their hot dogs are described by many as “the best in the nation”, and received that accolade also in a 1984 book called “The Book of Bests“.

If you can’t get to the Upper Midwest, then just type in the URL, press click, and enjoy these great products at home.


Milwaukee – Sausage Town


Milwaukee  is a great meat town, and an even better sausage town.  Two of my favorite companies are there,  Klement’s, and Usingers, with the latter dating back well over one hundred years, and the former, the upstart, being only about 70 years old.

Both companies offer a wide variety of smoked and fresh sausages, deli meats, and other specialities, and at least Usingers ships;  seems Klement’s used to, not sure if they do any more or not.   The products are widely available in Southern Wisconsin, Northern Illinois, and Chicagoland groceries.   Both companies use old world recipes, and top quality ingredients for a product you can depend on.

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