6 Best Bites in Milwaukee for Besties

Listen, I know that in my initial post about visiting Milwaukee with Michelle from Divas With a Purpose, I was vocal about us not being besties in the realm of best friends, but I would go ahead an venture to say that we are blog besties. There’s a difference, trust me, you’ll keep from going gray. When we decided to visit Milwaukee for our girlfriend getaway, we already knew that food would be a big part of what we did. I mean, food is good. GOOD food makes you come back for more. I realize that some people only look at food as a conduit in keeping their body running, but I’m not one of those people. Today – I’m sharing 6 of the best bites to grab in Milwaukee Wisconsin. You’ll want to keep reading.

For reference, I’m using dollar signs to let you know what to expect when you’re eating at these places. They are as follows and all prices include drinks. 
$ 0 – 15
$$ 15 – 40
$$$ 40 – 75
$$$$ 75 and up

Visiting Milwaukee can be a culinary eye-opener. Check out these 6 spots to get your started. #MilwaukeeWisconsin #foodie
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Remember how I said we did nothing but eat while we were in Milwaukee – it’s not far from the truth, but it’s close. Our first day in Milwaukee, we headed to Colectivo Coffee to meet with our reps from Visit Milwaukee, and get a couple of suggestions as to what we should go and visit during our time there. If you’re ever planning a trip to any place, contacting the visitors bureau is a great idea, because they know the city better than most, and can give you an insiders look at what makes their city great. Our connection let us know what places would be great for hanging with a good friend, and we set about on our way. Now, we’ll tell you what we DID on Wednesday, but today, it’s all about the food. 

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Colectivo Coffee – $
Various Locations 

Colectivo is a name was inspired by the artful and funky buses used for public transportation across Latin America, “colectivos” (co-lec-TEE-vo), and the iconic part of everyday life they represent. We ate at the Lakefront location which is housed in the historic Milwaukee River Flushing Station. Each location is independently owned and offers its own unique brand of flair. While I don’t live in Milwaukee, I am happy to say that a little piece of Milwaukee does reside here in Chicago. With three locations in my city, I can get a taste of Milwaukee when I’m needing a quick fix. 

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Colectivo sources coffee by origin and then roasts beans on site to give the freshest flavor possible. On this day I ordered a Mango Peach Ginger Smoothie and an open-faced Avocado BLT. The sandwich was delicious, but in my haste I failed to see that the avocado portion was an avocado & pesto mayo, and not avocado slices. I really, really, really like avocado guys. Other than that, it was a nice spot to catch up with friends, or plan out events for the day. 

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For you beer fans too, they have a beer garden and serve up the hops along with the java. This particular location also hosts the Florentine Opera and Musica del Lago outdoor music series. 

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Urban Beets Cafe & Juicery  $$
1401 N. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive – Closed Mondays

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I’m not going to lie, when I saw this as a suggestion for us to visit, I may have audibly sighed. Mostly because I’m just not partial to vegan fare. Most of it isn’t as good as everyone claims it to be, and then I’m disappointed. Hi – did I mention I love to eat? But y’all, the UB Poke Bowl that I had was absolutely delicious, and I finished every single speck of it. I would have licked the bowl if that were considered proper etiquette, but I held back. 

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The UB Poke Bowl consists of  smoked carrot, quinoa, cucumber salsa, avocado, spinach, pickled ginger, green onion, cilantro, ginger soy & sriracha dressing. I’m not able to handle spice the way that I used to, so I did appreciate the flavor layer that it added to the bowl. 

The cafe is a great spot to meet with friends and catch up on life while still staying aware of allergies you may have. Most items are gluten free, nut free or soy free, and everything is vegan. I’d be willing to meet my vegetarian and vegan friends with open arms, knowing that we would BOTH be happy with our choices that day. Usually, it’s my vegetarian and vegan friends who make concessions for me, so this is a nice turnaround. I left the cafe feeling quite full and good about myself. Can’t beat that, can you? 

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DOC’S Commerce Smokehouse $$
754 Vel R. Phillips Ave

Here’s where we went for broke. To be clear, we were given a gift card to cover some of our meal for the evening.

Michelle lived in Texas for a bit of time, and she’s SERIOUS about her barbecue. Especially brisket. I just like to eat, and I am a bit of a barbecue snob. Shomari and I love grilling any time of the year, and while I know that barbecuing here in Chicago is not the same to as what Michelle does, she and  I know that proper rib and rib tip preparation includes NOT making them in an oven. I said what I said. 

I had a special this evening, and it was rib tips with two sides and a drink. They serve Pepsi so that automatically puts them in a higher class with me. If you’re trying to figure out what Pepsi has to do with this post, just know that my love of the drink goes deep. Michelle ended up eating brisket, a lean and fatty mix – I would have done all fatty – again, I love food. 

The space for DOC’s is inside the Springhill Marriott hotel in which we were staying, so we didn’t have to leave the premises to eat. It was a quick elevator ride down, and walk through the lobby, and we were being seated. 

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Harbor House – $$$
550 N Harbor Dr

I think at this point in the trip, we actually felt like real adults. The Harbor House is another Bartolotta Restaurant in the Milwaukee area that I will now have to visit again. We were generously given a gift card to try them out during Happy Hour, and I’m not sure I ever have to visit at any other time. 

You can read about Ristorante Bartolotta and Pizzeria Piccola on the blog. It’s safe to say I’m a fan of the Bartolotta dynasty. If there is a dynasty. If there is, I’m going to find a way to be on their guest list at all times. 

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We started off ordering light for our fare because we were still full from eating at Milwaukee Public Market earlier that day. I had my trusty lobster roll from St. Paul Fish Company, so I figured we’d keep the seafood theme going by ordering oysters on the half shell. We tried to keep it cute by only getting five and thinking that would hold us over. That was not the case. 36 oysters later, we were free from worry and giggling at the fact we were in a different state than our children and spouses, and feeling fine! Michelle got the crab cake while I rounded out my Happy Hour offerings with a bowl of Cioppino that took the cake. The tomato/wine broth was poured fresh over the seafood, and I ate until I resembled the walrus from the great Lewis Carroll poem – The Walrus and the Carpenter. 

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We rounded our meal off with the Harbor House Sangria, and this alcohol adverse lady was pleased. There was just the right amount of everything in there, and I wasn’t left feeling light-headed or as if I paid for expensive juice. 

While we were there, we did quite a bit of people watching and observed a large group of friends also taking full advantage of the Happy Hour oysters. They were serious about them, and we heard one person state clearly – only eat what you ordered. Truer words have never been spoken. Harbor House should be proud. We’re going back. 

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Coffee Makes You Black – $
2803 N Teutonia Ave

I hardly ever eat breakfast, but this is the place that made me rethink my ways. Coffee Makes You Black is a down home food place in a former bank and I’m not sure where to start with what was absolutely one of the most pleasant breakfast experiences that I’ve had in a while. 

Coming into the cafe, you first notice that it’s an open space cafe with several vendor spaces set up around the front area. There’s an upstairs portion to it, and I can only imagine that there are offices there. We were there on a Friday afternoon right before they were set to close, so I can give you a view of going in at the end of the day. 

I ordered chicken and waffles, because that’s what you do when you’re given that option. Of course, I had coffee on the side, because if you go into a space called Coffee Makes You Black and don’t embrace the coffee, then you’re not worthy. 

My waffles were so fluffy and chewy, and perfect conduits for the ample amounts of syrup poured into the little squares. They were accompanied by two plump and juicy chicken tenders that were seasoned by the hands of a magician. Chicken breast cuts aren’t normally my thing, but I’d convert for these. 

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Thief Wine Bar in Milwaukee Public Market – $
400 N. Water Street 

Winding down an evening of sightseeing or museum visiting, one is always on the search of what to do. Thief Wine Bar is one of the vendors in Milwaukee Public Market, and they are perfectly positioned for people watching, and having a few laughs with friends. As told above, I’m not much of a drinker, but I do enjoy a sweet wine, and they didn’t disappoint. If you do happen to visit just know you’re welcome to eat at the bar as long as you order a drink from them. I’m just the messenger. Thank me later. 

Hopefully, on your way to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, you’ll choose to visit one of these spaces. If you do happen to check one of them out let me know and I’ll just simply state – “I told you so.”

Some portions of this visit were provided in exchange for my honest review – they are clearly documented above. Everything else is all my food-loving doing. 

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    6 Places to Eat When Visiting Milwaukee #VisitMKE (hosted) | Divas With A Purpose
    September 24, 2018 at 11:16 pm

    […] Related Article: 6 Best Bites in Milwaukee for Besties | Houseful of Nicholes […]

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