Growing up in Milwaukee is an interesting experience. It’s likely that you spent most of your summers at festivals, in museums, or at one of our hundreds of parks. The meals you ate on the regular, however, are Milwaukee-specific! We’re sure these thirteen dishes will bring you back to younger days as a Milwaukeean.
Brats existed in Germany long before they did in Milwaukee but, for some reason, they're more popular here than the rest of the world. Milwaukee's German heritage is still prevalent, and now you can't go to a cookout without finding one of these.
2. Fish Frys
Fried fish isn't just a meal here, it's a community-wide event. If you grew up in Milwaukee, we're sure your parents took you out on Friday to experience a fish fry in its fullest. Paired with rye bread, coleslaw, potato pancakes or fries, and some quality polka music and dancing, and you have a classic Milwaukee fish fry.
3. Frozen Custard
Just like brats, frozen custard has grown more popularity in the Midwest than it has anywhere else. Milwaukee's oldest frozen custard joint dates back to 1938, and the sweet treat defines any Milwaukeeans summer.
4. Alterra Coffee
Now known as
Colectivo, this coffee is a staple for any local's morning. This strong coffee just tastes like Milwaukee!
5. Jumbo Burgers
Here in Milwaukee, bigger is better. These jumbo burgers can be found at most frozen custard restaurants. For some reason, there's no better meal than a jumbo burger, fries, and a custard shake!
6. BBQ Ribs
Though we're very far north, we've always been fond of barbeque! With amazing rib joints like Speed Queen, we've been eating finger-licking good BBQ for as long as we can remember.
7. Real Chili
You're not a true Milwaukeean unless you've ended up at Real Chili at 3 a.m. The famous recipe has had us coming back for more since 1913, and now the city is painted with their bumper stickers.
8. Beer Cheese Soup
In Brew City, this soup is the best of both worlds. Whoever invented this had to be a Milwaukeean!
9. Cheese Curds
Speaking of cheese, there's simply nowhere else in the world that you'll find better cheese curds. These gooey treats, whether fried or squeaky, are a huge part of Milwaukee life.
This dish was originally eaten by miners who brought the dish with them to upper Michigan. The meat pie has migrated to Milwaukee and was a staple in most of our homes growing up.
11. Cream Puffs
The Wisconsin State Fair wouldn't be complete without a cream puff! Though they have the best (and we all have fond memories of the cream puff building), you can also find them at most local bakeries.
No holiday party in Milwaukee would be complete without a kringle—the official state pastry! This Danish treat is baked to a golden brown, filled with a fruit filling, and topped with icing. It's nearly impossible to not eat the whole thing!
13. Cannibal Sandwich
Milwaukee is full of strange traditions, but this one tops the list. This dish is typically served as an appetizer consisting of raw ground beef and onions on a cracker. It's been modified to a sandwich that typically involves rye bread. Though this might be a tradition you've experienced, the Centers for Disease Control put out a statement in 2013 to not consume these sandwiches (or any raw meat).
Do these dishes bring back memories from your childhood in Milwaukee? What other foods bring you back? Share your thoughts with us!