As a proud Milwaukeean, I love to share my favorite restaurants, fitness studios, and other businesses with anyone who will listen. If you are planning to travel to Milwaukee, I've included a list below of all of the places I highly recommend! As a note, this list is by no means exhaustive. There are many wonderful establishments in the city, but these are just the ones I personally frequent!
My favorite local restaurants are ones that have intriguing menu options, friendly staff, and an upbeat vibe.
My favorite restaurant in all of Milwaukee, Juniper 61. Their continually updated menu will never, ever disappoint. Ryan and I have dined here upwards of 50 times and have not once had a meal that we were not completely impressed with. My favorite menu items: Truffled Frites, Orange-Basil Tuna Sandwich, White Truffle Caesar Salad, Flash-Smoked Salmon, and EVERYTHING on the brunch menu.
For all of those who know me personally know that I could (and do) gush for hours about Blooming Lotus. This place must have been sent to Milwaukee from heaven because it encompasses everything I love about food: delicious, made with care, with real food ingredients. Their entire menu consists of baked goods that are indisputably amazing that are free from grains and all common allergens (eggs, wheat, dairy, etc.). My favorite menu items: Cinnamon Roll, Apricot Fig Scone, Walnut & Unsweetened Wisconsin Cherry Biscotti, and Irish Soda Bread Biscuits. Oh, and the "No Rye" Rye Chips. And everything else. I promise you will not be disappointed, no matter what you decide to order. Go there. Give them all of your money.
Do you love brunch? Of course you do. Want to eat some of the best brunch you'll ever experience? Go to Story Hill BKC. Their menu is always impressively creative and the food is crazy delicious. What I love most is how knowledgeable their staff is about allergens and cross-contamination. I am very careful about avoiding gluten and, upon mentioning that to a server, they are always very responsive and confirm that they will notify those in the kitchen. We love going here.
I'm always harping on people to "pay the farmer or pay the doctor." High quality meat is essential to a balanced, healthy diet. Kettle Range's butcher shop is the best I've ever visited. They also sell pre-packaged meals that you can take home and prepare for your family, which makes busy work nights a breeze! They pride themselves on their locally- and responsibly-sourced products ranging from beef, to pork, to chicken, to fish, and more. If you want to eat the best chicken thighs of your life, visit Kettle Range.
Maxie's is one of the most eclectic restaurants in Milwaukee. Their menu is mainly southern comfort food and southern twists on local food. My favorite is anything off of their oyster menu. For the quality of food, I personally think their prices are really reasonable. Plus, they have nightly specials! Win, win!
A good cup of local coffee is a must. Luckily, great quality coffee shops are not hard to come by in MKE!
A Milwaukee must-try. Colectivo is definitely the largest and most well-known local coffee shop. They have several locations dotted throughout the city (as well as Madison and Chicago). They offer several different roasts of coffee in addition to a large menu, but not much in the way of gluten-free options. My favorite is the Maximilian roast coffee or a Sport Tea.
Anodyne's coffee shops, especially the one in Walker's Point, are beautiful. If you love visiting coffee shops to relax, read a book, or do some work, Anodyne is my recommendation.
Valentine is a much smaller coffee shop, but I wouldn't let that fool you. I don't know why it took me so long to visit! Their espresso and cold brew coffee is the best I've had in the area. I particularly enjoy Valentine for how well lit it is! I love establishments that have lots of natural light.
Gyms that make you want to work out are hard to come by. For me to decide to invest money in a gym membership, I consider a lot of factors, particularly the knowledge of the coaches, the members, the facility, and the programming.
The boutique fitness studio that began my love for fitness. Milwaukee is so lucky to have a place like SPIRE. The studio offers spin, crew, and TRX classes every day of the week taught by instructors who are incredibly talented. If you're looking for the best workout of your life but don't want to feel like you're working out, attend a class.
Badger is the CrossFit box I attend. It's the biggest box in Wisconsin and is regularly expanding, both in terms of membership and facility. The coaches are helpful and attentive and the members are incredibly motivating. I typically finish last in most WODs, yet I always feel supported by fellow athletes. It's a really cool place.