Milwaukee’s wonderful mix of modern urbanity, rich history, and lovely scenery makes it a perfect destination for visitors. Sports fans will love catching a Bucks or Brewers game. Music lovers won’t want to miss Milwaukee’s Summerfest, which claims to be the “world’s biggest music festival.” Families and nature lovers have an abundance of parks to visit, like Cathedral Park, where they can enjoy live jazz music during mild summer evenings.
The Monarch trail is not only a beautiful hike but is also a stop on the wonderous migration of Monarch butterflies from Canada to Mexico.
Wisconsin may be landlocked, but Milwaukee’s perch on the shores of Lake Michigan makes it a port city with sandy beaches, quaint docks, and a picturesque boardwalk to enjoy spectacular views of the downtown skyline reflecting off the tranquil waters.
While you enjoy this friendly midwestern city’s sites, you’ll need a hearty brunch under your belt to fuel your adventures.
Story Hill BKC
5100 W Bluemound Rd, Milwaukee, WI 53208
Situated right across from the beautiful Mitchell Boulevard Park on Milwaukee’s West Side, Story Hill BKC is a wine and liquor shop and restaurant that serves upscale Midwest-inspired cuisine. Chef and owner Joe Muench creates beautifully presented, innovative takes on Midwestern foods that have won local and national praise.
Voted one of the best brunch spots in America by Thrillest, BKC Story Hill has a refined menu of comforting sweet and savory dishes, plus an impressive beer and brunch cocktail menu to boot.
I especially loved their Broccoli Cheddar Egg Bake with egg custard-soaked bread, broccolini, cherrywood bacon, cheddar cheese, and poached eggs smothered in hollandaise sauce and served with baby kale salad and roasted marble potatoes.
317 N 76th St, Milwaukee, WI 53213
Another creation from owner and Chef Joe Muench, Blue’s Egg is a breakfast and lunch restaurant in a homey, inviting dining space in Honey Creek Parkway.
Blue’s uses the freshest ingredients to craft breakfast and brunch classics with a modern twist and refined presentation. While Blue’s claims that Egg stands for Everyone’s Good Graces, they use over 4,000 edible eggs in any given week!
Blue’s signature brunch cocktail is an ode to Milwaukee’s world-famous beer culture, featuring a decadent house-crafted Bloody Mary with a crispy bacon garnish and a Miller Lite chaser. When at Blue’s, you must try an egg dish, whether it’s a Southwestern style Frittata Ranchero or a fancy seafood scramble with crispy shrimp, scallops, and calamari.
Café At The Plaza
1007 N Cass St, Milwaukee, WI 53202
Located inside the beautiful Plaza Hotel, Café at the Plaza is one of Milwaukee’s most picturesque restaurants, successfully evoking the feel of an old European-style courtyard café. Customers can dine alfresco during the spring, fall, and summer months in a narrow courtyard between the high, ivy-covered red brick walls of this classy Yankee Hill hotel.
Brunch is served from Thursday-Sunday at the Café, offering a delicious selection of sweet breakfasts, egg-centric dishes, and sandwiches. I can never decide between French toast and pancakes, so I went with the Plaza Pleasure, featuring a short stack of buttermilk pancakes and four pieces of French toast with eggs and bacon.
Buckley’s Restaurant & Bar
801 N Cass St, Milwaukee, WI 53202
Buckley’s Restaurant and Bar is a family-owned and operated casual restaurant and bar from Milwaukee-native Pam Buckley and her husband Mike, whose children and extended family are also proud employees.
Located a block from the lovely Cathedral Square Park, Buckley’s Restaurant is known for its cozy atmosphere and unparalleled hospitality. If you want a particularly boozy brunch, Buckley’s has a creative brunch cocktail menu with silly cocktail names, like “the Karen” and “Never Too Early.”
For bacon lovers, try the Cudahy Cooler with house-infused bacon vodka, orange juice, and a crispy bacon garnish. I enjoyed one alongside a plate of their delicious hush puppies with crab, scallion, herbed cream sauce, and pickled onions.
2569 S Kinnickinnic Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53207
Located in Bay View right across the road from South Shore Park, Honeypie is a bakeshop, cocktail bar, and all-day café. Besides serving the best scratch-made pies in Wisconsin, Honeypie also makes their southern-comfort style menu and cocktails from scratch.
Their baked creations have won championship after championship, along with tons of accolades from publications like USA Today, Forbes, and Food and Wine Magazine. Whatever you get at Honeypie should have some baked component to it, whether it be a buttery biscuit, freshly baked sourdough, or sinfully sweet crepes.
I went for the Breakfast Casserole with a buttermilk biscuit, roasted potatoes, sausage gravy, white cheddar, bacon, and a sunny egg topper.
346 N Broadway, Milwaukee, WI 53202
Café Benelux is a Belgian beer garden and European-style café with one of Milwaukee’s best roof-top patios. Located in the hip, alternative Third Ward, Café Benelux makes Belgian-style dishes from scratch to serve along with their award-winning beer and cocktail program.
If it’s too cold for a rooftop brew, their massive, refurbished warehouse dining hall is an industrial-chic masterpiece. Belgian fare is so much more than waffles, with some of the world’s best beers and French fries served in a cone-shaped container with multiple dipping sauces.
They offer a fusion of American and Belgian brunch-style bar fare to share, along with an extensive menu of the most decadent, rich hashes, benedicks, waffles, and burgers I’ve ever seen. You’ll want to come here often to try new beers and dishes.
2457 S Wentworth Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53207
Located a few blocks from Cupertino Park and the historic Lightship 57 Shipwreck site, Goodkind is a cocktail, wine, and beer bar and refined yet family-friendly world cuisine bistro, serving delicious, comforting dishes from around the world.
The lively wooden dining room and bar are cluttered with old antiques, single flower vases, and Victorian-style wallpaper.
While many people come to Goodkind for an award-winning cocktail and decadent dessert, the brunch menu is a stunning fusion of flavors and dishes from around the world like winter tabbouleh and Danish pancakes stuffed with gouda, blueberry-lavender jam, cardamon sugar, and mint.
Looking for a dish closer to home? Try the Minnesota Hot Dish with tater tots, bratwurst with gruyere cheese sauce, green onion, bacon bits, and a fried egg.
550 N Harbor Dr, Milwaukee, WI 53202
Harbor House is a fine-dining seafood restaurant located directly on the Milwaukee Bay waterfront with a spectacular outdoor patio and indoor dining room with floor-to-ceiling windows to enjoy the waterfront view on a cold day.
Harbor House is owned and operated by the James Beard Award-winning restauranteurs and brothers Joe and Paul Bartolotta. The Bartolotta family has created a successful empire of Italian-inspired restaurants, of which Harbor House is its most upscale addition.
As per their specialty, Harbor House has a seafood-centric weekend brunch menu with a multi-course format. I recommend starting with the New England-style clam chowder with bacon and potatoes, followed by the lobster eggs benedict with breakfast potatoes as the entrée.
Café Hollander – Downer
2608 N Downer Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53211
With locations in every major Wisconsin town, Café Hollander is a favorite beer-garden and European-style restaurant with a lively atmosphere and quirky décor.
They partner with Belgian and European breweries to bring patrons an authentic and unique offering of Europe’s best beers on tap, not to mention a full cocktail bar and kitchen serving rich, comforting meals.
Their weekend brunch has a wonderful list of bloody mary and mimosa selections, many of which have beer as an ingredient. They also have a full espresso bar and house-blended drip coffee. I loved their raspberry Belgian-style waffle with sweet goat cheese mouse, sour raspberry jam, shaved chocolate, and crushed walnuts.
Fuel Cafe 5th St
630 S 5th St, Milwaukee, WI 53204
Located in the heart of Walker’s Point, Fuel Café is a trendy, two-story coffee shop and café in a giant two-story warehouse with an industrial-chic design.
Great for students wanting to post up all day with a hot cup of coffee, families looking for a fun dinner out, or friends wanting an energetic happy hour, Fuel Café has been a Milwaukee staple for nearly 30 years. Breakfast is served all day, every day, but weekend brunch has the best of breakfast and lunch options with the option for bottomless mimosas.
They also offer great vegan options like avocado toast and a hearty vegetable hash with brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, spinach, vegan chorizo, tofu scramble, and vegan pesto with a side of red potatoes.
Engine Company No. 3
217 W National Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53204
Located inside an old fire station in Harbor View, Engine Company No. 3 is a high-end yet casual and fun New American restaurant and bar in a massive two-story dining space with exposed brick walls and beams and a cool wooden bar with old fire-hose lines coiled up and hanging from either end.
Executive Chef Sandroni uses locally sourced, sustainable ingredients to bring customers a farm-to-table meal with globally inspired flavors. Brunch at Engine Company No. 3 is a tapas-style menu of small plates meant to be shared over delectable cocktails and wine.
This world-cuisine menu features tapas from around the world like Spanish Patatas Bravas and French roasted vegetable crepes. My favorite dish was the Mexican chilaquiles with housemade tortilla chips topped with avocado Verde, cilantro, sunny-side-up egg, queso fresco, and pickled red onions.
The Wicked Hop
345 N Broadway, Milwaukee, WI 53202
The Wicked Hop is Milwaukee’s premier cocktail and beer bar, located in a whimsical dining space in an old artsy building in the vibrant Third Ward. Local critics have voted their Bloody Mary as the best in Milwaukee every year since 2016. They also offer some of the most authentically Wisconsin-style fares like fish fries and cheese curds.
Of course, you must try their famous Bloody Mary, garnished with peeled cold-water shrimp, Old Wisconsin beef stick, MKE kosher dill pickle, mozzarella whips, a portabella mushroom, and a Spanish green olive. If that wasn’t enough, it also comes with a City Lights Mexican Lager beer chaser. They rightly call it a “liquid brunch.”
Uncle Wolfie’s Breakfast Tavern
234 E Vine St, Milwaukee, WI 53212
Uncle Wolfie’s Breakfast Tavern is a high-end bar and restaurant in Milwaukee’s East Town neighborhood inside an intimate and classy old-school tavern replete with wood ceilings, bar, bar stools, and antique chandeliers.
Their beer, cocktail, and espresso menu is expertly curated to accompany some of the more decadent and creative new American bar fares I’ve seen. Everything on the menu is a high-end, over-the-top version of classic comforting tavern food like cheesesteak, grilled cheese, burgers, and loaded fries.
I loved their sweet potato pie French toast with house-made challah, sweet potato ricotta, brown sugar pie crust pieces, toasted pecans, dulce de leche, and marshmallow.
Café at the Pfister
424 E Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53202
Located inside Downtown Milwaukee’s historic Pfister Hotel, the Café at the Pfister is a casual, family-friendly breakfast and lunch restaurant with a Starbucks counter.
Whether you’re a guest at this AAA four-diamond hotel or come to explore it as one of downtown’s few 19th-century landmarks, you’ll enjoy a hearty American breakfast in a warm, beautifully preserved dining room.
Their menu has an array of griddled goods like blueberry pancakes and French toast, as well as egg-centric items like bennies, omelets, and hashes. My favorite dish was their signature Colossal Breakfast Sandwich, with scrambled eggs, cheddar cheese, and sausage on an oversized croissant with crispy hashbrowns.
239 E Chicago St #103, Milwaukee, WI 53202
Sweet Diner is a hip, trendy breakfast and lunch spot in a bright and classy dining space inside one of the Third Ward’s historic storefronts. Sweet Diner serves diner food classics from around the U.S. in a dainty, updated diner with white marble tables and white leather booths.
Sweet Diner divides its menu into sweet and savory items. I recommend the Caramel Apple buttermilk pancakes topped with powdered sugar and fresh apples sauteed with brown sugar and sage butter. If you want a bit of sweet and savory, try their delicious Memphis-style fried chicken tenders with Maple syrup and hot sauce over a cornbread waffle.
633 W Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53203
Located in Westown, Build-a-Breakfast/Build-a-Burger is a 100% customizable burger and breakfast house. They also have a full bar to enjoy a tasty beer and cocktail with friends while you enjoy your unique breakfast or burger creation.
They use 100% natural cage-free and hormone-free eggs, cheese, beef, turkey, and walnut patties for the freshest burger, no matter your dietary preferences. There are also plenty of toppings, buns, and cheeses to choose from, not to mention amazing milkshakes and smoothies.
If you don’t want to build your own breakfast, there’s a lengthy a la carte menu with classic continental plates, bennies, omelets, hashes, pancakes, and more. I recommend building a breakfast burrito!
714 N Milwaukee St, Milwaukee, WI 53202
Located a few blocks from Milwaukee City Hall and the iconic Cathedral Square, Brunch is Milwaukee’s favorite daily brunch spot. Its bright yellow interior with an 80’s retro-vibe and a long breakfast counter/cocktail bar is a lively and fun atmosphere to dine with friends.
They’ve got all the classic brunch favorites, including delicious mimosas and bloody marys, plus plenty of creative creations of their own. I had to go with their Wiscomelette with Johnsonville bratwurst, onions, and cheese curds with a side of waffle fries.