Chris Graham

Brunch on the patio? Check these spots

By - Jun 13th, 2010 04:00 am
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Living in Wisconsin, one has to get used to some things. There are only two seasons: winter and construction. Someone in the family has seen a Hodag up North. And once temperatures rise above 50,restaurants open their patios.

However, not all patios are created equal. Often, you can see a “Milwaukee’s Best Patio” sign outside a restaurant with nothing more than four tables crammed on the sidewalk. No, sir. That doesn’t qualify as a patio. Grab your sunglasses, possibly some sunscreen, and try one of these top ten downtown patios at your next brunch.

Photo courtesy of The Knick

10. The Knick (1030 E. Juneau Ave.) – Expect one amazing view of the lakefront when dining outside at the Knick. Located in the historic East Town neighborhood, this patio has a limited number of seats, but it’s worth the trip to outside and order their Queen Mary (a 22-ounce bloody mary) and their amazing crab hash.

9. Envoy at The Ambassador Hotel (2308 W. Wisconsin Ave.) – This historic hotel has a great fenced-in patio in front of the building. As mentioned in my last post, this restaurant has an amazing small-plate, all-you-can-eat brunch. It’s a great place to sip coffee and enjoy a plate of French toast.

8. Brocach (1850 N. Water St.) – Situated on the roof of the building, this patio has a large built-in table perfect for the entire extended family to enjoy brunch, or smaller ones for a more intimate meal. Brocach also offers a great Saturday brunch special: two-for-one bloody marys or mimosas.

Photo courtesy of Trocadero

7. Trocadero (1758 N. Water St.) – Probably one of the best-known in Milwaukee, Trocadero has the largest patio I have seen. With two slightly enclosed spaces, this outdoor dining is simply an oasis in the city. Expect a leisurely meal with some great selections from the bar.

6. Twisted Fork (2238 N. Farwell Ave.) – In the heart of the East Side, this patio gives you the perfect vantage point for innocent voyeurism. The north-facing patio leaves you in the shade and able to enjoy your brunch quesedilla or French toast comfortably while watching pedestrians, bicyclists and even diners at other restaurants.

5. Café  Centraal (2306 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.) – Nestled between tall buildings, this patio gives the feeling of being transported across the Atlantic. With international signs surrounding you and only the sky visible, it’s a great private sanctuary. Add a plate of the steak and eggs benedict, a mimosa and coffee, and you might just see me there sometime this summer.

4. The Yard at the Iron Horse Hotel (500 W. Florida St.) – Located on the western side of the Iron Horse Hotel, the Yard offers comfortable seating and an outdoor bar. If you want to lounge around in luxury, plop down for brunch one Sunday.

Photo courtesy of Cafe Hollander

3. Café  Hollander (2608 N. Downer Ave.  or 7677 W. State St.) – Whichever location you choose, East Side or Tosa Village, Café Hollander has great patios that will have people watching you. The East Side patio is on a wedge of land at a six-point intersection under a large tree. The Tosa Village patio spills into the common square in the center of town and stretches across the pedestrian bridge.

2. Alterra at the Lake (1701 N. Lincoln Memorial Dr.) – Housed within an old pump house, this coffee shop must be one of the busiest in the city. You’ll can get great cup of coffee and enjoy one of Alterra’s awesome entrees, from great breakfast burritos to just yogurt and granola. With ample seating outside, watch the tennis players across the street, runners along the bike path or boaters in the marina.

Photo courtesy of Roots

1. Roots (1818 N. Hubbard St.) – Any list of patios cannot overlook Roots, mainly because of its stunning view overlooking the skyline of Milwaukee. Perched atop Brewers Hill, this farmer-chef-owned restaurant offers a unique farm-to-table menu. The menu changes with the seasons and always promises unique creations.

Until next time, enjoy the weekend and happy brunching.

Chris Graham is a regular TCD contributor and author of the blog Milwaukee Brunch Reviews, a frequently updated guide to the city’s best weekend daytime dining.

Categories: Dining

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