Cari Taylor-Carlson
Dining

The Best Sandwiches in Town?

So claims the West Allis Cheese & Sausage Shoppe. They might be right.

By - May 27th, 2019 03:57 pm
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West Allis Cheese & Sausage Shoppe. Photo by Cari Taylor-Carlson.

West Allis Cheese & Sausage Shoppe. Photo by Cari Taylor-Carlson.

If I lived close to the 6800 block of West Becher, I would be a frequent customer at the West Allis Cheese & Sausage Shoppe. Not only do they have almost everything a cheese lover could wish for, they advertise on the menu, with a touch of hubris, “Absolutely the Best Sandwiches in Milwaukee.” From several lunches, I can say with some authority, they might be right.

When you’re in a sandwich mood, a cheese and sausage shop might not be the first place that pops up in your head. Curiosity took me to Becher Street after someone I met at a party raved about the Monday Special, a grilled sandwich with turkey, brie, apple slices, and cranberry chutney. There’s an art to getting a sandwich right; the balance of fillings should satisfy the need for complex flavors, while its construction allows you to get your mouth around the sandwich before it falls apart and the filling lands on the table or in your lap. At West Allis, they’ve mastered the art of creating a sandwich with just enough, but not too much.

Friends and I came the first time on a sunny day to find the café flooded with light, two rooms, one with four tops, and one with high tops. We came on a Monday to follow the trail that we hoped would lead to that Turkey Special. It was as promised, if not better than described, as a learned from sampling my friend’s sandwich. Slabs of white meat were given a fresh approach by combining them with the aforementioned apple, chutney and brie, fusing the tart, the sweet, the juicy meaty, and the buttery richness of the cheese.

I chose the Nueske’s BLT, a slam dunk whenever I see Nueske’s bacon on the menu. It was smoky, thick-sliced, crisp, fatty, and it overpowered the lettuce and tomato, creating a bacon sandwich pasted together with mayonnaise, a bacon-lovers’ BLT.

Another companion found the Grilled Roast Beef, a pile of tender meat topped with sweet caramelized onions, blue cheese, and a breath of garlic in the mayo, a dressed-up roast beef sandwich with the elegance of simplicity.

All the sandwiches came with homemade chips: crisp, well-seasoned, impossible to resist, quickly devoured. For a $1.50 and a few more calories, you can add a fried egg or bacon to your sandwich.

A return visit brought friends and me to the café on a rare perfect spring day when an al fresco lunch was a meal to treasure. Armed with high expectations for more of Milwaukee’s Best Sandwiches, I went retro and ordered Nueske’s Liver Sausage with Swiss cheese, slivers of red onion, and spicy brown mustard. One bite was all I needed to transport me back to Mom’s sandwiches, lazy summer afternoons, the halcyon days of childhood.

A companion’s Tuesday Special Caprese combined roasted tomato, prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, and basil mayo, on grilled sourdough. It would have been improved with some fresh basil; it was your basic grilled cheese sandwich with tomato and prosciutto.

The Paul Bunyan-size Meatball Sandwich, more than a meal in a bun, had five tender meatballs covered with house marinara and melted provolone.

There’s more! They serve breakfast all day in case you crave a Three Cheese, three egg omelet in the afternoon. Also, on the Breakfast Menu: a Hangover Burrito; Breakfast Poutine; a Breakfast Skillet; Biscuits and Gravy; Potato Pancakes; and Oatmeal with brown sugar and raisins.

It’s also more than a café. In a room adjacent to the restaurant, a deli case filled with cheese and sausage will take you back to every place you’ve lusted after gorgeous cheese in a shop display. There are dozens of award-winning cheeses to choose from, a nice wine selection, a knowledgeable staff to assist, and an eclectic selection of jams and jellies to pair with cheese.

I dropped some small change on a jar of Aunt Bea’s Chopped Cherry Jam, because it’s from Door County, it’s addictive, and a rare sighting in Milwaukee. For people who don’t like to shop, and I include myself in that group, West Allis Cheese & Sausage makes an ideal place for quick gift, for who doesn’t appreciate something edible?  Of course, I would stay for lunch, not that I need an excuse, but the Signature Meatloaf Sandwich with cheddar and house sauce has my name on it.

They plan to open a beer garden in the adjacent garage sometime late this summer or early fall. (While all the beverages listed on the restaurant’s menu are non-alcoholic, they do serve alcohol “behind the counter,” as the servers put it, including tap and bottled beers and some cocktails.) There’s also a second, smaller location in the Milwaukee Public Market, for those who don’t want to drive to West Allis.

On The Menu

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The Rundown

  • Location: 6832 W. Becher St.
  • Phone: 414-543-5230
  • Hours: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mon-Thu, 7 a.m. to 5p.m. Fri, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sat, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sun
  • Website: http://www.wacheese-gifts.com
  • UM Rating: stars (average of Yelp, Trip Advisor and Zomato)

Second location-Milwaukee Public Market

  • Location: 400 N. Water St.
  • Phone: 414-289-8333
  • Hours: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mon-Fri, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sat, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sun

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