Cari Taylor-Carlson

Crafty Cow Is All About Comfort Food

Tiny Bay View restaurant has big menu with 13 different burgers, 6 kinds of chicken sandwiches.

By - Mar 3rd, 2022 01:26 pm
Crafty Cow. Photo taken Jan. 5, 2022 by Cari Taylor-Carlson.

Crafty Cow. Photo taken Jan. 5, 2022 by Cari Taylor-Carlson.

Crafty Cow, a tiny bar on Kinnickinnic in Bay View, has a big heart. What you will find at this restaurant is comfort food, prompt service, and friendly servers. The restaurant shares the building, the kitchen, and some of their menu items with Hot Head Fried Chicken. A passageway connects them, creating a seamless go-between. According to our server, if one fills up, the other will accommodate the overflow.

Crafty Cow has the welcoming look of a historic restaurant, cozy and intimate, with its scarred wood floor, original tin ceiling, five tables, and a line of seats at the bar.

A few choices on the menu jumped off the page before my companions and I ordered our meals. First, we were amazed at the variety of cheese curds. Sure you can get plain cheese curds, but also such variants as Loaded Buffalo Cheese Curds with fried chicken, bacon, scallions, blue cheese, ranch and Buffalo sauce. Or the extremely loaded Southern BBQ Cheese Curds starring Mac and Cheese, brisket, pulled pork, bacon, pimento, green tomato, honey chipotle and white BBQ sauce.

Their Signature Burgers were even more overwhelming, 13 choices starting with the Basic Lucy stuffed with American cheese, and including the Muenster Cristo, a burger stuffed with Muenster cheese and topped with smoked ham, fig jam, red onion, and horseradish mustard, served in an Italian Donut bun. We decided the most indulgent burger had to be the Meatasaurus stuffed with white cheddar and topped with pulled pork, bacon, a fried egg, brisket, and BBQ sauce.

A few words of explanation are needed here. All the burgers at Crafty Cow are “Juicy Lucys,” burgers with cheese on the inside instead of on top. This creates a core of melted cheese and when done correctly, keeps the inner burger moist.

By contrast, our lunches appeared modest. We ordered Three Piece Fried Chicken with a side of Mac and Cheese, the Dirtiest Swiss Burger, and the Bacon Cheddar Burger. The chicken, a thigh, a wing, and a leg, had a crisp batter that looked heavy, but, when my companion bit into it, he found it surprisingly light. The chicken was moist and the batter crisp with no sign of grease from the fryer. The side of Mac and Cheese was less satisfying: The sauce was thin and lacked flavor. However, on the plus side, it was a very large bowl of Mac and Cheese, enough for a meal and more than a side.

The Dirtiest Swiss Burger lived up to its hype and remained juicy from the Swiss cheese in the burger even after my companion cut it in half. It was topped with soy-glazed mushrooms, caramelized onions and an herb aioli. The Bacon Cheddar Burger had a problem because when I cut into it, all the cheese leaked out of the burger and puddled on my plate. It was not a “Juicy Lucy” and the bacon was cold, but the bun was nicely griddled, and the sliced red onion added a bright flavor to the burger.

Friends and I returned a few days later and found both the Poutine and the Vietnamese Brussels Sprouts a delight. For the Brussels, the chef tossed lightly sauteed petals with chili-lime sauce and added a handful of salted cashews for protein and flavor. The dish combined sweet and salty with spicy, the antithesis of the mushy overcooked brussels sprouts we recalled from childhood. The petals held the crunch, a wholesome healthy meal served in a bowl.

The Poutine was neither light nor healthy. It was delicious, served in a bowl filled with everything we crave when we want comfort food, combining cheese, tater tots and more of Crafty Cow’s crispy chicken. The classic poutine I’ve enjoyed across our northern border, fries, melted cheese curds, and gravy, is barely referenced in this variation that deviated far from the familiar. The addition of house-made pickles and hot sauce made it a richly satisfying mix of disparate flavors.

Crafty Cow has a lengthy menu. There’s lots more to discover in this Bay View restaurant where you can expect unexpected flavors and comfort food served in a small, cozy bar.

On The Menu

Photo Gallery

The Rundown

  • Location: 2675 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.
  • Phone: 414-808-0481
  • Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tue-Sat, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Su
  • Neighborhood:
  • Website:
  • UM Rating: stars (average of Yelp, Trip Advisor and Zomato)

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