Sophie Bolich

Riverwalk Restaurant Reopens Next Week With Unusual Fish Fry

Seasonal bar and restaurant, the Pier Garden, reopens with cocktails, beer and White Claw fish fry.

By - May 18th, 2023 01:01 pm
White Claw Fish Fry. Photo courtesy of the Two Birds Event Group.

White Claw Fish Fry. Photo courtesy of the Two Birds Event Group.

After several false starts, the heat index is finally on an upward trajectory in Milwaukee.

And with the climb in temperature, businesses across the city are beginning to ramp up outdoor operations in anticipation of patio season.

The Starling‘s Pier Garden is no exception. The riverfront patio pop-up — a take on the beer garden — is preparing to enter its second season, which will officially kick off on Tuesday, May 23.

But come May 26, the Pier Garden, 102 N. Water St., will add in an unexpected twist.

Instead of the classic beer batter for its Friday fish fry, fillets will be dipped in a White Claw tempura before frying.

And though that may sound like something fit to be served at a frat house rather than an upscale bar, keep an open mind — there’s actual science to back up the non-traditional recipe.

“We tested it out last season and people loved it, so we are bringing it back more consistently,” said Jenna Renno, who oversees corporate and community engagement for venue owner Two Birds Event Group. “It’s so unique and much lighter than a beer batter.”

In addition to the fish fry, visitors to the seasonal space can expect a list of craft cocktails and local tap beers, as well as salads, sandwiches and appetizers courtesy of Tall Guy and a Grill.

“A big part of what we like to do is take Wisconsin classics and put our own spin on them,” said Dan Nowak, owner of Tall Guy and a Grill and CEO of Brazen Standard Hospitality, in a statement. “We really think people will like this fun, summertime menu that highlights seasonal favorites and features locally sourced ingredients.”

Pier Garden’s expansive patio space sits at the juncture of bustling Water Street and the Milwaukee River. And for those whose second car is a boat, the Pier Garden offers a handful of boat slips for float-up service.

“We are so excited to see the Third Ward riverwalk come alive as the weather warms up and be a part of the fun by offering our creative cocktails and warm hospitality,” said Ramsey Renno, co-owner of Two Birds Event Group, in a statement.

Pier Garden plans to offer regular entertainment, including live music and standing events such as Tuesday Bingo. Several events will take place in July and August in conjunction with PetFest.

Pier Garden will be open Tuesday through Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Thursday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. The kitchen will close at 8 p.m. each night. The season is expected to continue through October.

Pier Garden will occasionally be closed on Fridays for private events held at The Starling. A weekly schedule noting these closures, as well as public events, will be available on Instagram and Facebook.

Renno co-owns Two Birds with Tyler Curran. In addition to The Starling, which was recently named Best New Venue by Wisconsin Bride, the group operates Milwaukee AirwavesThe Ivy House and Filament. Two Birds also hosts events at The Society, a venue at Milwaukee County Historical Society, 910 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr.


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