Sophie Bolich

The Secret of Lakefront Brewery’s Ranch Dressing

What makes it so popular? Executive Chef Kristin Hueneke has the answers.

By - Jul 25th, 2023 04:05 pm
Lakefront Brewery cheese curds with a side of garlic ranch. Photo courtesy of Lakefront Brewery.

Lakefront Brewery cheese curds with a side of garlic ranch. Photo courtesy of Lakefront Brewery.

Lakefront Brewery‘s ranch could convert a Hidden Valley hater. The buttermilk-based dressing already has a particularly loyal following from Wisconsinites, who are known to slather the stuff on everything from pizza and popcorn to pasta and potatoes. There’s even a market for ranch-flavored ice cream.

But those who are unsure of — or even averse to — the tangy sauce, might find their minds changed by the brewery’s version, which is made in-house at a rate of approximately 65 gallons per week.

“You should see the size of the container and whisk we use to make a batch,” said Kristin Hueneke, executive chef at Lakefront Brewery.

In creating the recipe, Hueneke  said she “spent a lot of time researching and experimenting” in order to perfect the flavor of the sauce, which incorporates a variety of herbs and “an embarrassing amount of mayo,” she said.

The secret, she said, lies in the quality of the ingredients. Fresh chives, parsley and dill all go into the mix, along with plenty of garlic. Sour cream and buttermilk balance out the flavor and texture of the mayo, while adding that unmistakable tang that ranch-lovers crave.

From there, the sauce is mixed “until your arm hurts” and portioned out for customers to enjoy alongside the menu item of their choosing. Most of Lakefront’s menu items play well with ranch — particularly its salads, chicken sandwiches and fried appetizers such as battered dill pickles.

Throughout its past several decades in business Lakefront’s visitors have taken a particular liking to the brewery’s ranch — a trend that continues today.

Courtney Wallace, a Baltimore, Maryland native who makes regular visits to Milwaukee, has made it a tradition to stop at Lakefront Brewery every time she’s in the city. Here, she swaps crab cakes for a basket of cheese curds. And extra ranch on the side, if you please.

“I didn’t really think much about ranch before I came here,” Wallace said. “I wouldn’t say I’m obsessed with normal ranch, but I am obsessed with this ranch.”

Hueneke anticipates that the dressing will continue to be in high demand for the remainder of peak season for the brewery, 1872 N. Commerce St., and into the rest of the year.

Her enthusiasm for the ranch goes even beyond the kitchen. “Maybe we need a ranch-flavored beer,” she joked.

No word from the brewers on that yet.

Lakefront Brewery is open Monday through Thursday from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m., Friday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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Categories: Food & Drink

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