Once a city of greasy spoons, Milwaukee’s suddenly sporting Euro cafes in trendy spots like the Third Ward and Walkers Point. The city’s best a.m. indulgences are a little old, a little new.
Cafe Benelux & Market
Benelux—short for Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg—is the brunchy sibling to bistros Cafe Hollander and Cafe Centraal. Like its beery brothers, Benelux boasts pairings right on the menu (the 14-page beer menu ensures no repeats). But only this Third Ward fixture can claim a lake-view rooftop patio and Dutch pannenkoeken—fried dough smothered in Belgian beer cheese, pancetta and fried egg if you’re feeling savory; Nutella, banana and hazelnuts if you’re sweet; paired with a Tripel Karmeliet if you’re smart. There’s standard egg and griddle fare, too, plus exclusive taps all the way from Belgium’s Lowlands Brewing.
The only thing better than fresh-cut hash browns? “Very stuffed” hash browns. This Wauwatosa spot takes taters from side dish to center stage, cramming them with combos like pulled ham and sharp cheddar; goat cheese, roasted olives and paprika aioli; and aged provolone with basil and tomato sauce. Variety’s a theme there:
The same menu corrals Elvis sandwiches, kale and ratatouille omelettes, and a calamari-scallop-shrimp breakfast scramble. Even when your stomach’s on overload, you’ll feel good knowing your gluttony supported local suppliers: The milk and eggs hail from small family farms, and the vegetables are raised by an urban agriculture non-profit.
Though they’ve only been around a few years, the two Marquette University campus Broken Yolks are old-school Milwaukee at its finest. Owner Jim Gatto—the self-described “short dumpy guy behind the grill”—promises a personal touch as you watch your pancakes, waffles, eggs and breakfast burritos made in front of you. Try the fluffy yet fried to a crisp French toast and pick from a dizzying array of toppings, including warm fruit, peanut butter and jelly, chocolate chips and M&Ms. Both spots are cramped and not at all fancy, but the classic items and huge delicious portions get the job done.
LATE-NIGHT BITE: In less than a decade, the five-location Dogg Haus has earned a reputation for after-bar hot dogs you’d actually seek out during the day. Soak up your beer with dogs inspired by Chicago, Santa Fe, Atlanta and beyond, or build your own. Still hungry? Add a Box-o-Fries or oh-so-Wisco cheese curds.