Two Milwaukee food critics - Marquette alumnae Ann Christenson and Carol Deptolla - serve up their favorite area restaurants for you to check out during Alumni Reunion Weekend.

Milwaukee Magazine

Casual (Lunch or Dinner)

Northpoint Custard: Run by Bartolotta Restaurant Group (of Lake Park Bistro and Bacchus fame). Order a burger, fries and a shake, and take a seat at a picnic table. There are few better views of the Milwaukee lakefront. (2272 N. Lincoln Memorial Dr., 414-727-4886)

Miller Time Pub: A standout list of burgers, including the Fire Burger, with buffalo sauce and bacon, and Brew City burger, topped with Merkts cheese spread and tumbleweed onions. (Hilton Hotel, 509 W. Wisconsin Ave., 414-271-2337)

Kopp’s Frozen Custard: Worth a stop for a burger, grilled cheese and a frozen treat – a sundae or cone filled with the flavor of the day. (three locations)

Honeypie: Great for the pork fries, grass-fed burger (topped with an egg), nightly entrée specials, and of course, the home-baked pies. Cupcakes, too. (2643 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., 414-489-7437)

Cafe at the Plaza: A very cool art deco lunch counter inside the Plaza Hotel. Offers corned beef hash to a smoked trout club. Open only for breakfast and lunch. (1007 N. Cass St., 414-272-0515)

Dinner (Mid-priced)

centro cafe: Feels like a little cafe in Europe. The old storefront has a little cocktail lounge in the back, the main dining room – seating on an old church pew at tables made from reclaimed marble – in the front. Specializes in homey, hearty pastas. (808 E. Center St., 414-455-3751)

Odd Duck: The hottest new restaurant in Bay View. Serves a diverse menu of small and large plates – locally made charcuterie, and dishes that smack of Italy, Asia and India. Offers interesting cocktails like a Thai basil-jackfruit mojito. (2352 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., 414-763-5881)

Rumpus Room: Bartolotta Restaurant Group’s newest – and most casual – restaurant. The line-up of charcuterie, cured meats, sandwiches and comfort food-like entrées is meant to complement the craft beer list. (1030 N. Water St., 414-292-0100)

Dinner (Fine Dining)

Sanford: The most inventive menu, served by a top-notch waitstaff. The room is elegant and intimate. Chef de cuisine Justin Aprahamian has been nominated for a James Beard Award. It’s just a matter of time before he wins one. (1547 N. Jackson St., 414-276-9608)

Crazy Water: The cooking – at this intimate former German tavern – is done in the smallest kitchen you’ve ever seen, located behind the bar. Menu includes steaks to fresh fish. (839 S. Second St., 414-645-2606)

Hinterland: Sausages, pâtés and foie gras mousse made by the in-house butcher; fresh fish offered in seasonal preparations. One of the most creative menus in town. Serves beers (ales, stout, IPA) brewed at the Hinterland restaurant/brewery in Green Bay, Wis. (222 E. Erie St., Third Ward, 414-727-9300)

Braise Restaurant: Located inside a restored old Walker’s Point brick building, the restaurant makes plentiful use of seasonal ingredients from Wisconsin farms. (1101 S. Second St., 414-212-8843)

Harbor House: The nautical-themed dining room almost feels like being inside a well-appointed ship. Offers a stunning view of Lake Michigan. Great for raw oysters and clams, although it does offer sandwiches, salads, and entrées featuring fresh fish and seafood. (550 N. Harbor Dr., 414-395-4900)

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Overall Best Bets

Cafe at the Plaza downtown for breakfast/lunch/brunch

Rustico in the Third Ward

Honeypie in Bay View

Rouge for a fancy buffet brunch


Jing's in the Third Ward for regional Chinese

Arin Bert on W. Wells for very good Armenian: order at the counter for takeout, or try to snag one of the few tables

centro cafe for pastas

Cafe Corazon (Mexican-American, with local ingredients) in Riverwest.

El Canaveral on W. Greenfield for Mexican


Braise on S. 2nd St. for dinner

The Noble on S. 2nd

Odd Duck in Bay View

Distil on Milwaukee St. for a cool bar with great drinks and very good small plates and a few sandwiches.

Indulge on Milwaukee St. for cheese, charcuterie or chocolates with wine to cap off the night

Quick Hits

Alterra at the Lake for a quick breakfast or lunch with coffee

Northpoint Custard and the Bradford Beach concession stand near the lakefront

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