BY ROBERT GLAZE
Bay View is a neighborhood in Milwaukee, on the shores of Lake Michigan, just south of the downtown area and north of the City of St. Francis. It was a working class neighborhood that originated as a company town for the Milwaukee Iron Works. In recent years, it has seen a major resurgence in growth with new restaurants, microbreweries, distilleries, bars, coffee shops and fun stores. It is now home to artists, musicians and young professionals. An easy drive from Chicago, it is a great neighborhood to spend time and explore. I spent seven hours there on a Friday this past July and was very impressed with all it has to offer. You can drive up for the day and be home after dinner. Here are my top recommendations:
Where to Eat
There are some great neighborhood restaurants, cafes and coffee shops along Kinnickinnic Ave.
Odd Duck: Located at 2352 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., this is a casual neighborhood spot, that features mainly small plates, I really enjoyed my evening with local friends. I loved the coconut melon gazpacho and the braised octopus. It was served with a papaya and a Thai basil salad, suman rice and a squid ink aioli. My friends loved the seared sea scallops, the grilled steak skewer, the sauteed broccoli with cheddar cheese dumplings and the grilled cauliflower. The service was excellent. It is very popular, so I recommend making a reservation well in advance.
Colectivo Coffee: Make sure to visit their Bay View Cafe and Bakery at 2301 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. They have a large outdoor patio, just as they do in their latest addition in Chicago. On site you can view the daily work at their Troubadour Bakery and buy a loaf of their bread. The breads and baked goods are found in all of their cafes.
Honey Pie: I really enjoyed my lunch at this fun neighborhood cafe. Opened in 2010, they have a large menu of breakfast items, salads and sandwiches for lunch. They have a large dinner menu as well as a popular brunch menu on Saturday and Sunday. I had a lovely salad with fresh peaches with grilled chicken. They are known for their amazing pies, so make sure to save room. I loved the coconut cream!!! They feature local ingredients from Wisconsin purveyors from meats to produce.
Anodyne Coffee & Pizza: After finding their roasting plant in Walker’s Point on my last trip, I was pleased to find their original location in Bay View. I enjoyed hanging out at this coffee shop that serves wood fired pizza as well.
Other good choices include:
Cafe Centraal: At 2306 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., this is a large European cafe featuring Belgian and Dutch beer plus a large food menu.
Hi-Fi Cafe: This is a fun cafe offering coffee drinks as well as a breakfast menu, sandwiches, pizzas, soups, salads and pastas. You can also get fountain drinks from malts to shakes. I want to try the Chai Shake on my next visit. The vibe and decor are vintage and fun. 2640 S. Kinnickinnic.
I just read about Kindred. This is a neighborhood restaurant located on the first floor of the Kinn MKE Guesthouse. The eight-room, boutique hotel upstairs looks wonderful and has great design featuring local artists. I will definitely stay overnight on my next trip. 2535 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.
The Vanguard: This is a casual spot, that features their house-made sausages, hot dogs, brats and more, plus beer and cocktails. 2659 S. Kinnickinnic.
Soup Market: This is a local cafe known for its from-scratch soups, stews and chili plus salads, sandwiches and breakfast items. 2211 S. Kinnickinnic.
You will find an outpost of Stone Creek Coffee at 2266 S. Kinnickinnic. There is also Babe’s Ice Cream at 2264 S. Kinnickinnic. The Crafty Cow is a great spot to grab a burger at 2675 S. Kinnickinnic.
Beer and Spirits
You will find a good number of local bars, local breweries and distilleries in the neighborhood as well. Make sure to visit:
Lincoln Warehouse, 2018 S. 1st St.: Formerly a bake house for the A&P grocery chain from 1928, a trip to the neighborhood should include a trip to the Lincoln Warehouse. It is now is home to taprooms or tasting rooms for two breweries and a distillery plus the headquarters for two makers of tonic and bitters.
Enlightened Brewing: With an expanded taproom, this is a great spot to try one of their ales, porters, stouts, IPAs and saisons. I really enjoyed The Cream City Brix cream ale. It was smooth and flavorful and not hoppy or bitter!
Dock18 Cocktail Lab: A wonderful find is this, speakeasy, style tasting room and bar featuring the products of Twisted Path Distillery and Bittercube. Twisted Path makes vodka, gin, light rum and a dark rum. Bittercube makes 8 varieties of artisanal bitters. Just look for dock 17 in the warehouse, go to the glass door to the right and press the buzzer to enter. It is rather small so you might consider making a reservation to make sure you can get in.
Cocktail classes, tastings and distillery tours are also available. The staff was excellent and knowledgeable. I loved trying their excellent, dark rum old fashioned!
Upstairs on the second floor is the taproom for Eagle Park Brewing Company which features their ales, IPAs, ambers, saisons, porters and wheat beer.
The Tonic Tavern: This is a fun bar featuring craft beer, wine, and cocktails in a modern, eco-chic lounge with live music and large patio. 2335 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.
Sugar Maple: Just off Kinnickinnic Ave. at 441 E. Lincoln Ave., this local bar features over 60 American craft beers. They also feature other special events, so check out their website before you head to town.
Next time I want to try the Palm Tavern, Boone & Crockett at 2151 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. or Burnhearts, another locals’ favorite. Afterwards, I want to head to the Bay View Bowl at 2416 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. to top off the evening.
Further south of Bay View in St. Francis, WI is the Saint Francis Brewing Co. This is a large brewery and tap room featuring their own brews. Very clever, is that they named their beers after the Seven Deadly Sins. Therefore you have their Greed IPA, the Lust wheat beer or ale, the Envy India IPA, their Wrath amber ale and the Sloth nut brown ale. The Gluttony Seasonal Series features several including an Oktoberfest, a saison and a Winter Ale while the Pride Special Reserve Series features a chocolate porter and more. “Submit to Temptation” is the motto. 3825 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.
Where to Shop
Kinnickinnic Avenue has a fun number of bookstores, music stores, resale and antique shops, and fun boutiques. You can have a fun afternoon visiting:
The Hen House – Women’s Hats & Custom MIllinery: At 2250 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., they have amazing hats and fascinators for women in a really lovely shop. Make sure to ask for Kate McLaughlin, the owner. Next door is their workshop and their hat shop for men, The Brass Rooster, which has a large selection for sale. Make sure to ask to see the old machines. They also offer cleaning and blocking services for your hats.
Sparrow Collective: This small shop features apparel, home goods, art, gifts from over 200 independent designers. They also host monthly workshops in sewing, jewelry making and metalsmithing. 224 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.
Acme Records, 2341 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.: This store buys and sells used and new LPs, 45s, 78s and CDs.
Bay View Books & Music: This is a local seller of books, records, CDs and DVDs. 2653 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.
Rusty Sprocket Antiques, 3391 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.: This shop features vintage garage items and tools, bike parts, beer and barware, tin toys, advertising, furniture, books and magazines plus vintage kitchen items. Next door, at 3385, is the Sprocket Cafe offering coffee, bakery and lunch items in an eclectic, neighborhood setting.
R Vintage n’ More – Mid Century & Antique Mall: At 2653 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., they feature a large selection of Mid-century items, antiques, glass, jewelry, coins, art, lighting, collectibles and toys. I found a vintage world globe, perfect for Globalphiles!!
Voyageur Book Shop: Used and new books, bought and sold at 2212 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.
Rosemary’s Video is a funky candy store featuring videos, penny candy and playing pinball. 2655 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.
Bay View is one of my favorite new spots in Midwest and I can’t wait to go back for another visit.
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