Taste of Milwaukee

Milwaukee is known for beer, cheese, sausage -- and so much more. Flip through our gallery to explore these and other favorite Milwaukee foods and drinks.
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Photo By: iStock

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Frozen custard is a popular treat in Milwaukee. You can find it many places, such as Gilles Frozen Custard (open since 1938) and Leon's Frozen Custard (serving it up since 1942). Sample flavors such as chocolate, butter pecan, maple walnut and cinnamon.

Another well-known snack food in Milwaukee is the pretzel roll -- not surprising given the city's strong German heritage and its influence on local food. Miller Bakery, a local institution since 1923, supplies pretzel rolls to many area restaurants.

When it comes to meat, Italian sausage is a local favorite. Adam Richman and Man v. Food Nation stopped by Martino's Italian Beef to sample some while in Milwaukee.

With a hat tip to the city's large German immigrant population, bratwurst is a popular dish in Milwaukee. In fact Miller Park, home to the Milwaukee Brewers, sells brats along with hot dogs. They should be eaten with sauerkraut, mustard or horseradish. Asking for ketchup is a no-no.

The Friday fish fry is a long-held Milwaukee tradition, inspired by the city's Catholic community. Many local restaurants serve fish fries, including The Packing House, Beer Belly's, The Painted Parrot, Stack'd Burger Bar and Lakefront Brewery Palm Garden.

Two of the biggies are in this soup ... beer and cheese. Also included are veggies, pepper, mustard, and basic ingredients. One recipe called for popcorn as a garnish.

Beer, beer, beer ... Milwaukee is known for this because it used to be the top brewing city in the US. Today, the city is still home to many microbreweries, including Milwaukee Brewing Company, Lakefront Brewery and Sprecher Brewing. The large Miller brewery is also in the city. Tours and tastings are available at all of them.

When Polish immigrants began settling in Milwaukee in large numbers in the 1890s, they brought with them a love of pierogi. The dumplings come filled with meat, cheese and potato, and are very popular at events such as the annual Polish Fest.

Real Chili is a Milwaukee institution. Since it first opened in 1931, the restaurant has become known with for the taglines, "It's not just for breakfast anymore" and "Preventing Milwaukee's hangover since 1931." The eatery serves chili with spaghetti and chili beans, as well as, a side of oyster crackers.

Cheese is another Milwaukee staple. One of the best places to get cheese in the city is the West Allis Cheese & Sausage Shoppe in the Milwaukee Public Market, which carries more than 200 cheese varities.

BBQ ribs also dominate the Milwaukee food scene. The city is home to many different rib joints with such as Saz's State House and Speed Queen Bar-B-Q.

Cheese curds are big in Milwaukee. You can eat them plain or fried. They may feel like Silly Putty but taste a whole lot better! (Warning, thought, they squeak when you eat them.) Cheese curds are made when milk is pasteurized, then an enzyme (rennet) is added to form a custard-like substance. The liquid is then separated as the mixture is heated; the resulting product is the curd.

The cannibal sandwich isn't known in many places, but in Milwaukee it's a holiday tradition brought over by early German immigrants. The sandwich includes raw ground beef and onions on rye bread, and it can be served with mustard.