It's no secret that Milwaukeeans love carbs and meat and therefore love brunch. And it's a great excuse to spend Sunday morning (aka Sunday late afternoon) downing Bloody Marys and any food that can be doused in syrup. Here are the best 14 brunch options in Milwaukee worth marking down for Easter, Mother’s Day, or any weekend you just feel the need to overindulge.
Stuffed French Toast, Mad Greek Yogurt in a pineapple half
Mad Rooster CafeAddress and Info
Restaurants that are only open until early afternoon mean you can get brunch any day of the week, and that’s a good thing when there’s always a wait on Sundays. This relative newcomer to the brunch scene makes everything from scratch, including Greek yogurt and jams. Stuffed French Toast is heavy with Bavarian-custard filling and cream-cheese glaze. Luckily there's some fresh fruit added to offset the gazillion calories.
Harbor HouseAddress and Info
The Pfister Hotel is where you go to brunch when you want to impress someone who prefers a subdued, classy affair (read: your grandma). It’s buffet-style, so you can load up your plate with cold peel-and-eat shrimp, a made-to-order omelette, carved roast beef, egg salad, and a brownie, artfully mixing dishes as you see fit.
Korean BBQ Breakfast Bowl or Turkey, Brussels Sprouts, & Butternut Squash Hash
Simple CafeAddress and Info
Lower East Side
Korean for brunch? Yup, especially when you're digging into one of Simple's most popular items, the Korean BBQ Breakfast Bowl. Non-traditional brunch ingredients like Korean braised pork, tons of veggies, brown rice, and kimchi are topped with an over-easy egg, thus making it an acceptable breakfast food.
The Dubliner with Goat Cheese Stuffed Browns and a Bloody Mary
Blue’s EggAddress and Info
Honey Creek Parkway
Blue’s has become the default “where should we go for brunch?” place in a city where the meal is taken very seriously, hence the long waits on weekends, and sometimes during the week, too. Try the Dubliner, a Benedict-like dish that combines salty corned beef with creamy leeks and paprika aioli on dark rye toast.
Country Fried Steak, Meat n' Eggs, Biscuits n' Gravy
Comet CafeAddress and Info
Lower East Side
The hipsters are on to something here. Sure, you can get vegan “ribs” and something called a Veggie Cutlet, but you can also get a big Country Fried Steak with gravy, meatloaf & eggs, or corned beef topped with sriracha to satisfy your carnivorous tendencies.
Full English, The Hot Mess
The NationalAddress and Info
Take a trip around the world in one spot. Start with a Croque Madame, then hop to Huevos Rancheros, and end across the pond with a full English breakfast of eggs, bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes, potatoes, beans, toast, and bangers. You gotta love that Brits refer to breakfast sausage with an Austin Powers-level sexual innuendo.
Tiramisu Pancakes, Collard Greens, Barbecued Ribs
SmythAddress and Info
Smyth is located in the Iron Horse, a surprisingly chic hotel catering to Harley-Davidson riders who visit the Harley-Davidson Museum just down the street. Like everything in the building, the brunch is biker-themed, in this case centering on historic Route 66. It’s a little campy, but who cares because there’s a buffet AND you get to order plated dishes from the kitchen. You get both! That's probably why big burly HOG members and their daintier wives alike dig this brunch.
Fried Chicken and Waffle, Breakfast Tacos with bacon, potatoes and cheddar
PalominoAddress and Info
This Southern spot has a reputation as a fried-food enclave, so it only makes sense that its brunch rocks. Start your morning with a plate of Brown Sugar Baked House-Made Slab Bacon, then move on to the Fried Chicken & Waffle or Chicken Fried Steak. If those aren’t filling enough, get a Breakfast Burger with Southern pimento cheese spread, bacon, fried egg, and a token lettuce leaf, for color.
Sweet Potato Pancakes Savory-style, Burnt Ends Benedict
Smoke ShackAddress and Info
BBQ & brunch: those two words don’t go together nearly enough. While Smoke Shack doesn't have a large menu, all you really needs are carbs topped with smoked meat anyway. You can get that in the form of biscuits and gravy or eggs Benedict, both topped with your choice of pulled pork, burnt ends, or ham. For something with a semblance of nutrition, get Sweet Potato Pancakes Savory-style with pulled pork and Carolina mustard sauce.
Denver Omelet Pizza, Smashburger Breakfast, Orange Cinnamon Roll
Wolf PeachAddress and Info
This place is upscale for dinner, but down-to-earth for brunch. You get the same high-quality ingredients, just during daylight hours. Must-tries are the brunch pizzas; choose from Denver omelette-style with scrambled eggs, bacon, peppers, and cheese; a fancier pie with slow-poached egg, shaved Brussels sprouts, and guanciale; or the sausage-gravy pizza with roasted mushrooms, cheese, and a poached egg. If you haven’t tried eggs on pizza, here’s your chance.
Breakfast Burrito, Chilaquiles, Tequila Sunrise
Cafe CorazonAddress and Info
This teeny, quirky Mexican spot has a super-popular brunch with a large menu. You can get chorizo in many glorious forms: in tacos, in burritos, with eggs, on breakfast tostadas, or in empanadas. If you don’t like chorizo, how about carnitas in your chilaquiles or carne mechada in your empanadas? If you’re still not on board, there’s always Rumchata French Toast.
Harbor HouseAddress and Info
Harbor House should really just call its brunch buffet “Seafood Extravaganza.” It goes all-out for brunch with piles of fresh fish and shellfish amongst the typical omelettes and bacon. Sure, you can fill yourself up on carved roast beef, but you should make a beeline for the Lobster Pot Pie and freshly shucked oysters instead.
Shakshouka, Crêpe Monsieur
Story Hill BKCAddress and Info
BKC stands for bottle, kitchen, and cup, and it sells retail wine and beer while also operating a coffee bar and an all-day restaurant. Brunch is served every day and includes some unique options like Shakshouka, a Middle Eastern dish of eggs baked in a tomato and pepper sauce that includes lentils and goat cheese. To satisfy a sweet tooth, there’s always the Chocolate Caramel Nut Roll.
Breakfast Pork Fries, Wisconsin Honeypie, Carrot Cupcakes
HoneypieAddress and Info
If there’s pie for brunch, do you really need anything else? Check out the pie (and cake) case as soon as you walk in. That way, you can decide whether you’ll have Chocolate Chip Cheesecake for your main dish and Lemon Icebox Pie for dessert, or Breakfast Pork Fries followed by Black Bottom Banana. Then be sure to get some pie to go as well.
1. Mad Rooster Cafe4401 W Greenfield Ave, Milwaukee
2. The Rouge at The Pfister424 E Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee
3. Simple2124 N Farwell Ave, Milwaukee
4. Blue's Egg317 N 76th St, Milwaukee
5. Comet Cafe1947 N Farwell Ave, Milwaukee
6. The National839 W National Ave, Milwaukee
7. Smyth500 W Florida St, Milwaukee
8. Palomino2491 S Superior St, Milwaukee
9. Smoke Shack332 N Milwaukee St, Milwaukee
10. Wolf Peach1818 N Hubbard St, Milwaukee
11. Corazon3129 N Bremen St, Milwaukee
12. Harbor House550 N Harbor Dr, Milwaukee
13. Story Hill BKC5100 W Bluemound Rd, Milwaukee
14. Honeypie2643 S Kinnickinnic Ave, Milwaukee
Restaurants that are only open until early afternoon mean you can get brunch any day of the week, and that’s a good thing when there’s always a wait on Sundays. This relative newcomer to the brunch scene makes everything from scratch, including Greek yogurt and jams, and gratifies the most indulgent cravings -- say, French toast with Bavarian custard filling and cream-cheese glaze.
The Pfister Hotel is the Sunday Brunch spot you visit when you want to impress someone who prefers a subdued, classy affair (read: your grandma). It’s buffet-style, so you can load up your plate with cold peel-and-eat shrimp, a made-to-order omelette, carved roast beef, egg salad, and a brownie, artfully mixing dishes as you see fit.
This friendly café serves some of its classics -- say, the grilled cheese with rich tomato soup -- straight, while other dishes, like the popular Korean BBQ Breakfast Bowl, show off a subtle creative or fusion-inspired spin.
You'd think the hardest restaurant to get into would be some fancy-schmancy place Downtown, but you'd think wrong. On any given day, there's a wait for a table at this breakfast-and-lunch-only spot, with waits on busy weekends pushing a couple hours. It's worth the delayed gratification for the crispy pulled ham-stuffed hash browns and Bloody Marys.
This East Side establishment may have gained national recognition through the bacon-wrapped meatloaf at the center of Guy Fieri's "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" segment, but vegan and vegetarian dishes (like a vegan salisbury steak or gyro) on the other side of the health spectrum are also renown. Though a wait is to be expected, cozy booths, warm lighting, and hipster inclinations (surely encouraged by higher-than-average noise levels) make it a popular destination for groups.
Take a trip around the world in one spot. Start with a croque-madame, then hop to huevos rancheros, and end with a full English breakfast: eggs, bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes, potatoes, beans, toast, and bangers.
Smyth is located in the Iron Horse, a surprisingly chic hotel catering to Harley-Davidson riders who visit the museum just down the street. Like everything in the building, the food is themed around biker culture, in this case historic highway Route 66. It’s a little campy, but who cares, because there's a buffet at brunch and plated American fare day long.
This is a Southern and fried-food enclave whose dishes make up in heart what they lack in health, from the Brown Sugar Baked Homemade Slab Bacon to the breakfast burger with Southern pimento cheese spread.
There isn't a large menu here, but all you really need are carbs topped with smoked meat anyway. You can get that with biscuits and gravy or eggs Benedict, both topped with your choice of pulled pork, burnt ends, or ham -- that's right: there's a BBQ brunch.
One of the best views of the city is from the patio of this trendy small-plate, new American haven. Luckily it does everything really well, though, like making broccoli delicious by roasting it in a wood-fired oven and topping it with apricots, almonds, and pickled red chiles. "Trendy" is not a problem when the food is delicious.
Tacos, burritos, and tostadas are always available at this friendly joint, and famously served with eggs or stuffed with chorizo at Mexican-inspired brunch -- all local and fresh from the owners' family farm. The space seats nearly 100 guests, which, in addition to an outdoor patio and vegan options (like soy chorizo), makes this casual restaurant a fit for pickier groups.
Harbor House should really just call its brunch buffet “Seafood Extravaganza" -- it goes all out with piles of fresh fish and shellfish amongst the typical omelets and bacon. And you wouldn't expect any less from a steakhouse-cum-raw bar trading in lobster bisque and shrimp cocktails, and with views of the water to boot.
BKC stands for bottle, kitchen, and cocktail, and it sells retail wine and beer while also operating a coffee and cocktail bar and an all-day restaurant. Food, including the daily brunch, is inspired by the cuisine of the Upper Midwest but made with techniques gathered from across the world. This Story Hill spot serves up several batch cocktails, but you can also get one built from scratch.
If your grandma was Midwestern, Honeypie makes its food like your grandma used to make. Ingredients for corn muffins or apple cabbage slaw are locally sourced whenever possible, and there's a whole case of just the namesake pie and cake: cheesecake, red velvet, Black Bottom Banana...