Food & Drink

The 10 Best Sausages in Milwaukee

Published On 10/06/2015 Published On 10/06/2015
Michael Goelzer/Courtesy of The Vanguard

Milwaukee Take a ton of German and Polish immigrants, mix them all up together in one city, and what do you get? Sausages (and Milwaukee). We’ve got a rich history of sausage making, and it still shines through in our restaurants today, from traditional bratwursts to newfangled Asian concoctions. Here are 10 places to get your encased meat fix. More Stuff You Will Like

Courtesy of the Milwaukee Brat House

Milwaukee Brat House

  Kilbourn Town   What you're getting: Usinger’s cheddar jalapeño How do you find a good sausage in MKE? Look for the nearest sausage-making factory. In the case of Milwaukee Brat House (and many others on this list), Usinger’s is right across the street. You can get its sausages in a million different ways here, but the cheddar jalapeño brat is one you won’t find many other places.  Continue Reading

Lacey Muszynski/Thrillist


  Kilbourn Town   What you're getting: Bavarian platter  Super German, super old (founded in 1902), super-cool atmosphere. There’s so much history here, in the form of wood carvings, stained glass, suits of armor, and about a million Hummel figurines. Try to focus on your Bavarian platter though, with bratwurst, knackwurst, weisswurst, potato dumplings, and smoked pork chops, in case the sausages weren’t enough pork.

Michael Goelzer/Courtesy of The Vanguard

The Vanguard

  Bay View   What you're getting: Kilig Look past the hipsters and trust in the sausage. Besides sides -- poutine anyone? -- the entire menu is tubed meats, and all of them creative and unique. Take the Kilig for example, an Asian-inspired sausage seasoned with palm sugar and soy, topped with bean sprouts, basil, cilantro, chili sauce, and hoisin. Chinese takeout wishes it were this good.

Flickr/Mark Z

The Dogg Haus

Multiple locations
What you're getting: Polish, deep-fried sausage

A favorite of Marquette students and Downtown office workers alike, The Dogg Haus specializes in hot dogs. But go for the gusto and get the Polish sausage instead. And when they ask you if you want it steamed or fried, scoff that they’re even asking, because who wants steamed sausages? Deep frying gives it a lovely snap and caramelized exterior. Have them top it with onions and hot giardiniera to cut through the grease.


Old German Beer Hall

  Kilbourn Town   What you're getting: Weißgerber smoked bratwurst Giant liter mugs of Hofbrau? Yes please, but you’ll need sausage to soak up all that beer. If you have no idea how to pronounce Weißgerber, that’s OK, just say you want the smoked brat. No matter what you call it, it will jut hilariously out from both sides of the bun they put it in. 

Lacey Muszynski/Thrillist

Glorioso’s Italian Market

  Lower East Side   What you're getting: Italian sausage sandwich with hot giardiniera This Italian specialty market has a huge deli and prepared foods section, plus you can order freshly prepared pastas, panini, and Italian sausage sandwiches. You know the sausage is fresh, since they’re hanging in the butcher window. If you’re really hungry, get the Italian sausage and Italian beef combo sandwich, topped with homemade giardiniera. 

Flickr/Ross Grady

​Karl Ratzsch’s

  Juneau Town   What you're getting: Usinger’s sausage medley  Another landmark German restaurant in MKE, and another that serves delicious Usinger’s products. There are two sausage platters to choose from here, but you should go with the Usinger’s sausage medley. Why? Because it comes with spatzle. Yes the multiple sausages are obviously great, but those little dumplings fried in butter just put it over the top. 

Joe Laedtke/Courtesy of Red Lion Pub

​Red Lion Pub

  Lower East Side   What you're getting: Bangers and mash For something a little different than the usual German and Polish sausages around these parts, try the English-style bangers and mash at Red Lion Pub. A couple plump, golden sausages are piled on top of mashed potatoes, veggies, and ale gravy. It’s kind of like hearty stew, but made with pork sausages instead of beef. 

Courtesy of Who’s on Third

Who’s on Third

  Kilbourn Town   What you're getting: Mac and cheese brat Combine our favorite tubed meat (Usinger’s brat, duh) with our favorite cheese (the macaroni+ variety), and that meal is a no-brainer. Add bacon and put it in a pretzel bun... I know everyone from Wisconsin is salivating just reading this. The brat is cooked in Riverwest Stein, too. Genius all around.

Lacey Muszynski/Thrillist

Sprecher’s Restaurant & Pub

  Glendale   What you're getting: Wisconsin’s best wurst platter   The best wursts are represented on the Sprecher’s Pub sausage platter: bock, knock, and weisswurst. While I wouldn’t be able to tell you which one was which, I can tell you that they’re all tasty. Spatzle makes an appearance here again, along with red cabbage and spicy mustard made with Sprecher’s beer for dipping.  Sign up here for our daily Milwaukee email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun in the Brew City. Lacey Muszynski is a Milwaukee native who is now craving the Hungarian sausages from Rupena’s. Follow her at

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1. Milwaukee Brat House 1013 N Old World 3rd St, Milwaukee, WI 53203

Milwaukee Brat House marries the city's German heritage with regional tastes, resulting a menu of flavorful sausages (ranging from traditional Polish styles to Midwest variations featuring local cheddar, jalapeno, and bacon), pretzels, and the some of Brew City's best cheese curds (lightly battered, fried to order, and sprinkled with Parmesan, because there's no such thing as too much cheese). It's a popular haunt for beer lovers who want to enjoy a pint before heading to a game at Miller Park or an event at the Bradley Center, as there's a free shuttle conveniently running between the bar and both venues.

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2. Mader's Restaurant 1041 N Old World 3rd St, Milwaukee, WI 53203 (Downtown)

What do a $3-million collection of medieval suits of armor, the largest collection of Hummel knickknacks in America, and hundreds of beer steins have in common? You can see them all at German restaurant Mader’s. It’s all up on the second floor above the bar and dining room in this oldest restaurant in Milwaukee, so take a stroll up there after you finish your sauerbraten and strudel.

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3. Vanguard 2659 S Kinnickinnic Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53207

Sausages will never go out of style in MKE, especially when Vanguard in Bay View reinvents the wheel with new versions all the time. Thai, Italian, German, and Jamaican meats are all represented, not to mention our neighbor to the north (which gets a nod with several variations on poutine). But you're in Milwaukee, so opt for the city's namesake dog, which comes with cheese curds, cheddar cheese, and Cheez Whiz for good measure. There's a hidden patio out back, which we suggest retreating to so you can eat the second hot dog you'll likely order in peace.

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4. Old German Beer Hall 1009 N Old World 3rd St, Milwaukee, WI 53203

Old German Beer Hall is a wonderful place to kick back with a large beer and Bavarian festival food. The giant pretzels are imported from Munich and the bratwurst is really something special.

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5. Glorioso's 1011 E Brady St, Milwaukee, WI 53202

This family-owned and operated mercato has been been around since 1946, offering customers Italian delicacies and imports that include handmade sausages, oversized deli sandwiches, fresh pasta, and all the cheese, wine, and cured meats you'd ever need.

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6. Karl Ratzsch 320 E Mason St, Milwaukee, WI 53202

The location where Karl Ratzsch now dwells has been an old school German beer hall since 1904, and Karl Ratzsch’s hearty, authentic German menu that continues to pay homage to Milwaukee’s heritage. For starters, Karl Ratzsch features savory inventions like Sauerkraut Fritters stuffed with bacon, and crispy Pork Cracklings on pumpernickel. For full on stomach-filling mains, the menu sticks pretty closely to traditional German dishes like Sauerbraten (potato dumplings in a gingersnap gravy), pork Bratwursts, Wienerschnitzel (veal, red cabbage, and parsley), and a gigantic, honey-glazed Goose Shank served over wild rice and pickled red cabbage. As expected, the beer program is just as German with hefeweissens, kölschs, pilsners, and bocks galore.

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7. Red Lion Pub 1850 N Water St, Milwaukee, WI 53202

MKE has exactly 3,472 Irish-themed pubs. That’s why the owners of Red Lion decided to revamp the space that had been an Irish pub into... a British pub! There’s more of a focus on soccer (or footy, for you ex-pats), and the food is slightly more British with things like bangers and mash, Cornish pasties, and donner kebab sandwiches, all of which are great when you’re drinking and/or hungover.

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8. Who's on Third 1007 N Old World 3rd St, Milwaukee, WI 53203

Partially named after the Abbott and Costello routine "Who's on First," this official Bucks sports bar is a casual spot for game day food and drinks. Don't leave without trying their beer-infused cheese curds or Grandma's dip.

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9. Sprecher's Restaurant & Pub 5689 N Bayshore Dr, Glendale, WI 53217

Sprecher's merges German and American cuisine at this relaxed sports bar/restaurant. Menu items include 14 craft Wisconsin beers, four gourmet sodas on tap, and a bratwurst platter that could've came straight from Deutschland.



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