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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

Explore the Newer Side of Milwaukee


2. Where to Eat

Café at the Plaza's renovation last year restored the original floors and cleaned up the relief panels.  

Eat breakfast at the horseshoe counter facing the open kitchen of Cafe at the Plaza, the classic diner that was renovated last year. The refresh also brought in chef Karen Bell, who owned a California-style eatery in Madrid before returning to her hometown. Dishes incorporate fresh produce from Braise RSA (essentially a CSA for restaurants); try the scrambled eggs with Lake Michigan–caught trout ($8.95).

Head to Honeypie for made-from-scratch Midwestern comfort food like a perfectly flaky chicken-and-biscuit pie ($12) served in a ceramic crock. The two-year-old neighborhood café is vegetarian-friendly—despite the meat-centric grub, in-house butcher, and trio of stuffed deer heads on a wall—with many dishes available in a vegan version using greens from urban farm Sweet Water Organics.

Take farm-to-table dining to the next level at Roots, where the menu showcases root vegetables harvested by chef-owner John Raymond at a plot he leases 25 minutes away (he also runs a hydroponic farm in the basement of his house). If weather permits, enjoy pre-dinner drinks on the patio overlooking the city and its namesake river, then order entrees like the maple-glazed veggies, served with cornbread and local leeks in a sweet potato purée ($20).

Published on Aug 11, 2011 as a web exclusive.

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