A few weeks ago, a person on Instagram reached out to me and asked for a Milwaukee food recommendation. (Our random connection is an interesting story—we met online and have never met in person, though we both have roots in the Gunnison valley.) She was looking for a quick and casual meal, suitable for her son’s entire hockey team between travels.
Let’s just say, the pressure was on. This was it, this was what I’ve been waiting for: the penultimate test after months of training, sampling as many local MKE restaurants as possible. Casual dining? That’s my brand, baby.
Below are the recommendations I sent her way. Consider them useful for anyone grabbing a meal in Milwaukee (bonus if you’ve also got a gaggle of teenagers in tow): these are my go-to restaurants for quick, easy, and casual meals in MKE.
A casual Mexican meal—great margaritas, delicious food, the most charming ambiance. (Note: I swoon over their décor every time.) Plus, vegan options!
2394 S Kinnickinnic Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53207
One of my tried and true favorites: they have the best cheese curds (yeah, the best) and their La Gosa Rita beer is my favorite (I got it the first time and have never ordered anything else since. I’m obsessed.). Lakefront is very speedy with their food orders and have dining hall-style seating to accommodate larger groups, if you can find an empty table.
1872 N Commerce St, Milwaukee, WI 53212
Flour Girl & Flame Pizza
What started as an IG collaboration has led to one of my favorite pizza places: Flour Girl & Flame is a delicious spot in West Allis that has gourmet pizza, vegan and gluten free options, and a vibe you can’t help but love. Plus, they’re woman-owned and members of the LGBTQ community. Be sure to plan ahead, because there’s limited seating and they have limited hours (4-8 p.m. Wed-Sun). They have pick up available in addition to dine-in.
I wrote a full post about them here, but check them out to see for yourselves.
8121 W National Ave, West Allis, WI 53214
Both the 3rd Street Market Hall and the Milwaukee Public Market have a bunch of different vendors with counter service food options. It makes it easy to pick and choose different styles and grab something to go. The Public Market caters to more of a morning/lunch crowd, while 3rd Street is definitely a dinner and night scene.
Note: this is what the hockey group ended up doing and they LOVED it! The Third Street Market Hall checked all of their boxes and everyone left satisfied.
275 W Wisconsin Ave Suite 100, Milwaukee, WI 53203
400 N Water St, Milwaukee, WI 53202
A fantastic space for big groups in a casual setting, The Mecca is located in the Deer District. It has elite game-watching vibes, complete with a giant screen behind the bar, and a simplified comfort food menu.
1134 Vel R. Phillips Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53203
AJ Bombers has classic burgers and curds and a peanut chute and people really love it. Elevated bar vibes.
1247 N Water St, Milwaukee, WI 53202
Have any other suggestions? Let me know!