Saturday, May 1, 2010

Field Trip: Milwaukee Food Tour - Historic Third Ward

They say that one of the best ways to really get to know a city is to explore it on foot. And even if you've lived in a city like Milwaukee as long as we have, it seems there's always something new to learn!  That's why we were truly excited when Theresa Nemetz, co-owner of Milwaukee Food Tours, invited us to join in on a dinner tour of the Historic Third Ward, Milwaukee’s Arts and Fashion District this weekend.

Home to the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD), the southern portion of the Milwaukee Riverwalk, the Milwaukee Public Market, and over 450 local businesses (including countless restaurants and boutiques), the Third Ward has become one of Milwaukee's most lively destinations.

Our tour was led by one of Milwaukee Food Tour's newest guides, Ms. Hayley Landsman. Originally from Michigan, Hayley fell in love with Milwaukee while attending Marquette University to earn her degree in Communications.  Not only did Hayley do a pretty fantastic job (for her first tour), but she knows a thing or two about the city. In fact, she's taken on the challenge to accomplish all 100 items on the "100 Things to Do in Milwaukee" list.   In fact, she's got us thinking that we need to take a long hard look at that list and see how many more interesting things there are to do in this great city... especially after being surprised by how much we learned on our food tour.

We began at the Milwaukee Public Market, where we started off by sampling a delicious Poblano Corn Chowder from the Soup & Stock Market.  Sweet and smoky (thanks to the addition of one of Peef's favorite ingredients... bacon), the soup laid the foundation for all the other great food to come.
 Satiated by that bowl of delicious soup, we headed off on the first leg of our tour -- down the gorgeous Milwaukee River Walk.  Although I knew that the River Walk extended into the Third Ward, I'd never actually walked a significant portion of it (since I doubt sitting on the patio at Water Buffalo really counts).
 Heh. Speaking of Water Buffalo, we actually stopped there...
 ... where they plied us with more food. A puff pastry crust rolled around a  filling of seasoned chickens and onions, served with a delicious dollop of fresh guacamole...  the chicken roll amounted to far more than the sum of its parts.  We gobbled quite happily as we learned all about efforts local businesses make to maintain the integrity of the architecture of the buildings in the Third Ward -- including when planning the design of their interiors.
We ambled further down the Riverwalk, stopped for a bite of pizza and sampled a bit of locally brewed beer. Then we strolled through Catalano Square (where we learned a bit about the history of the Italian immigrants who inhabited the Ward after the great fire of 1892) before stopping in at another Milwaukee gem, Tulip.

Tour guests were given a bit of time to relax, unwind, and listen to a bit of live Turkish music while feasting on a bite of Turkish flavor -- delicious lamb shish kebabs with tomatoey couscous and fragrant dolmas.
The tour could have stopped right there, and I'd venture a guess that the lot of us would have been quite satisfied.  But, it didn't.  We strolled along Broadway and stopped for a bit of wine and chocolate along the way before heading back to the Market.

Throughout the tour, we had the opportunity to talk with most of the members of our group. It was a social affair -- filled with amusing anecdotes, historical facts, and PLENTY of delicious nibbles. In fact, much to our surprise, it was with full bellies that we bid our adieus to over a dozen of our "new friends" and wandered over to our car to head home -- our heads filled with new information about the city we call home.   In fact, we'd be remiss if we didn't recommend that you add a Food Tour to your itinerary the next time you're in the Milwaukee area. 

SO... If you'd like to find out about the spot where the first slice of pizza was served in Milwaukee... discover why many buildings in Milwaukee have gorgeous Pabst logos engraved in the Cream City brick... or learn the secret behind the name of the Hoan Bridge (I'll give you a hint, it has everything to do with the Blues Brothers), we'd invite you to take a tour and find out.

And be sure to let us know... we might just tag along!

Milwaukee Food Tours
Full Disclosure:  Although we received our tour free of charge (many thanks to Theresa Nemetz!), we were not paid to advertise for Milwaukee Food Tours or any businesses mentioned in this article.  All opinions expressed in this blog entry are our own and are reflective of our experience.

Creative Commons License
©BURP! Where Food Happens


  1. Cool blog about the tour, thanks for showing the great Milwaukee eateries. I'll have to try them when in the city. Looks like it was a beautiful day for the tour.

  2. That looks like fun... and lots of food! Never heard of Tulip, either. Sometimes I think I need to get out of my kitchen! I do most of my walking around the Third Ward during Gallery Nites, but usually don't eat at every stop - this looks like a great thing to do when I have out of town company!

  3. What fun. In my town we do a "wine trail" of all of the local restaurants every spring. Haven't taken advantage yet. You never know what great finds are out there.

  4. Great review, Lo. I'm looking forward to the blogger tour next week. Always wanted to go on an MKE Food Tour, but haven't gotten around to it.


We're thrilled that you came to visit us here at BURP! Thanks so much for taking the time to write. We're not always able to respond to every comment, but we'll make every effort to answer questions in a timely fashion. We especially enjoy reading about what's going on in your own creative kitchens. So, don't be shy!

And thanks for stopping by!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.