A Hotel Insider on Where to Eat Cheap (and Well) in Milwaukee
Briana Greer of the Pfister also shares recommendations for cocktails and day trips
This is Concierge Confidential, a series in which we learn about a city’s best-kept secrets from people who specialize in exactly that: long-serving concierges from the best hotels in town.
The Pfister Hotel opened in 1893 and remains a Milwaukee gem. With an ornate lobby and huge Victorian art collection, it’s an excellent HQ for exploring the city. As the Pfister’s Chef Concierge (so-called because “chef” is French for head concierge), Briana Greer oversees a team of Milwaukee experts, on hand to give visitors all the inside skinny on everything that the city has to offer. A singer and actress turned professional concierge, Greer spilled all her local secrets.
InsideHook: Where can I get a cup of coffee near the hotel and go for a good walk?
Briana Greer: I would be a terrible employee if I didn’t suggest stopping by the Pfister Café for a cup of coffee and pastries by our pastry team, because you are getting great Starbucks coffee and homemade treats. However, I do love going over to Andiamo Coffee & Tea next to Lupi & Iris. Recently opened in the 777 building on North Van Buren Street, you can sit outside and then take a walk over to the lakeside.
Where do singles hang out?
Haven’t been one of those in a while, but when I do get a chance to go out with my fun, young colleagues it is always in the Third Ward. It has fun bars, great restaurants (Bavette is so good), great rooftops like The Outsider, and more.
How about a restaurant where only locals go?
Amilinda is the place. Chef Greg is a huge supporter of Milwaukee’s growth. He cares so much, and you can always tell by his restaurant and the outreach programs he works with that he is a real part of our community.
Late night spot where I can get into a bit of trouble? (But not too much trouble?)
Bryant’s Cocktail Lounge is the best place for any kind of drink imaginable. Open until 2 a.m. on the weekends, this spot has been around forever. It’s got a cool, speakeasy vibe that truly makes the best signature cocktails. Too good, so that you forget that you mixed and matched and drank more than you should — but so worth it!
Best cheap eats in town?
A great way to find a plethora of choices that are not expensive is to go to the 3rd Street Market Hall on Wisconsin Ave.
Where can I go for the best dessert?
This is tough. There are so many amazing spots for dessert, but I love Buckley’s for everything they make, especially the Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake. Pam Buckley is by far my favorite baker in town.
Best place for a sunset cocktail?
No question about it, Blu Bar & Lounge, The Pfister Hotel’s very own cocktail lounge located on the 23rd floor. It really has a magical view
Where should I go in the area for a day spent outside?
I would head over to the Deer District for some lunch and then hop on a Milwaukee Boat Line Tour. That’s a perfect way to see the architecture of Milwaukee’s buildings while boating along the river, to the lakeside, and back to the river.
Best neighborhood to take a four-hour stroll if I want to get acquainted with a more “authentic” side of the city?
Walker’s Point is truly one of my favorite spots to get lost in. One of the most diverse neighborhoods in Milwaukee, they have some amazing restaurant spots (Morel is a must). Walker’s Point is also known for a very lively and fun nightlife scene
What’s the easiest way to get around town, in terms of transportation?
Milwaukee offers the Hop, which is a free streetcar, a really great way to see some of the areas of Milwaukee. Uber and Lyft are also very reliable and reasonably priced as well.
What’s a lesser-known cultural institution worth visiting?
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Forgotten House is in a quaint area north of Milwaukee called Shorewood. In 2015, the Elizabeth Murphy House made national news as a rare newly rediscovered house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. I love visiting this “forgotten” home, driving along the lakeside and having a picnic on the water. It’s a great Sunday afternoon thing to do.
What’s the best thing you can only get in your city?
Cheese curds. A huge Canadian treat that is now ours, it is known that Wisconsin is the only place to get the best cheese curds in the Midwest.
What’s the best thing you can only do in your city?
What’s something I can say or do to endear myself to locals?
“Up North” refers to northern Wisconsin. We will never be specific, we are always merely going “Up North.”
What’s something that tourists tend to do that really annoys locals?
Take up parking spots! There are approximately 100 parking spots for 500,000+ people in Milwaukee. So when we have extra people visiting, it’s crowded.
What’s an item or activity that tourists tend to get ripped off on? Any tips on how to avoid that?
The only thing that frustrates me about my city is the cab situation. I always suggest Uber or Lyft for my guests who use the apps. Both are very reliable and reasonably priced in Milwaukee.
I’m looking for a low-key brunch. Where to?
Toast! This place is my favorite. I just love the food, drinks and the people. The overstuffed croissant is a must.
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