Milwaukee Recap- Day 1

a map of a city

We got home from our trip to Milwaukee a couple of days ago and I’m still trying to catch up on sleep. Our return flight was delayed over two hours. This messed us up and put Lucas’ sleep schedule a bit out of whack.

Our first day in Milwaukee was filled with food and drink related stops. Milwaukee is known for it’s beer history so we started our day with a brewery tour. During the rest of our day we visited a market and tried some local foods.

Here is a list of some of the things we did:

  • Visit to Miller Valley to tour the Miller Brewery
  • Tried out “Milwaukee style pizza at Zaffiro’s
  • Checked out the Milwaukee Public Market & Historic Third Ward
  • Dinner at Solly’s Grille
  • Had awesome custard at Kopp’s Frozen Custard
a building with many windows

Milwaukee has been known as the beer capital of the world so we figured it was best to start our visit with a brewery tour. There were a few options nearby but we decided to go with a visit to one of the oldest active breweries in the United States.

We arrived at the Miller Brewery around 10:30 in the morning. It was very busy so we had to wait about an hour for our (free) tour. The tour started with a short video highlighting the brewery’s 150+ year history. We then visited the bottling area which was huge. I believe it’s the second largest in the United States. We walked down the block to visit the brewing facility before getting to see the beer caves- my favorite part of the tour.

The tour ended with a tasting of three Miller beers. I wasn’t a fan of the beers but the tour was well worth taking.

a pizza on a plate
Before leaving on our trip, I contacted Scott of Scott’s Pizza Tours to see if there were any Milwaukee pizzerias worth trying out. He put me in touch with the friendly couple behind Milwaukee Food Tours. I soon learned that Milwaukee had it’s own style of pizza. The local pizza is almost cracker thin and cut in squares. This was definitely something that I had to try.
Theresa and Wade (Milwaukee Food Tours) invited us to meet up for lunch at Zaffiro’s Pizza which has been around since 1956.
When we arrived, we had a nice conversation about food and travel. Theresa and Wade told us all about the pizza and then we dug in. Kim, Lucas and I all really enjoyed the pizza. The sauce had great flavor and the crust really stood out- it was super thin. We felt that the pizza seemed more like a snack than a meal though. (Zaffiro’s had a full menu but we just ordered 2 pies.) The cracker thin crust made it easy to pick up and due to the small, square cuts, I’d call Milwaukee pizza a great social pie. No fork and knife or folding in half required.
a sign on the side of a building

The Milwaukee Public Market was a nice place to stop for a visit. If we were planning to eat, we could have spent a lot of time there. Vendors sell local products like produce, cheese, meats and breads. There were also some stands where you could order prepared foods. We only purchased a few chocolates but if we were hungry this definitely would’ve been a good option to try out.

a burger on a plate

For dinner I had to try out an odd burger found in Milwaukee that I heard about from burger expert George Motz on his Travel Channel show Burger Land.

Solly’s Grille was founded in 1936 and is famous for it’s butter burger- A burger made with “juicy sirloin, Wisconsin butter and stewed onions”.

I got my butter burger with cheese and wasn’t too impressed. For starters, the burger is very thin and the bun is nothing special. Butter is added after the burger is cooked so it starts melting right away. The first bite tasted OK, just like an extremely salty burger. By the time I was done with the first half, I thought I might have a heart attack! Well maybe it wasn’t that bad but you get the idea.

a person holding a cup of ice cream

Kopp’s Frozen Custard has been serving it’s tasty treats since 1950. When we arrived the shop was very busy, luckily the lines moved fast. We ordered a small with half vanilla, half chocolate. The custard was really creamy and loaded with flavor. I’d definitely recommend stopping at Kopp’s if you visit Milwaukee. Lucas really loved the custard too.

These are some of the things we did on our first day in Milwaukee. Check back to find out about the rest of our trip soon.

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