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Third Coast Provisions in Milwaukee
Third Coast Provisions in Milwaukee
Kailley Lindman

16 Restaurants & Bars Near Madison and Milwaukee to Visit Now

There's much more than cheese and beer in Wisconsin

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Third Coast Provisions in Milwaukee
| Kailley Lindman

Chicago is arguably the best city in the world come summertime, meaning there's good reason to want to stay put those three months to enjoy every second of it. Still, a little getaway is good for the soul — and, if planned right, surely the appetite. Enter Madison and Milwaukee, two destinations perfect for exploring the Midwest that are brimming with some of the best eats and drinks outside of Chicago's city limits — while still being within just a couple hours of the Windy City. Fuel up the tank for these 16 pit stops, where fueling up the stomach will be a cinch. Listed from Madison to Milwaukee to four other spots in the area.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. L'Etoile

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1 S Pinckney St #207
Madison, WI 53703
(608) 251-0500
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You’ll be hard-pressed to visit Madison and not hear of Tory Miller, the chef who’s behind four of the city’s best restaurants, including Sujeo, Estrellon, and Graze. But it’s this spot that helped him earn a James Beard Award, where a seven-course tasting menu showcases his aptitude for “fine dining Midwestern” fare like squab with chamomile and honeycomb, or local pork belly with apple blossoms and crispy rice.
L'etoile Samantha Egelhoff

2. Gib's Bar

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1380 Williamson St
Madison, WI 53703
If you could take the big city craft cocktail experience and marry it with an epic college town house party, Gib’s would be it. Situated inside a renovated Victorian two-flat, this bar packs in seemingly everything one could ask for on a night out: carefully crafted libations, unbeatable prices, and chilled ramen noodles in to-go boxes upon exit (their parting gift to patrons new and old).
Gib's Bar Roger Barts

3. Sardine

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617 Williamson St
Madison, WI 53703
(608) 441-1600
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Chefs and co-owners John Gadau and Phillip Hurley have been dishing out French bistro fare for more than 10 years — long enough to gain a loyal following in the Williamson Street and Marquette neighborhoods. Kick things off with an aperitivo before hitting favorites like the spit-roasted half chicken or the moules frites with Pernod, fennel, and bay leaf.
Sardine Jarrod Hitt

4. Dough Baby Bakery

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511 State St
Madison, WI 53703
(608) 630-9030
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Kristine Miller opened this downtown-situated doughnut shop out of a quest to take the average baked good and make it dynamite. Her trick? One part organic ingredients and coconut oil, one part Instagram-worthy case displays, and two parts killer combos for fried dough — e.g. a cinnamon toast crunch variation topped with organic cereal or doughnut holes tossed in fresh ginger and cinnamon spice sugar.
Dough Baby Bakery Dough Baby Bakery

5. Tempest Oyster Bar

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120 E Wilson St
Madison, WI 53703
(608) 258-1443
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Seafood lovers are in good hands at this restaurant, where executive chef Henry Doane has created a menu specializing only in fish and shellfish that are sustainably caught or farmed. While you can’t go wrong with plates like Maryland softshell crab or broiled marlin with hazelnut pesto, you could just as easily craft an entire meal out of the restaurant’s oyster lineup, available for just $2 a pop come happy hour.
Tempest Oyster Bar Tempest Oyster Bar

6. Forequarter

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708 E Johnson St
Madison, WI 53703
(608) 609-4717
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Between the likes of mushrooms with black garlic or roasted broccoli with toasted chia and reduced whey, this James Beard-nominated neighborhood spot may be known for its vegetable-heavy menu — but meat lovers, fear not. There’s plenty of charcuterie and expert cuts to go around with the help of Underground Meat and Underground Butcher, the team’s very own meat processing company and butcher shop.
Forequarter Emily Julka

7. Cento

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122 W Mifflin St
Madison, WI 53703
(608) 248-9378
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Old world Italian recipes meet modern techniques at this restaurant, where executive chef Giovanni Novella places a heavy emphasis on local and Mediterranean ingredients for handmade pastas, slow-roasted meats, and wood-fired pizzas. Wine’s a draw here, too — a sommelier team has curated a list of more than 150 bottles, 20 of which are available by the glass.
Cento Cento

8. Goodkind

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2457 S Wentworth Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53207
(414) 763-4706
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This Bay View neighborhood favorite sees its share of regulars, who are bound to find something new to try upon each visit thanks to a daily changing menu featuring hyper fresh and local product. Once you’ve settled into its cozy environs (bedecked in vintage wallpaper and farmhouse-reclaimed tin ceilings), it’s time to think about plates like spicy crab pasta, fennel pollen-brined rotisserie chicken, or leg of lamb, gussied up with lavender and anchovy.
Goodkind Michael Golzer

9. Bartolotta's Lake Park Bistro

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3133 E Newberry Blvd
Milwaukee, WI 53211
(414) 962-6300
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It’s the neighborhood feel, proximity to downtown, and lakeside views that get folks into this East Side institution, which opened its doors more than 20 years ago. Most recently the talent helming the kitchen is executive chef (and James Beard winner) Adam Siegel, who keeps the French classics coming by way onion soup with gruyere cheese, escargot with garlic-parsley butter, and croque monsieur sandwiches filled with ham, cheese, and Dijon mustard.
Lake Park Bistro Lake Park Bistro

10. Ardent

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1751 N Farwell Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53202
(414) 897-7022
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Executive chef Justin Carlisle has yet to take home a James Beard Award, but seeing as he’s been up for Best Chef: Midwest the past three years, he’s doing something very right. Credit that to contemporary American cuisine that’s smartly sourced, such as beef from Carlisle’s father’s farm or a bread service comprised of butter and cheese crafted from the same batch of dairy.
Ardent Huge Galdones

11. Third Coast Provisions

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724 N Milwaukee St
Milwaukee, WI 53202
(414) 323-7434
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This seafood-centric restaurant opened doors just this January, making it one of the newest destinations in the city’s downtown district. Modern takes on fish are the focus here, which chef-owner Andrew Miller reveals in options like fried oyster sliders with pork belly pastrami, or king crab bruschetta with cured trout roe and crème fraiche. Meat gets fair menu play, too, like the hotly ordered steak tartare, complete with bone marrow custard and fried capers.
Third Coast Provisions Kailley Lindman

12. The Kimpton Journeyman Hotel

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310 E Chicago Street
Milwaukee, WI 53202
(888) 536-9008
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Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward neighborhood saw new digs last summer with the arrival of this Kimpton property, where ex-Sable chef Heather Terhune oversees the menus at two restaurants: Mediterranean-meets-contemporary American eatery Tre Rivali, and rooftop hangout The Outsider. Head to the former for super local takes on Italian-inspired go-tos (think olive oil-braised octopus and pork neck ragout pappardelle), and visit the latter for a no-fuss afternoon with friends — pizza delivery and 5,000 square feet of fire pits and daybed lounging await.

13. Braise Restaurant & Culinary School

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1101 S 2nd St
Milwaukee, WI 53204
(414) 212-8843
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When this “roof-to-table” restaurant isn’t feeding the members of its community (and doing it well), it's finding other ways to lend a helping hand. In addition to offering classes and culinary boot camps led by James Beard-nominated chef Dave Swanson and his team, it created the country’s first RSA (restaurant supported agriculture), a system that supports local farmers and purveyors by helping to make seasonal ingredients available to neighboring restaurants.
Braise Braise

14. Whistling Straits Restaurant

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N8501 County Road Ls
Sheboygan, WI 53083
(920) 565-6080
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More than 10 restaurants make up the dining options at Destination Kohler, the AAA Five Diamond, five-star resort, but for a splurge of an evening with views just as over the top, it’s all about Whistling Straits. Take in views of its award-winning golf course environs between an array of Irish- and British-inspired eats — most notably a half-pound Irish cheeseburger with smoked bacon and “Black and Tan” onion rings. Best to show up early for a pre-dinner dram like the mint chocolate brandy negroni, just one of the riffs bartender Peter Kalleward is well-suited to tackle.
Whistling Straights Kohler Co.

15. Mars Cheese Castle

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2800 W Frontage Rd
Kenosha, WI 53144
(262) 859-2244
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Seasoned summer road trippers can spot the sign to this iconic Kenosha stopover from miles away, leading them through its doors for a selection of meats, pies, popcorn, and, of course, copious amounts of cheese. The hour-long drive home only gets better from here on out — so long as you stock up on the basics, from cheese curds and sharp cheddar, to cheese logs and spreads.
Mars Cheese Castle Tim Regan

16. New Glarus Brewing Company

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2400 Wisconsin 69
New Glarus, WI 53574
(608) 527-5850
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Swing by the tasting room at this brewery, which has gained a cult following for its lineup of beers that you can purchase only upon crossing the Wisconsin border. The farmhouse ale Spotted Cow is a surefire crowd-pleaser, but come summer months don’t miss the Totally Naked, a Wisconsin-style lager that’s only available now through August.

1. L'Etoile

1 S Pinckney St #207, Madison, WI 53703
L'etoile Samantha Egelhoff
You’ll be hard-pressed to visit Madison and not hear of Tory Miller, the chef who’s behind four of the city’s best restaurants, including Sujeo, Estrellon, and Graze. But it’s this spot that helped him earn a James Beard Award, where a seven-course tasting menu showcases his aptitude for “fine dining Midwestern” fare like squab with chamomile and honeycomb, or local pork belly with apple blossoms and crispy rice.
1 S Pinckney St #207
Madison, WI 53703

2. Gib's Bar

1380 Williamson St, Madison, WI 53703
Gib's Bar Roger Barts
If you could take the big city craft cocktail experience and marry it with an epic college town house party, Gib’s would be it. Situated inside a renovated Victorian two-flat, this bar packs in seemingly everything one could ask for on a night out: carefully crafted libations, unbeatable prices, and chilled ramen noodles in to-go boxes upon exit (their parting gift to patrons new and old).
1380 Williamson St
Madison, WI 53703

3. Sardine

617 Williamson St, Madison, WI 53703
Sardine Jarrod Hitt
Chefs and co-owners John Gadau and Phillip Hurley have been dishing out French bistro fare for more than 10 years — long enough to gain a loyal following in the Williamson Street and Marquette neighborhoods. Kick things off with an aperitivo before hitting favorites like the spit-roasted half chicken or the moules frites with Pernod, fennel, and bay leaf.
617 Williamson St
Madison, WI 53703

4. Dough Baby Bakery

511 State St, Madison, WI 53703
Dough Baby Bakery Dough Baby Bakery
Kristine Miller opened this downtown-situated doughnut shop out of a quest to take the average baked good and make it dynamite. Her trick? One part organic ingredients and coconut oil, one part Instagram-worthy case displays, and two parts killer combos for fried dough — e.g. a cinnamon toast crunch variation topped with organic cereal or doughnut holes tossed in fresh ginger and cinnamon spice sugar.
511 State St
Madison, WI 53703

5. Tempest Oyster Bar

120 E Wilson St, Madison, WI 53703
Tempest Oyster Bar Tempest Oyster Bar
Seafood lovers are in good hands at this restaurant, where executive chef Henry Doane has created a menu specializing only in fish and shellfish that are sustainably caught or farmed. While you can’t go wrong with plates like Maryland softshell crab or broiled marlin with hazelnut pesto, you could just as easily craft an entire meal out of the restaurant’s oyster lineup, available for just $2 a pop come happy hour.
120 E Wilson St
Madison, WI 53703

6. Forequarter

708 E Johnson St, Madison, WI 53703
Forequarter Emily Julka
Between the likes of mushrooms with black garlic or roasted broccoli with toasted chia and reduced whey, this James Beard-nominated neighborhood spot may be known for its vegetable-heavy menu — but meat lovers, fear not. There’s plenty of charcuterie and expert cuts to go around with the help of Underground Meat and Underground Butcher, the team’s very own meat processing company and butcher shop.
708 E Johnson St
Madison, WI 53703

7. Cento

122 W Mifflin St, Madison, WI 53703
Cento Cento
Old world Italian recipes meet modern techniques at this restaurant, where executive chef Giovanni Novella places a heavy emphasis on local and Mediterranean ingredients for handmade pastas, slow-roasted meats, and wood-fired pizzas. Wine’s a draw here, too — a sommelier team has curated a list of more than 150 bottles, 20 of which are available by the glass.
122 W Mifflin St
Madison, WI 53703

8. Goodkind

2457 S Wentworth Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53207
Goodkind Michael Golzer
This Bay View neighborhood favorite sees its share of regulars, who are bound to find something new to try upon each visit thanks to a daily changing menu featuring hyper fresh and local product. Once you’ve settled into its cozy environs (bedecked in vintage wallpaper and farmhouse-reclaimed tin ceilings), it’s time to think about plates like spicy crab pasta, fennel pollen-brined rotisserie chicken, or leg of lamb, gussied up with lavender and anchovy.
2457 S Wentworth Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53207

9. Bartolotta's Lake Park Bistro

3133 E Newberry Blvd, Milwaukee, WI 53211
Lake Park Bistro Lake Park Bistro
It’s the neighborhood feel, proximity to downtown, and lakeside views that get folks into this East Side institution, which opened its doors more than 20 years ago. Most recently the talent helming the kitchen is executive chef (and James Beard winner) Adam Siegel, who keeps the French classics coming by way onion soup with gruyere cheese, escargot with garlic-parsley butter, and croque monsieur sandwiches filled with ham, cheese, and Dijon mustard.
3133 E Newberry Blvd
Milwaukee, WI 53211

10. Ardent

1751 N Farwell Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53202
Ardent Huge Galdones
Executive chef Justin Carlisle has yet to take home a James Beard Award, but seeing as he’s been up for Best Chef: Midwest the past three years, he’s doing something very right. Credit that to contemporary American cuisine that’s smartly sourced, such as beef from Carlisle’s father’s farm or a bread service comprised of butter and cheese crafted from the same batch of dairy.
1751 N Farwell Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53202

11. Third Coast Provisions

724 N Milwaukee St, Milwaukee, WI 53202
Third Coast Provisions Kailley Lindman
This seafood-centric restaurant opened doors just this January, making it one of the newest destinations in the city’s downtown district. Modern takes on fish are the focus here, which chef-owner Andrew Miller reveals in options like fried oyster sliders with pork belly pastrami, or king crab bruschetta with cured trout roe and crème fraiche. Meat gets fair menu play, too, like the hotly ordered steak tartare, complete with bone marrow custard and fried capers.
724 N Milwaukee St
Milwaukee, WI 53202

12. The Kimpton Journeyman Hotel

310 E Chicago Street, Milwaukee, WI 53202
Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward neighborhood saw new digs last summer with the arrival of this Kimpton property, where ex-Sable chef Heather Terhune oversees the menus at two restaurants: Mediterranean-meets-contemporary American eatery Tre Rivali, and rooftop hangout The Outsider. Head to the former for super local takes on Italian-inspired go-tos (think olive oil-braised octopus and pork neck ragout pappardelle), and visit the latter for a no-fuss afternoon with friends — pizza delivery and 5,000 square feet of fire pits and daybed lounging await.
310 E Chicago Street
Milwaukee, WI 53202

13. Braise Restaurant & Culinary School

1101 S 2nd St, Milwaukee, WI 53204
Braise Braise
When this “roof-to-table” restaurant isn’t feeding the members of its community (and doing it well), it's finding other ways to lend a helping hand. In addition to offering classes and culinary boot camps led by James Beard-nominated chef Dave Swanson and his team, it created the country’s first RSA (restaurant supported agriculture), a system that supports local farmers and purveyors by helping to make seasonal ingredients available to neighboring restaurants.
1101 S 2nd St
Milwaukee, WI 53204

14. Whistling Straits Restaurant

N8501 County Road Ls, Sheboygan, WI 53083
Whistling Straights Kohler Co.
More than 10 restaurants make up the dining options at Destination Kohler, the AAA Five Diamond, five-star resort, but for a splurge of an evening with views just as over the top, it’s all about Whistling Straits. Take in views of its award-winning golf course environs between an array of Irish- and British-inspired eats — most notably a half-pound Irish cheeseburger with smoked bacon and “Black and Tan” onion rings. Best to show up early for a pre-dinner dram like the mint chocolate brandy negroni, just one of the riffs bartender Peter Kalleward is well-suited to tackle.
N8501 County Road Ls
Sheboygan, WI 53083

15. Mars Cheese Castle

2800 W Frontage Rd, Kenosha, WI 53144
Mars Cheese Castle Tim Regan
Seasoned summer road trippers can spot the sign to this iconic Kenosha stopover from miles away, leading them through its doors for a selection of meats, pies, popcorn, and, of course, copious amounts of cheese. The hour-long drive home only gets better from here on out — so long as you stock up on the basics, from cheese curds and sharp cheddar, to cheese logs and spreads.
2800 W Frontage Rd
Kenosha, WI 53144

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16. New Glarus Brewing Company

2400 Wisconsin 69, New Glarus, WI 53574
Swing by the tasting room at this brewery, which has gained a cult following for its lineup of beers that you can purchase only upon crossing the Wisconsin border. The farmhouse ale Spotted Cow is a surefire crowd-pleaser, but come summer months don’t miss the Totally Naked, a Wisconsin-style lager that’s only available now through August.
2400 Wisconsin 69
New Glarus, WI 53574

Related Maps