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A skyline in Milwaukee with water and rocks.
Milwaukee has plenty of quality restaurants worth a trip for Chicagoans.
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Wisconsin’s Top Road Trip Food Destinations Along Lake Michigan

Where to eat while traveling to Milwaukee, Kenosha, or Racine

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Milwaukee has plenty of quality restaurants worth a trip for Chicagoans.
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The drive up Lake Michigan on the Wisconsin side offers lots of options for families, couples, and groups of friends looking for fun. Chicagoans can find plenty to do in the form of museums, festivals, golfing, and even some surfing. The combination of woods and water makes this area one of the Midwest’s best playgrounds. Visitors can choose from a variety of places to explore, and each town offers something different, whether it’s the quaint fishing village of Port Washington or the historic city of Milwaukee. There’s lots to love about our neighbor to the north — just not their professional football team.

Studies indicate that there is a lower exposure risk when outdoors, but the level of risk involved with patio dining is contingent on restaurants following strict social distancing and other safety guidelines. The latest CDC guidance for vaccinated diners during the COVID-19 outbreak is here; dining out still carries risks for unvaccinated diners and workers.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Joe Rouer's Bar

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E1098 Co Rd X
Luxemburg, WI 54217
(920) 866-2585
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Wisconsin is one of the country’s great burger bastions and you’ll find one of the state’s best at this old time bar in the unincorporated town of Duvall (25 miles northeast of Green Bay). The bar’s namesake opened the place in 1952 and he used a cast iron skillet to cook burgers. Although the original building was destroyed in a fire both the burger press and the pans were saved and are still used today by Joe Rouer’s grandson who now runs the place. 1/3 lb balls of locally butchered beef are pressed in the skillet and cooked in a combination of their own fat plus onions and a little bit of water which makes for a magical flavor enhancing sauce they call “burger gravy.” 

2. Lorelei Inn

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1412 Webster Ave
Green Bay, WI 54301
(920) 432-5921
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Experience one of the state’s great German restaurants and make sure you go hungry when you do. Loreilei Inn is known around town for hulking plates of German-American food, cold beer from both Germany and Wisconsin, live music, as well as alleged paranormal activity. The bar also hosts an annual Oktoberfest every year that draws up to 3,000 people who gather in large tents for a weekend of German food and beer with polka music, and dancing.

3. Charcoal Inn North

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1637 Geele Ave
Sheboygan, WI 53083
(920) 458-1147
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There’s lots of spots to enjoy a brat in the “Bratwurst Capital of the World” and Charcoal Inn has been a local favorite since 1984. Get a true taste of Sheboygan by trying one of the regionally loved brat burgers. The iconic local butcher Miesfeld’s supplies restaurants in the area with its grand champion bratwurst recipe (100 percent pork) in hamburger patty form. Charcoal Inn grills them over live charcoal and serves them on another local specialty called a hard roll. Center-split Semmel rolls are toasted and then dressed with pickles, mustard, onions, and butter. 

4. Il Ritrovo

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515 S 8th St
Sheboygan, WI 53081
(920) 803-7516
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Enjoy authentic Neapolitan pizza inside this VPN-certified specialty Italian grocery store and restaurant located in Downtown Sheboygan. 

5. 5XEN Marketplace

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6300 N 76th St
Milwaukee, WI 53218
(414) 797-4041
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Milwaukee has a sizable Hmong community and this multi-use commercial space hosts a variety of Hmong owned businesses including a grocer and a food court. Choose from several stands serving Hmong comfort foods like papaya salad Hmong sausage, and pho. Don’t miss the stuffed chicken wings which are a popular snack made by deboning a wing and stuffing it with pork and vermicelli noodles before a trip to the grill.

6. Kopp's Frozen Custard

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5373 N Port Washington Rd
Glendale, WI 53217
(414) 961-3288
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Wisconsin loves its local custard stands and Kopp’s is one of the state’s most beloved. It’s often the first place that people who move from Milwaukee will visit upon returning home. Generations of fans can’t get enough of their thick creamy custard which pairs perfectly with one of their old fashioned cheeseburgers. There are three Kopp’s locations.

7. Riley's Sandwich Co.

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4473 N Oakland Ave
Shorewood, WI 53211
(414) 616-1811
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Lovers of both sandwiches and dogs will not want to miss this pup-friendly shop slanging some serious sandwiches. Jessica Ludwig is a life-time lover of dogs who also enjoys sandwiches. So she opened a place where people could hang out with their dogs and eat an amazing sandwich while doing so. Sous vide beef tenderloin is the shop’s biggest seller and it’s offered a variety of ways. The steak Kensington features medium rare sous vide beef tenderloin, horseradish spread, mushroom, onion, and cheese on a perfectly paired locally baked roll. 

8. Sherman Phoenix

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3536 W Fond Du Lac Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53216
(262) 228-6021
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This multi-use space was built as a catalyst for neighborhood unity in the city’s Sherman Park neighborhood. The complex is home to 27 small businesses and most are Black owned. Food options include artisan ice cream at Purple Door Ice Cream, Buffalo wings via Brooklyn at Buffalo Boss, and fresh spring rolls from Funky Fresh Spring Rolls. 

9. McBob's Pub & Grill

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4919 W North Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53208
(414) 871-5050
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Two things Milwaukee does really well — bars and corned beef. The two come together at this landmark tavern known for tender hand-carved corned beef piled high on rye.

10. Ardent

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1751 N Farwell Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53202
(414) 897-7022
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Justin Carlisle has established himself as one of Milwaukee’s top culinary ambassadors. The James Beard-nominated chef offers up one of the Midwest’s best tasting menus featuring seasonal produce and locally raised meat in an extremely intimate setting. Carlisle’s family farm often supplies the restaurant with beef and other high-quality ingredients which make for a memorable experience when paired with the world-class service. 

11. Wells Brothers Restaurant

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2148 Mead St
Mt Pleasant, WI 53403
(262) 632-4408
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The Southeast Wisconsin area has a large collection of established pizzerias but none are as old as this one which celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2021. This pizza was introduced sometime after World War II when relatives of Jim and Dominic Wells moved up from Chicago and brought a pizza recipe with them. One could make the case that the extra thin tavern-style pizza with a cornmeal dusted bottom served here is as good as anywhere in Chicago. 

12. SapSap

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2343 Mead St
Mt Pleasant, WI 53403
(262) 456-0556
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Owner Alex Hanesakda and team have been popping up in the Southeast Wisconsin area for several years. They’ve built a loyal following dishing out delicious dishes inspired by Alex’s Laotian-American heritage. This new brick & mortar location will feature a full menu of food and a Lao-inspired beer brewed locally with sticky rice. 

13. Franks Diner

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508 58th St
Kenosha, WI 53140
(262) 657-1017
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Start your day with breakfast in an old railcar at this landmark diner. Frank’s is said to be the country’s oldest continuously operating diner and it also claims to be home of garbage plate. While people in Rochester, N.Y. may disagree, Frank’s takes a different approach to the “throw it all on a plate and serve it” practice. At Frank’s a garbage plate consists of three eggs (Half Plate) or five eggs (Full Plate) mixed into a combination of hash browns, green peppers, and onions. You choose both your meat and cheese and it all comes with a couple slices of their famous homemade toast. 

14. The Spot Drive-In

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2117 75th St
Kenosha, WI 53143
(262) 654-9294
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Kenosha still has a thriving old time drive-in culture and the Spot is the longest tenured of them all. Locals have flocked here for cheeseburgers, onion rings, and root beer since 1945. The burgers are served smashed and loosely packed with a nice crispness around the edges and both the onion rings and root beer are made in-house.

1. Joe Rouer's Bar

E1098 Co Rd X, Luxemburg, WI 54217

Wisconsin is one of the country’s great burger bastions and you’ll find one of the state’s best at this old time bar in the unincorporated town of Duvall (25 miles northeast of Green Bay). The bar’s namesake opened the place in 1952 and he used a cast iron skillet to cook burgers. Although the original building was destroyed in a fire both the burger press and the pans were saved and are still used today by Joe Rouer’s grandson who now runs the place. 1/3 lb balls of locally butchered beef are pressed in the skillet and cooked in a combination of their own fat plus onions and a little bit of water which makes for a magical flavor enhancing sauce they call “burger gravy.” 

E1098 Co Rd X
Luxemburg, WI 54217

2. Lorelei Inn

1412 Webster Ave, Green Bay, WI 54301

Experience one of the state’s great German restaurants and make sure you go hungry when you do. Loreilei Inn is known around town for hulking plates of German-American food, cold beer from both Germany and Wisconsin, live music, as well as alleged paranormal activity. The bar also hosts an annual Oktoberfest every year that draws up to 3,000 people who gather in large tents for a weekend of German food and beer with polka music, and dancing.

1412 Webster Ave
Green Bay, WI 54301

3. Charcoal Inn North

1637 Geele Ave, Sheboygan, WI 53083

There’s lots of spots to enjoy a brat in the “Bratwurst Capital of the World” and Charcoal Inn has been a local favorite since 1984. Get a true taste of Sheboygan by trying one of the regionally loved brat burgers. The iconic local butcher Miesfeld’s supplies restaurants in the area with its grand champion bratwurst recipe (100 percent pork) in hamburger patty form. Charcoal Inn grills them over live charcoal and serves them on another local specialty called a hard roll. Center-split Semmel rolls are toasted and then dressed with pickles, mustard, onions, and butter. 

1637 Geele Ave
Sheboygan, WI 53083

4. Il Ritrovo

515 S 8th St, Sheboygan, WI 53081

Enjoy authentic Neapolitan pizza inside this VPN-certified specialty Italian grocery store and restaurant located in Downtown Sheboygan. 

515 S 8th St
Sheboygan, WI 53081

5. 5XEN Marketplace

6300 N 76th St, Milwaukee, WI 53218

Milwaukee has a sizable Hmong community and this multi-use commercial space hosts a variety of Hmong owned businesses including a grocer and a food court. Choose from several stands serving Hmong comfort foods like papaya salad Hmong sausage, and pho. Don’t miss the stuffed chicken wings which are a popular snack made by deboning a wing and stuffing it with pork and vermicelli noodles before a trip to the grill.

6300 N 76th St
Milwaukee, WI 53218

6. Kopp's Frozen Custard

5373 N Port Washington Rd, Glendale, WI 53217

Wisconsin loves its local custard stands and Kopp’s is one of the state’s most beloved. It’s often the first place that people who move from Milwaukee will visit upon returning home. Generations of fans can’t get enough of their thick creamy custard which pairs perfectly with one of their old fashioned cheeseburgers. There are three Kopp’s locations.

5373 N Port Washington Rd
Glendale, WI 53217

7. Riley's Sandwich Co.

4473 N Oakland Ave, Shorewood, WI 53211

Lovers of both sandwiches and dogs will not want to miss this pup-friendly shop slanging some serious sandwiches. Jessica Ludwig is a life-time lover of dogs who also enjoys sandwiches. So she opened a place where people could hang out with their dogs and eat an amazing sandwich while doing so. Sous vide beef tenderloin is the shop’s biggest seller and it’s offered a variety of ways. The steak Kensington features medium rare sous vide beef tenderloin, horseradish spread, mushroom, onion, and cheese on a perfectly paired locally baked roll. 

4473 N Oakland Ave
Shorewood, WI 53211

8. Sherman Phoenix

3536 W Fond Du Lac Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53216

This multi-use space was built as a catalyst for neighborhood unity in the city’s Sherman Park neighborhood. The complex is home to 27 small businesses and most are Black owned. Food options include artisan ice cream at Purple Door Ice Cream, Buffalo wings via Brooklyn at Buffalo Boss, and fresh spring rolls from Funky Fresh Spring Rolls. 

3536 W Fond Du Lac Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53216

9. McBob's Pub & Grill

4919 W North Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53208

Two things Milwaukee does really well — bars and corned beef. The two come together at this landmark tavern known for tender hand-carved corned beef piled high on rye.

4919 W North Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53208

10. Ardent

1751 N Farwell Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53202

Justin Carlisle has established himself as one of Milwaukee’s top culinary ambassadors. The James Beard-nominated chef offers up one of the Midwest’s best tasting menus featuring seasonal produce and locally raised meat in an extremely intimate setting. Carlisle’s family farm often supplies the restaurant with beef and other high-quality ingredients which make for a memorable experience when paired with the world-class service. 

1751 N Farwell Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53202

11. Wells Brothers Restaurant

2148 Mead St, Mt Pleasant, WI 53403

The Southeast Wisconsin area has a large collection of established pizzerias but none are as old as this one which celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2021. This pizza was introduced sometime after World War II when relatives of Jim and Dominic Wells moved up from Chicago and brought a pizza recipe with them. One could make the case that the extra thin tavern-style pizza with a cornmeal dusted bottom served here is as good as anywhere in Chicago. 

2148 Mead St
Mt Pleasant, WI 53403

12. SapSap

2343 Mead St, Mt Pleasant, WI 53403

Owner Alex Hanesakda and team have been popping up in the Southeast Wisconsin area for several years. They’ve built a loyal following dishing out delicious dishes inspired by Alex’s Laotian-American heritage. This new brick & mortar location will feature a full menu of food and a Lao-inspired beer brewed locally with sticky rice. 

2343 Mead St
Mt Pleasant, WI 53403

13. Franks Diner

508 58th St, Kenosha, WI 53140

Start your day with breakfast in an old railcar at this landmark diner. Frank’s is said to be the country’s oldest continuously operating diner and it also claims to be home of garbage plate. While people in Rochester, N.Y. may disagree, Frank’s takes a different approach to the “throw it all on a plate and serve it” practice. At Frank’s a garbage plate consists of three eggs (Half Plate) or five eggs (Full Plate) mixed into a combination of hash browns, green peppers, and onions. You choose both your meat and cheese and it all comes with a couple slices of their famous homemade toast. 

508 58th St
Kenosha, WI 53140

14. The Spot Drive-In

2117 75th St, Kenosha, WI 53143

Kenosha still has a thriving old time drive-in culture and the Spot is the longest tenured of them all. Locals have flocked here for cheeseburgers, onion rings, and root beer since 1945. The burgers are served smashed and loosely packed with a nice crispness around the edges and both the onion rings and root beer are made in-house.

2117 75th St
Kenosha, WI 53143

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