CHAMPCAR/CART: Where to eat in Milwaukee

- by Kika Butch's Old Casino Steak House 555 N. James Lovell St. (7th and Michigan) (414) 271-8111 Hours: Mon.-Thurs., 5-10 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 5-11p.m. I keep going to this restaurant, for meat lovers - this is something special. While people...

- by Kika

Butch's Old Casino Steak House
555 N. James Lovell St. (7th and Michigan)
(414) 271-8111 Hours: Mon.-Thurs., 5-10 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 5-11p.m.
I keep going to this restaurant, for meat lovers - this is something special. While people argue where to get the city's best steak, Butch's Old Casino always remains near the top of the list. Chef/owner Butch Schettle is the master of the grill. Armed with a cadre of cast iron skillets, pounds of fresh mushrooms and an ocean of melted Wisconsin butter, the man is serious when it comes to putting a great steak on the plate. T-bones, Porterhouse and Rib Eye are all massive, but the 20-oz. Steer Tenderloin is the biggest steak we've ever seen. There are other choices. The Mixed Grill contains an incredible pile of meat. A 10-oz. lamb chop, a 10-oz. veal chop and a 10-oz. pork chop all fit their way onto the plate. The South American shrimp are the size of small lobster, and the Chicken Casino is a half of disjointed chicken. The bottom line -- don't even think of dessert It's a former disco turned steakhouse. Dual level dining room with padded booths and a few antique slot machines sprinkled throughout provide a perfect setting to carve up one of the best steaks in town.

Mo's -- A Place For Steaks
720 N. Plankinton Ave.
This place is recommended by Mario Andretti. It's the 1940s with a contemporary spin -- Sinatra, cocktails shaken (not stirred) and steaks as big as your house. Owner Johnny Vassallo has brought a touch of class to downtown Milwaukee with his brand new steakhouse. Vasallo tells us it's a Chicago-style steakhouse where platters full of huge, aged steaks are delivered to the table, from the bone in rib eye to a Sicilian style veal chop the size of Wisconsin to a porterhouse that fills the plate, Chef Michael Koenig and his hard working crew know how to put the heat to the meat. Somehow save room for dessert. The chocolate truffle cake and the strawberry shortcake are even better than Grandma used to make. We're happy to add Mo's to the short list of great steaks in Milwaukee -- joining ranks with Coerper's Five O'Clock Club, Butch's Old Casino, Eddie Martini's and Vinifera. Welcome Mo's! Open Monday -Saturday 5 - 11 p.m. Moderate to expensive. Wheelchair accessible.

Mader's Restaurant
1037 North Old World Third Street Milwaukee, WI 53203 US
(414) 271-3377 Executive Chef: Craig Wolf
Dress Code: Casual Dress Entertainment: There is a German brass duo every Saturday night. Parking: Valet
I didn't have a chance to go there last year, hopefully I can make it this time. Voted Milwaukee's favorite ethnic restaurant, Mader's serves German dishes and Continental specialties. Brief Description: Welcome to Mader's restaurant, one of America's most unique German restaurants since 1902. Enjoy the authentic cuisine, medieval armour and collectibles galleries. Looking to put a little 'oomph' in your oom-pa-pa? Well, then, Mader's is the place for fine German fare! Step into the lofty, Bavarian restaurant and find yourself in a joint Beowulf might call home. Walls covered by enormous steins, ax-hewn rafters, stag horns and coats of arms,set the stage for a meal of wiener schnitzel and knockwurst, the house favorites. Traditional standbys, such as chicken Kiev and prime rib, are also available. Getting full, yet? Wash it all down with an import lager, dark as the Black Forest, and you'd swear you were at Oktoberfest, minus the liederhosen.--David Roberts Hours of Operation: Lunch: Monday - Saturday: 11:30am - 4:00pm; Dinner: Monday - Thursday: 4:00pm - 9:00pm, Friday - Saturday: 4:00pm - 10:00pm; Sunday: 10:30am - 9:00pm; Sunday Brunch: 10:30am - 2:00pm

Bartolotta Ristorante
7616 W State Street
Wauwatosa, WI 53213
414 771 7910
Authentic Italian in Wauwatosa. For the last 2 years, I've been going there with Gil, he like's the place and is close to the track. On a quaint street in the village of Wauwatosa, five minutes by car from downtown, this place is known for its rustic Italian cuisine, especially fresh fish. Have your choice of sumptuous fresh pasta dishes and entrees, with zingy sauces and lighter seasonal fare. Even traditional favorites acquire a new aura in this kitchen -- possibly because Bartolotta prepares food with more authenticity than many Italian restaurants in the Midwest. Somehow, the cost of all this good food remains down-to-earth. I found limited choices on the menu, limited parking, and limited elbow room. What was wasn't limited was the decibel level. AE, D, DC, MC, V. No lunch weekends

Caterina's Italian Ristorante
9104 S. Oklahoma Ave.
Hours: Mon-Thurs: 11 a.m. - 11 p.m. Fri-Sat: 11 a.m. - 12 p.m. Sunday: 4 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Don't let the size of this tiny little south side restaurant fool you. After nearly two decades, these people know what they are doing. Once inside this charming cafe the Ingrilli family will work its magic and do its best to transfer you directly into the heart of Italy. Cozy, romantic booths offer a retreat from the busy dining room action which is, at times, brisk as huge platters of food are served in abundance. Typical South side family clientele. After 20 years Caterina's has become a popular spot for friends, families and those in quest of a little romance. Food: The star of the show. Both Northern and Southern style dishes are served almost by the pound. The Shrimp Linguini , Grilled Swordfish, Pork Chops Calabrese and monsterous lambchops with fresh mint all show the diversity of the expansive menu and portions are large enough that a doggie bag will follow you home. Toss in a complimentary antipasto platter, a just out-of- the-oven loaf of bread, soup, and salad make dinner at Caterina's one of the best values in town. Prices are moderate to expensive.

Coerper's 5 O'Clock Club
2416 W. State St.
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 5-10 p.m.
It's a lottery of good taste as each Tuesday afternoon the phone lines light up as callers scramble to secure one of the hottest tables in town and get a chance to put a knife and fork on a table size steak of which legends are made. Little has changed at Milwaukee's oldest steak house since they opened their doors well over 50 years ago. It's reservations only, and those fortunate to have one will encounter the same active bar where cocktails and conversation have flowed for generations. It is here owner Ted continues the tradition of his late father and greets you, takes your drink order and allows the kitchen top get to work on your food before you are summoned to your table. Decor: 1950s steakhouse, plain and simple. Dark woodwork sets the tone, and the dining room rocks each night. It's nonstop action from start to finish and the dining room is a constant blur of activity. People come here to eat, overeat and eat some more. Food: Ah, did someone say steaks? That's what brings them in and keeps them coming back for more. Monster-sized and high quality, they serve as a foundation for one of the most unusual dining experiences in the city. At Coerper's, size does indeed count, and it affects performance, too. It's extra large everything. From the gigantic bowl of fresh greens and relish tray, to the loaf of sour dough bread, to the one pound baked potatoes to the charbroiled steaks (so heavy that they are wheeled to the table). Nobody leaves here hungry. Meat choices include a huge tenderloin, T-bone and porterhouse. But steer yourself to the New York strip, a fork tender beauty that is simply one great piece of meat. After 50 years of business, Coerper's has developed a loyal clientele of all shapes and sizes. Young and old, dressed and casual, these folks are here to eat and take no prisoners. Price: Expensive. Drinks: A full bar and slim wine list. This is a cocktail lounge of the '50s, and martinis and Manhattans are the rule of the day.

Balistreri's Italian/American Ristorante
812 N. 68th St.
Milwaukee, WI 53213
A local fixture for 30 years, this spot is famous for pizza but offers an extensive selection of appetizers, sandwiches, sides, pastas, seafood entrées, "Old Italian Favorites" and, of course, pizza. "Something to Nibble On" options include breaded calamari rings and fried clam strips. Weekdays feature luncheon specials like Sicilian-style steak and lasagna. An Italian sausage sandwich is offered alongside corned beef on rye and egg salad. No surprises with the dinner entrées: mostaccioli with plain sauce can be ordered with meatballs or meat sauce and chicken Parmesan comes with a side of spaghetti. Seafood lovers can choose from options like breaded lake perch and fried shrimp. Pizzas (three sizes) are prepared with a range of familiar toppings such as pepperoni, anchovies, sausage and mushrooms in any combination. Finish in a traditional vein with cannoli, spumoni or the homemade cherry torte.

Calderone Club
842 N. Old World Third St.
Milwaukee, WI 53203 (Downtown / Italian)
414) 273-3236
This place it's open till late, late, late. I found the place because everything else was closed. Gino is friendly and loves racing. Calderone Club has been serving Milwaukee wonderful Italian food for more than 30 years. This bistro-style dining experience, located across the street from the Hyatt Regency-Milwaukee, serves hand-made pasta, pizza (thin crust and one of the best in town), seafood, and daily specials. Enjoy microbrews, imports, or a glass from Gino's wine list. Take out is available too. Hours: Lunch Daily: 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Dinner: Sun-Thur: 4:00 p.m.-1:30 a.m. Fri-Sat: 4:00 p.m.-2:00 a.m.; Fri: fish fry.

Eddie Martini's
8612 Watertown Plank Road
Wauwatosa, WI 53226
(414) 771-6680 Fax: (414) 771-5034
Steaks. Cigars. Martinis.
They are not located across the street from a hospital for nothing. 1999 Reader's Choice Awards: Best Steak, Best Business Lunch, Greatest Waitstaff. More Info: Expertly prepared to-order steaks, chops, poultry and seafood. Imagine the restaurants you've seen in movies of the 1940's: waiters in white jackets and black ties, bartenders shaking martinis, art deco accouterments, rich raised-panel woodwork. That's eddie martini's. It's a supper club, it's a steakhouse. It's a place to relax, enjoy good food and be catered to. Directions: From all directions:Take Hwy. 45 north (or south from north side of Milwaukee area) to the Watertown Plank Rd. exit. Go east on Watertown Plank Rd. Eddie's is on the north side of the road, across from the medical complex.

747 N. Broadway St., Milwaukee, WI, USA
Contemporary, Eclectic Imaginative dishes such as tenderloin of veal with raspberry sauce combine French classics with Asian or Indian flavors and are served in the dining room and handsome, darkly furnished piano bar. Jacket required. AE, D, DC, MC, V. Closed Sun. No lunch Sat.

6030 W. North Ave., Wauwatosa, WI, USA
(414)771-0550 Wauwatosa, Brookfield American/Casual, Continental
There are two suburban locations for this longtime Milwaukee favorite that earned its reputation with perfectly prepared steaks and heaps of french-fried onion rings. Not to be missed are the fresh fish selections, escargot, roast duckling, and Bailey's chocolate-chip cheesecake. AE, DC, MC, V. No lunch.

Karl Ratzsch's Old World Restaurant
320 E. Mason St., Milwaukee, WI, USA
German In the authentic German atmosphere of this family-owned restaurant, dirndl-clad waitresses serve schnitzel, roast duckling, and sauerbraten. The main dining room is decked out with murals, chandeliers made from antlers, and antique beer steins. Piano music on Friday and Saturday nights adds to the fun. AE, D, DC, MC, V. Closed Sun. No lunch.

English Room
Pfister Hotel,
424 E. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, WI, USA
414/390-3832 Contemporary
In the Pfister Hotel, Milwaukee's premier hotel restaurant has a formal atmosphere and plenty of original 19th-century paintings. Recommended dishes are rack of lamb, seared crab cakes, and lobster-and-shrimp bisque. AE, D, DC, MC, V. No lunch.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Mario Andretti , Eddie M , David Roberts