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The Burgers of Wisconsin

The Burgers of Wisconsin
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  • Post #91 - June 20th, 2011, 7:16 am
    Post #91 - June 20th, 2011, 7:16 am Post #91 - June 20th, 2011, 7:16 am
    Da Beef wrote:Mickey Lu's is an institution
    I'm ready to be institutionalized Dr. Beef!
    Watched your video, 9-seconds is about my attention span, grill woman showed great control when the flames shot up, a real pro.

    Love this series of posts, makes me want to visit my old home state.
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #92 - June 20th, 2011, 8:21 am
    Post #92 - June 20th, 2011, 8:21 am Post #92 - June 20th, 2011, 8:21 am
    [quote="Da BeefHaha, the followers of this thread will be the first people to know where to get their coffee table book with a free app of each and every stop mapped out so you can get there from wherever you are. [/quote]

    This would be awesome. I am actually working (slowly) on a google map project where I map out all of the places I have eaten at and reviewed for It will feature a link to my post, link to the place, and a quick description of the food. It would be awesome to have this for all your burger joints.
    Visit my new website at or my old one at
  • Post #93 - June 26th, 2011, 8:24 pm
    Post #93 - June 26th, 2011, 8:24 pm Post #93 - June 26th, 2011, 8:24 pm
    One last burger to get too from my most recent trip up the lake. But y'all need not worry because I'm going to the Northwoods for the 4th and I have a few places I'll be getting to thanks to LTH and others. We decided to stop in and take a stroll around Manitowoc on the rebound back. It's the home to the Wisconsin Maritime Museum, one of the largest Nautical museums in the country and also coincidentally enough, Burger Boat Company which is the oldest custom yacht builder in America. Many people find themselves there before boarding the S.S Badger Ferry that takes travelers and their vehicles from Manitowoc across the lake into Ludington, Michigan as part of U.S Route 10. Manitowoc is all about the boats and one of the better looking 'Great Lakes' communities I have seen and I got this impression on just a short visit, I'll definitely be back. As we got lost looking for one spot we came across another place called Bud Willman's, it was all in good luck.

    Manitowoc, WI

    Open over 45 years? Opens at 5a everyday? and Hamburgers in their name? I knew it was good right then and there. PhilW made a turn around stop on the dime and we went on in to grab some burgers. My first impression upon entering (aside from the wonderful smell) was that this must be the place where boaters of all sorts eat at before a day or longer on the water and it's probably been that way since 1954 when Bud Willman's first got started. The inside isn't much as far as looks. The have an 'L' shaped counter along the cooks area and a few 1970's tables and booths rounding out the rest of the place.

    View of the inside from the counter

    We took a look at the menu which was very reasonable and just like the type you would expect to attract alot of local regulars. I never really took a look at much else on it since we were there for the burgers. A single will set you back a $1.25, with a double being a little over $2.50. It was all good from there. We watched as the waitress went into the fridge to grab a container containing fresh balls of beef. I was feeling friendly and asked if she would mind if I took a quick pic of them and was very confused at first as to why. When I explained the deal she and the grill lady were happy to share and glad we were there.

    Fresh balls of beef is always a good start to a good burger

    We each went with a double which are two balls of beef patted into each other. I was able to get a video of our burgers being made from where we sat at so you can see how the grill lady smashed these to perfection. The smell and cooking technique reminded of a long gone place called Glenn's I used to frequent with my dad growing up. Glenn would always have a full house of people in his small storefront that sat on Fullerton just east of Ashland and everyone was there eating burgers for breakfast. It was always one of my favorite places to eat at when we got to go. I leaned over and told Philip watch these be the best burgers we've had on this trip yet.

    View of the burgers being made from where we sat at

    After about five minutes we were given our burgers which we were taking to go for the ride back to Chi. I was already regretting the fact I only ordered one. The smell from the steam coming from the bag was too much to resist so we ripped them open to eat on the hood of the truck right then and there. I'm lucky I didn't forget to snap a pic before I ate this because my mouth was drooling as I snapped a few to share with here.

    Bud Willman's double cheeseburger

    Upon first bite it took me back to Glenn's, Bud Willman's was everything I remember Glenn's to be. Beefy, cheesy, greasy and potent from those onions smashed into the meat. This was the gold medal winner of the burgers from this trip and that's saying something because all the burgers we ate were great. The fresh beef paired with the perfect cooking technique makes this one of the best most 'simple' burgers you'll ever have. In the end I guess I'm somewhat lucky that Glenn's is no more. If I lived anywhere near old Buddy Boy's, I would be there eating burgers there for breakfast until my heart had decided it's had enough. I had never heard of nor been recommended this place before we randomly drove by otherwise it would of been on the list for this trip from the get go. Just further proof of the great burgers to be ate while in the cheese and beer state.

    The insides

    Bud Willman's Lunch
    1901 Washington Street
    Manitowoc, WI 54220-4935
    (920) 684-0005
  • Post #94 - June 29th, 2011, 6:25 am
    Post #94 - June 29th, 2011, 6:25 am Post #94 - June 29th, 2011, 6:25 am
    this was a great stop,loved it :mrgreen:
    philw bbq cbj for kcbs &M.I.M. carolina pit masters
  • Post #95 - June 29th, 2011, 8:05 am
    Post #95 - June 29th, 2011, 8:05 am Post #95 - June 29th, 2011, 8:05 am
    Da Beef wrote:Bud Willman's Lunch
    1901 Washington Street
    Manitowoc, WI 54220-4935
    (920) 684-0005

    Thanks for the great post. Although Il Ritrovo in Sheboygan is my usual stop on the way to Door County, next time I'll definitely hold off till I get to Manitowoc!
  • Post #96 - July 3rd, 2011, 8:48 am
    Post #96 - July 3rd, 2011, 8:48 am Post #96 - July 3rd, 2011, 8:48 am
    I tried B-1 Burger last night in Thiensville, 15 miles north of Milwaukee. I wanted to try their ground prime rib burger special. It's a small bar that closes at 9 every night, no frills. The Brewers game was on the few TVs they had. The prime rib burger was 1/3lb and it came on a nice brioche bun. I had the kettle chips, which were housemade and very good. But the burger was a little strange. It tasted pretty good, though the bun was a little big for the smaller patty - a 1/2lb would have felt right. It definitely was prime rib (not a ground up ribeye), had that smell and flavor, but I wasn't sure if it worked as a burger or not. One moment I was really liking it, the next I was second guessing myself - maybe I "wanted" to like it more than I actually was. In the end, I would say I did like it and I would go as far as recommending it, if nothing more for a unique burger. If I go back, I'm tempted to get a double because the bun was a bit big, though I wouldn't mind trying one of the regular burgers first.

    My girlfriend had the patty melt which she couldn't stop raving about. All their burgers are provided by Ney's Big Sky Ranch (Manitowoc, WI), which they proudly advertise everywhere in the restaurant and even an informative brochure on the meat at the tables.

    B-1 Burger
    105 W. Freistadt Road
    Thiensville WI 53092
  • Post #97 - July 5th, 2011, 8:46 am
    Post #97 - July 5th, 2011, 8:46 am Post #97 - July 5th, 2011, 8:46 am
    My parents have been digging the burgers at PJ's Burger Barn in Arbor Vitae after a change in ownership has resulted in a downturn in service and burger quality at our favorite up north burger joint, the Little Musky Bar (discussed here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=1015&hilit=little+musky).

    Has anyone on this board been there yet?
    Visit my new website at or my old one at
  • Post #98 - July 7th, 2011, 3:35 pm
    Post #98 - July 7th, 2011, 3:35 pm Post #98 - July 7th, 2011, 3:35 pm
    I went up to the Northwoods in Wisconsin for four nights for the 4th holiday and was able to check out a burger spot that had just been added to my list. Phil Rohrer's is in Two Rivers, WI which is right next door to Manitowoc. It too is a pretty little town with plenty of public lakefront beach access with many people enjoying the bike trails and beaches the Saturday we made Phil Rohrer's our lunch stop on the ride up to Eagle River. Two Rivers is about a three hour ride up Lake Michigan from Chicago.

    Two Rivers, WI

    I became interested when I saw a little magnet from Phil Rohrer's on the fridge at Bud Willman's Lunch which can be seen upthread. Google Maps gave me the option for two different routes up into Eagle River and I chose the one a little longer by 30 or so miles so we could check out Phil Rohrer's and one other place while we made our way up north.

    This magnet at Bud Willman's...

    ...put Phil Rohrer's on my radar

    After looking up Phil Rohrer's on Google and being lead to Bud Willmans MySpace page I found out that Phil Rohrer and Bud Willman are cousins. Bud Willman once had restaurants in Manitowoc, Reedsville, Denmark and Two Rivers. It turns out he sold his Two Rivers location to Cousin Phil in 1962. Phil Rohrer's still is and always has been a popular tiny little lunchtime place for the locals and tourists of the area.

    As we enter

    When I arrived it was around lunchtime on a Saturday and there was nowhere to sit and near impossible to even make it inside. One of the ladies behind the counter must of known I was a tourist and told me it would be a little bit of a wait unless I wanted to just place an order to go and eat it at the picnic table in back next to the parking lot. That was fine by me so I took a quick look at the menu and placed a hurried up order. As seen in the pic up close of the sign outside, Phil's has $1.25 burgers, the small ones and four famous Ho-Made soups. The raw fries are fresh fried potato chips loaded with butter and come with the option of gravy on top.

    View from my seat at the end of counter near register

    Just like at Bud Willman's a small burger at Phil Rohrer's is one ball of beef smashed down and a large is two balls. I got a large burger with an order of raw fries with melted butter and also an order of their homemade chili. The menu is pretty extensive but these I was told are the most popular items ordered along with the fresh lake perch served on Friday's. They're approaching their 50th year as Phil Rohrer's so they had some T-Shirts and Pint glasses for sale too and I got one of each. The burger, fries, a large chili, t-shirt and beer glass cost me a mere $20 and change so I paid and took it all outside. My only regret was not getting the raw fries with gravy on top which seemed to be the popular choice with everyone eating inside.

    Image Image
    Gravy Fry chips (L) Phil's chili (R)

    The chili was a classic Midwestern brew. It contained chunks of hamburger with broken up cooked pieces of spaghetti, beans and the other usual's like peppers and onions. I got it with sour cream and also came with fresh chopped green onions on top, it was scorching hot the day I was there, I took a bite but saved the rest for a late night snack that was very satisfying a night or two later. The burger was another excellent example of the classic simple is sometimes better.

    Large hamburger from Phil Rohrer's Lunch

    Nothing special but still special tasting. Just a smashed fresh ball of beef and the usual's of grilled onions, mustard and pickles. They did forget the cheese on my burger as I couldn't figure out at first what was wrong with the way it looked, something didn't seem right, like it was naked. It was still what I was looking for, a nice quick cheap lunch that wouldn't be too far off the route we were traveling.

    Stay tuned, more to come...

    Phil Rohrer's Lunch
    1303 22nd St
    Two Rivers, WI 54241-2610
    (920) 794-8500
  • Post #99 - July 13th, 2011, 6:17 pm
    Post #99 - July 13th, 2011, 6:17 pm Post #99 - July 13th, 2011, 6:17 pm
    How about burgers up North? Yep if it's things that the Northwoods isn't lacking? burgers, lakes, trees and large men in cut off tee's come to my mind. It's pretty much a gimme that each and every restaurant, supper club, tavern and pub that serves food will have hamburgers on the menu and a big fella eating in there. We're not in Paris, France up here. I stopped into two burger spots on my trip to the Northwoods. In fact both of them are located in the same town just down the road from each other. The first place I had on my radar was the Little Musky Bar which came rec'd in the Northwoods thread by the like's of eatwisconsin and others. Also praised by my friend who when I told I was going to the Northwoods, he told me I had to go to this place called the Little Musky for a burger. I told him c'mon m'aaan, he knew me better than that, of course it was on my list.

    Arbor Vitae, WI

    We made our visit on the 4th. After taking in a couple nice trails and views along some lakes it was time for a few cold ones as it was a really humid day. The bar is to your right as you enter and there is also a section with tables to sit down at to your left. Leading out the back is an outside dining section with tables and chairs for people to take their food and drinks to eat outside if they so wish. We sat at the bar and I went with the $3 special of bottles of Capitol Brewery's 'Supper Club' (available in Chicago) and in celebration of the 4th my friend got the Dreamsicle cocktail from the specials board. Another classic setup for a Northwoods drinking establishment and I felt right at home inside this one with all sorts of Chicago Bears gear on display.

    Image Image
    My view from the bar...DA BEARS!

    The Little Musky had constant traffic both at the bar and tables. Couples, young and old, families and friends were all there enjoying the same thing, cool air and burgers. Everyone that was over 21 was also enjoying some ice cold beer at dirt cheap prices. I still laugh every time I get my bar tab at an old school place in Wisconsin. I ordered a Musky cheeseburger with sauteed mushrooms which I told her to put on the grill after I ordered my third beer. I sat there and watched as the lady who owned the place went thru ball after ball of beef turning them into hearty tavern burgers. As you can see in this short video I took below, she has them ready in individual bags as fresh balls of beef in the fridge and each time one is ordered she'll grab one, smash it down and throw it on.

    Busy with burgers

    We needed to make sure we didn't get stuck in there, I felt guilty sitting inside the taverns on such sunny days, so I ordered the burger to go and when it was ready we just took it out back to the tables for customers to sit at and dug into it before we went out to explore Lac du Flambeau.

    The view from outside out in back of the bar

    The 'big' Musky cheeseburger with grilled onions and mushrooms

    The burgers are available in 1/3 and 1/2 pound sizes and as was rec'd/learned by eatwisconsin, go BIG or go home. Burgers come with chips, although they do have "Pizza Fries" on the menu which seem to be a Northwoods thing, they're on many taverns up theres menu. Just think a cheese pizza from the Quad Cities or John's Pizzeria in Cal City/NW Indiana cut in the same way with a marinara in the middle for people to dip the "fries" in. Now there is a little talk of a decline in the quality of the burgers up above but this was my first visit so I cant speak on that. I liked it for what it was, which isn't a knock on it. Just a hunk of fresh beef cooked right with pungent grilled onions, fresh mushrooms and WI cheese on a soft bun. Kind of tasted like how my mom made them over summertime when I was a kid. A "homey" tasting burger if you will. On top of that the couple next to us were regular visitors from Minnesota and at the Musky for there annual burger from there and they loved it as always.

    Image Image
    a 'Sconnie style lunch

    Next up was another example of " I cant just pass it up" as we cruised by PJ's Burger Barn on our last full day in town. She wasn't all that thrilled about eating anymore burgers, but I was able to make it so that there wouldn't be a big fuss if I wanted too have one since we went out later that night for steak. Not on my radar but in my memory is what PJ's Burger Barn was. I remember elakin was doing burger research for his shop Edzo's while up in Wisconsin and documenting it in his march to burger greatness. He snapped a picture of PJ's while up there and I remembered the cartoon characters eating the burger when we passed by.

    Arbor Vitae, WI

    PJ's is a cool looking place both outside and in. Along with the bar/restaurant it's also a 'resort'. They have houses and cabins for rent which actually looked pretty nice, newly built and surrounded in a scenic setting overlooking a lake. At the restaurant they have a bar, sit down tables, Darts, jukebox etc... the classic Northwoods setting along with peanuts everywhere which are for customers to enjoy and they are encouraged to throw the shells on the ground when done with them. PJ's is short for the husband wife duo that run the place. Peg and Jim? Don't quote me on the names though. The logo of the man and woman eating the burger is them portrayed as cartoons, at least that's who the really sweet lady working the place looked exactly like.

    As we enter

    We took a seat at one of the tables in back next to the windows overlooking the lake outside. I'll admit that at first I wasn't expecting a whole lot in that they had a menu with every kind of burger you can think of and they came on ciabatta rolls, eh. I didn't want anything like a pizza or olive burger, just a classic. So I went with the PJ's Burger which comes with bacon, mushrooms and Swiss. Each burger comes with PJ's housemade chips on the side. I wasn't expecting as much as I got as far as flavor is concerned. I quite enjoyed my burger which you dont get the choice of how you want it to be cooked but does come char-grilled. So that added in some nice flavor and the ciabatta roll actually worked well holding it all together. I would go here again for sure for some beers and a burger. The homemade chips were quite good as well, went great with the ice cold beer. See y'all next time.

    Signature burger (bacon, mushrooms and Swiss) basket from PJ's Burger Barn

    Little Musky
    1455 US Highway 51 North
    Arbor Vitae, WI 54568-9505
    (715) 356-6738

    PJ's Burger Barn & Up North Resort
    397 US Highway 51 North
    Arbor Vitae, WI 54568
    (715) 356-7655
  • Post #100 - July 13th, 2011, 6:27 pm
    Post #100 - July 13th, 2011, 6:27 pm Post #100 - July 13th, 2011, 6:27 pm
    For burgers, don't miss the Pea Patch in Manitowish Water. It's right next to a dam on the Manitowish River, which explains their slogan "Best burgers by a dam site." There's also a motel there.
  • Post #101 - July 24th, 2011, 11:47 am
    Post #101 - July 24th, 2011, 11:47 am Post #101 - July 24th, 2011, 11:47 am
    So Wisco has quite the burger culture huh? I would say so as is evidence from this series of posts. There's only a few burgers featured upthread that I wouldn't stop back in for another at and a only a few places in Chicagoland that compare with most of these. Part of this big time burger culture is the cheese and beer that you can pair with a burger. Along with that are places that have been around the state since sometime after Hamburger Charlie came to town (Seymour, WI) selling what he called "Hamburgers".

    Seymour, WI

    On the way back from my Northwoods trip I saw Seymour on the highway signs letting you know how far you are from towns, cities. It was only 25 miles from where we were and I remembered the name because they are the birthplace of the hamburger or so they claim. There's actually more places/people credited for introducing the hamburger than there are people eating Big Macs of crap around the world as I write this. A few of the places that claim this fame are Hamburg NY, New Haven CT, Tulsa OK, Athens TX and here in Seymour where they say Charlie Nagreen started selling flattened meatballs in a bun at the Seymour Fair in 1885. He wanted people to be able to eat while they walked around.

    "Hamburger Charlie" Nagreen's statue in Seymour


    I had to take a stroll thru town and see what was around. According to the iPhone google maps there was a business on the Main Street called "Home of the Hamburger". I hadn't read about nor heard of this place but I was excited there might be a old school little seasonal stand in town. We looked around and then around once more (Seymour is small) but nothing was there.

    Seeing Seymour

    The biggest weekend of the year in Seymour is when they hold their annual Hamburgerfest each summer. Started in 1989 it features a parade and the making of a 8,000+ pound burger (at the time a record) cooked up on the mammoth "Charlie Grill" which is across the street from the statue. If you want to go try some of the 8,000+ pound burger (I'm going to pass) or try your part in the Hardee's Thickburger eating competition (really? that's an insult to Charlie) the 2011 date of Hamburgerfest is August 6th, 2011.

    The "Charlie Grill"


    I knew they also had a Burger Museum and as it turns out that's what was the 'Home of the Hamburger' was but it closed down sometime a few years back. I looked around town hoping to find a burger place but shockingly there was none. The only place that might of served one was a restaurant with a big burger painted on the side but at some point it turned into a Mexican place that wasn't calling me in. One of the few other biz's listed was Seymour Beverage which I should of known better and checked. I assumed it was a liquor store but it's actually one of the two independent pop bottlers left in the state (I was headed to the other) and the only reason to stop in Seymour, if you do, then you can check out the statue too.

    See ya later Seymour, maybe I'll stop back someday for a beverage...
  • Post #102 - July 25th, 2011, 3:58 pm
    Post #102 - July 25th, 2011, 3:58 pm Post #102 - July 25th, 2011, 3:58 pm
    I have always found it terribly apalling that Seymour has no hanburger joints. I was through there on a motorcycle ride a few years back and was pretty bummed to discover this. I ended up heading east to Kroll's West in Green Bay.

    I think an entepreneur could probably do well to make a small burger restaurant and incorporate whatever relics were in that Hamburger Museum, similar to what Potosi did with that National Brewing Museum and the new Potosi brewery/brewbup. Serve some killer Wisconsin microbrews and you'll have a great tourist destination for foodies and burger lovers alike.
    Visit my new website at or my old one at
  • Post #103 - August 6th, 2011, 2:18 pm
    Post #103 - August 6th, 2011, 2:18 pm Post #103 - August 6th, 2011, 2:18 pm
    (In my best Biggie voice) Uh, here comes another one! Tweet me a river. I was up in Lake Geneva and came across Annie's Burger Town while cruising around. Located in Elkhorn I cant verify whether or not Annie's is open year round or just seasonal but it is a cool old school drive in.

    Elkhorn, WI

    This was an unplanned burger stop, not on my list of rec's but I had to stop in and try one and I'm always down for a house brewed root beer so I was all about seeing what was up. We opted to park in the lot and walk inside to order. There were plenty of locals eating there and pulling in and out so I took that as a somewhat good sign. The burgers are cheap so I was happy nothing large would have to be consumed as this wasn't a planned stop. They had the Kenosha/Racine favorite, a pizza burger on the menu but those don't do it for me. If I want ground beef and red sauce with melted cheese on a bun I want it in meatball sandwich form per favore.

    Image Image
    You can order inside and eat at the tables outside or pull in for carhop service

    I went with a double bacon cheeseburger and medium root beer. They call their burgers 'charcoburgers' and they are flame grilled thin patties. Eh it was alright, no use for the bun in the middle. But much better than BK, which isn't saying much, but also not to the standard of 9 out of every 10 spots in this thread. More disappointing was the root beer, served in a plastic cup. I never met a Drive In's root beer I haven't liked until this place. I think it might of been a new batch that wasn't ready, people cant actually enjoy what I got. It was way to sweet and had no cream taste whatsoever. Annie's wasn't awful but not worth a trip unless your driving by and hungry. I'm not going to put this one on the board for WI but I love independent mom and pop burger shops and will stop for them when I see them...especially on the roads of Wisco. I mean hey, I'm this deep already so whats the point in stopping now? Especially when theres still plenty of hot spots to go. Stay tuned.

    Double bacon cheeseburger from Annie's

    Annie's Burger Town
    645 North Lincoln Street
    Elkhorn, WI 53121
    (262) 723-3250
  • Post #104 - August 25th, 2011, 4:37 pm
    Post #104 - August 25th, 2011, 4:37 pm Post #104 - August 25th, 2011, 4:37 pm
    c8w wrote:Great idea for a thread! Get up to Wisconsin a fair bit over summer, and have many many great burgers there too - often led by LTH (have done 5 of the 6 burgers in your pic, for example, directed to all by LTH - Fred's, Solly's, Kewpee's, Kopp's and Big Star).

    teatpuller wrote:Todd's Grill in Oconomowoc used to make a good burger, but I haven't been in a couple of years.

    I was at Todd's last year - in about October I think. Of all the burgers Ive had in Wisconsin, this remains IMHO the best. I go with their straight-forward "All American Todd's Burger" IIRC - a half-pound of fresh, never-frozen beef, sauteed onions, sauteed mushrooms, local bacon and local American cheese. Simple enough, but IMHO the best burger Ive had in Wisconsin (and Ive had them a half dozen times or more) - quite excellent.

    stevez wrote: After that, it was off to visit Todd's Grill in Oconomowoc. Todd's is a typical Wisconsin bar & grill and has been mentioned in several threads in the past. It's been on my list to visit for quite some time. I got there right at dinner time.

    The Saturday special was Prime Rib. As tempting as that was, I was there for the burger...and what a burger it was.

    ...and you can quote them on that.

    I made it to Todd's which was on my list thanks to the rec's from this thread. It took a while to make it over there but all was well when we finally did.

    Oconomowoc, WI

    We went in there on a Monday evening so it was relatively quiet with there being a few regulars at the bar watching the Brewers, one of which wouldn't stop complaining about the people who come up to "his lake" from Milwaukee and act like fools all summer. It was also Todd's bday and he was manning the grill for the evening but did step out so the reg's could sing to him.

    View from the booth

    Monday was prime rib sandwich night and I was able to convince my friend to get that so I could roll with the 'Todd Burger'. She also got some French Onion soup that was just ok but the prime rib was excellent. As stevez said, Todd's is a typical Wisconsin Bar & Grill which usually means the food will be stick to your ribs good and the beer, straight freeze rush to your brain cold.

    Open Face Prime Rib Sandwich

    I came in expecting big things from this burger, named after the owner it comes with grilled onions, grilled mushroom, nice crispy bacon (No Oscar Meyer) and good old American cheese. Lettuce and tomato is included and you have your other usual options of ketchup and mustard too although I wouldn't spoil that charred fresh beef flavor with ketchup if I were you. Everything you want when you go to the town tavern for a burger. Big and flavorful with pungent aromas that pass by your nose each time the waitress walks by with one. I couldn't imagine being a regular, as soon as I smelled one I'd be ordering each and everytime. My only compliant like stevez was the bun. It wasn't as fresh as most every other spot in WI and that could of made it Hammerin' Hank great. Also the onion straws were excellent and the way to go as your side. Well worth the stop.

    Todd Burger

    Todd's Bar & Grill
    164 East Wisconsin Ave
    Oconomowoc, WI 53066
    (262) 567-6023
  • Post #105 - August 29th, 2011, 8:30 am
    Post #105 - August 29th, 2011, 8:30 am Post #105 - August 29th, 2011, 8:30 am
    I am going to write about 2 pub style burgers I have tried in recent months.

    First up is Christie's Pub and Grill. Its located at 3261 South 13th Street, which is 14 blocks due east from Leon's Frozen Custard and Mazos Hamburgers. Its an unassuming little pub but the food is outstanding. The burger is straightforward and is kind of a "build-your-own" so you pick your cheese, toppings, etc. The thing is giant (probably close to 1/2 lb) and it is spectacular. I had mine with blue cheese and bacon. It was cooked to a perfect medium rare and was very juicy and had a very nice beefy flavor. The fries are homemade, delicious, and appear to be cooked in peanut oil.

    I have eaten there 3 times and every time the food is great. In addition to the burger they have an outstanding hanger steak sandwich and a great shrimp po boy. Service can be slow since its usually just 1 person cooking but they have signs warning that there might be a wait.

    Here is a crappy pic of my awesome burger:

    The second burger is the Mean Jean at Fuzzy's Pub and Grill at 627 East Main Street in Waukesha (I also mention Fuzzy's in the Wisconsin Breakfasts thread). You have your choice of 1/3 or 1/2 pound, hand pattied burgers. They are griddled so you get a nice crispy exterior. The burger is then topped with your choice of cheese and what appears to be an entire order of onion straws. I love picking at the onion straws until there is a manageable amount left on the burger. This burger is very flavorful and even if its cooked to medium well, it remains incredibly juicy. The fact that Fuzzy's is always crowded is a testament to the awesome food they are serving. They also have a great beer selection, with a decent variety of Wisconsin Micros.
    Visit my new website at or my old one at
  • Post #106 - August 31st, 2011, 1:22 pm
    Post #106 - August 31st, 2011, 1:22 pm Post #106 - August 31st, 2011, 1:22 pm
    I spent the weekend in Southern Wisco doing some heavy eating and drinking, 'Sconnie style. It had been over a year since my last visit (a year too many...) to Mad City so we would spend Saturday in my old stomping grounds walking around the Capitol. Sunday it was off to Spring Green for the night as we explored and ate the Rolling Hills of Green County, WI. I'll post my fun finds from that portion of our trip in the Wisconsin Beer & Cheese thread as well as some other bites and drinks we had from Madison in it's existing thread. In the meantime I wanted to share three fancy "upper class" burgers from the Cap City in this thread here.

    Madison, WI

    The first stop upon arrival was an old favorite of mine in the hippie part of town. I always lived on or right off State Street when I was in school but I was lucky enough to have a car and know about the Weary Traveler Freehouse. One of the best places in Madison to kill a hangover with food and more booze it's a great little spot that plays the "buy fresh, buy local" game and their menu reflects that.

    a longtime residents of Madison favorite located on Willy Street

    This part of Williamson street where the Weary is located has alot of Phish-heads that have formed a pond in the area. There's quite a few hipsters and hippies around and the business' reflect that, Weary Traveler included. It's got that I rode here on my funny bike to play my ukulele vibe inside. On any given day you may find a grungy artfart guy who came to Madison in the 70's and never left in there enjoying a coffee while some struggling "musician" is there using the free WIFI. Then there might be a few college kids at the bar drinking beers while a couple of families enjoy food at their table on an early afternoon. On the weekends they have a brunch menu including some nice morning mixed drinks, so I started my day in Madison the only way I remember how to.

    Image Image
    The view from inside...and we're off!

    A Bloody Traveler for me with a few Spotted Cows from the tap to follow and some mimosas for her. My usual go to eat from here back when was the "West of the Andes" steak sandwich served in egg-wich form since I liked going here on the weekends during brunch. But they also have what I remembered to be one bad ass burger. 'Bob's Bad Breath Burger' as it is called comes with a half pound of hand-packed fresh ground Lange Farms organic beef with cream cheese, green goddess dressing, caramelized onions, garlic, tomatoes and Pickapeppa Sauce. Served with a side of Yukon Gold potatoes and mixed greens it's one of the best "fancy burgers" your ever going to find. Bob could easily hang and hustle on Kuma's Corner if he wanted to. I call it upper class because the pricetag is double digits, but the lowest it can be at $10 makes it a steal.

    Bob's Badass Bad Breath Burger from the Weary Traveler

    Saturday we continued on and hit up some great spots for both food and drink. Madison is a great place for both. The original plan was to stop in at the old favorite Tornado Room Steakhouse for dinner. Maybe their signature bone in tenderloin or since it was a Saturday, the prime rib maybe was what I was thinking. However a somewhat new spot opened up, The Old Sugar Distillery and it's a must visit for any drinkie. More on that in the Madison thread. They only serve the dinner menu at Tornado until 10p but they also have a late night menu available until 1a. We went over to the Great Dane for some brews and headed to Tornado around Midnight.

    Famous Downtown Steakhouse on Hamilton Street

    The Tornado is a classic Midwestern steakhouse as far as looks and feel. But it's also in Madison so the clientele can be anyone from college kids to local businessmen and politicians alike. There's also the Corral Room located downstairs which is an underground nightspot with live music on the weekends. They serve some great steaks and mix excellent cocktails here and it's always packed up until close on the weekends.

    The view from inside

    The steaks are great and they do all the WI supper club traditions of a Friday Fish Fry, Saturday Prime Rib and Sunday night chicken dinner too. The late nite menu includes a few things and since I was hungry and hadn't ate in a few hours I said screw it and went all out. Started out with their excellent French onion soup and also got the sirloin steak with an onion ring on top ($13), the steak sandwich with aus jus and horseradish cream ($10) and for the sake of this thread I also got the Bacon bleu cheeseburger. The sirloin was very tasty, the steak sandwich aint what it used to be and the burger? Hot Damn! What's that old saying about college? If I only knew then, what I know now?

    Bacon bleu cheeseburger from Tornado Room

    This is what a steakhouse burger should be. A fresh 1/2 pound patty of local farm raised beef cooked to a perfect red on the inside with crispy Bacon, bleu cheese, lettuce, tomato, raw purple onion and some special sauce. No sesame seed bun needed, as is the case with most places in state the bun was fresh and great. Fries and onion rings are available on the late menu as baskets but do not come with the burgers. Either way at $9 you wont regret trying one.

    The insides

    Commbrkdwn wrote:Add me to the list of awesome people who attended school in Madison, and love a good burger. Though it wasnt in existence during my tenure in Madison, I've recently grown incredibly fond of a new(ish) restaurant on the capitol square known as "The Old Fashioned." In addition to a suburb Wisconsin-brewery only beer list and what are unquestionably the best cheese curds on the planet (and I've sampled many a cheese curd), this place puts out one hell of a delicious burger:

    Sure, the beef is fresh, juicy and cooked perfectly medium rare but the toppings are what put this sucker over the edge. None of them are fancy or innovative, but they're all incredibly well done. Grilled onions, thick hickory smoked bacon, aged cheddar, and an egg and a bun that holds them all together perfectly and enables you to taste each ingredient in every bite. I doubt I'll ever visit Madison again without eating here.

    The Old Fashioned has been on my radar since this thread was first started a year and change back and that rec was made. It's been mentioned in the Madison thread a few times as well and for the most part gets some heavy love and I gotta agree with the praise.

    Downtown on the Capitol Square

    The Old Fashioned took the concept restaurant and nailed it. Aimed to take after the 100's and 1000's of popular state wide supper clubs and taverns they did a great job making me feel like I was "in state" and all I kept saying to my friend is how much I would have loved this spot and been there when I lived around town. They have over 150 WI brewed beers including 30 of them on tap. The drink it's named after has its own page on the menu that allows you to build your own Old Fashioned. As they mix you one up the way you like from their selections in each category offered.

    Image Image
    Endless beer and some expertly prepared mixers is how it should be

    We actually stopped in here for drinks on Saturday afternoon and then returned for brunch and more booze Sunday. Since the brunch menu was no longer being served Saturday we came back for that and went with the highly rec'd curds as well as the Wisconsin Benedict which comes with a Miesfelds brat patty and of course, the house burger. The curds were the real deal, "best I've had" for me too. The brats Benedict was awesome. They take the authentic thing serious to the point where they grill their meats over real charcoal just like many of the places seen upthread do. The smoke flavor in the patty was pretty damn tasty with the hollandaise and everything else added into the mix.

    Image Image
    Wisconsin Cuisine

    The burger was really stellar as well. For the most part everything is local and from instate as far as the ingredients, hell even the beef jerky bar snack foods come from local suppliers. The house burger is grilled over a live fire, topped with fried onions, Bavaria's hickory-smoked bacon, aged Cheddar, garlic sauce and a soft-cooked egg on a buttered and toasted roll. The ingredients were fresh and the burger was great but all I could think about was how next time I'm going to have to order a "combo" Sheboygan style and have them add a brat patty onto the burger as well. Like those seen upthread. Great stop, the atmosphere was on and it's very reasonable too, for drinks and food. The burger was $9.95 with a $1 upcharge for the popular around the state onion strings included. Get those too.

    The Old Fashioned House Burger

    Weary Traveler Freehouse
    1201 Williamson Street
    Madison, WI 53703
    (608) 442-6207

    Tornado Club Steakhouse
    116 S Hamilton St
    Madison, WI 53703
    (608) 256-3570

    The Old Fashioned
    Ste 1, 23 North Pinckney Street
    Madison, WI 53703
    (608) 310-4545
  • Post #107 - September 2nd, 2011, 10:55 am
    Post #107 - September 2nd, 2011, 10:55 am Post #107 - September 2nd, 2011, 10:55 am
    Da Beef wrote: I was told about Al's on my first trip to Green Bay when a local told me it's the best 'locals type' spot they got...Al's cheeseburgers are exactly how I love mine to be. The perfect example of an old school diner where the cheeseburgers are and always have been popular for breakfast.

    Cheeseburger from Al's

    Al's Hamburger Shop
    131 South Washington Street
    Green Bay, WI 54301-4210
    (920) 437-5114

    JeffB wrote:If i ever make it to Al's, it's on.

    Let's hope anyone and everyone can ever make it there or back.

    Future unknown for Al's after the shop was heavily damaged by a fire last month.

    I said the place was a grease pit, so I'm not surprised. They got their football back but no more Al's in Green Bay. Too bad it couldn't be the other way... :twisted:
  • Post #108 - September 9th, 2011, 7:09 pm
    Post #108 - September 9th, 2011, 7:09 pm Post #108 - September 9th, 2011, 7:09 pm
    Spent five days eating my way up and down eastern Wisconsin last week. Hit several old favorites (Beer Belly's, Franks Diner, Elegant Farmer), visited meat markets and cheese factories, ate brats and blue gill and pizza -- and a lot of burgers. By far the highpoint of the trip was my first-ever visit to Mickey-Lu in Marinette. Oh my . . . I took one bite of my double cheeseburger (butter the only condiment) and immediately ordered a second. Amazing flavor, which I'm guessing is due to that ancient grill, and a perfect balance/blend of meat/cheese/hard roll. I'm not sure I've ever had a better burger. Also first-rate apple pie for dessert.
  • Post #109 - September 9th, 2011, 7:33 pm
    Post #109 - September 9th, 2011, 7:33 pm Post #109 - September 9th, 2011, 7:33 pm
    I will say: definitely get a double at Mickey Lu. The single is all out of balance.

    Fantastic shakes, too. Just a really charming place. I'm glad they're still thriving despite the Culver's just up the street.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #110 - October 12th, 2011, 6:07 pm
    Post #110 - October 12th, 2011, 6:07 pm Post #110 - October 12th, 2011, 6:07 pm
    Da Beef, do I have a Wisconsin burger place for you! Dr Dawg, located in Glendale, off I43 & Good Hope Road, recently added burgers to their sausage menu. One third pound of fresh, 80/20 Niman Ranch, lightly done on a flat grill and finished off on a char broiler, but not really charred. I had mine medium rare with Nueske's bacon, American cheese, fresh cut fries topped with Vern's cheddar cheese and a fountain Green River. There is an extensive list of fresh toppings. My cheeseburger was pure burger nirvana! Niman Ranch provides the burger meat for Pearl's Phat Burger in northern California. Vern's cheese is from Chilton, WI. It's used by two very famous Chicago hot dog stands for their burgers, dogs, and fries. Sprecher's root beer is also available on tap. David Ross aka Dr Dawg is a native Chicagoan and a proud graduate from Hot Dog University.

    Dr Dawg
    The Glendale Market
    6969 N. Port Washington Road
    Glendale, WI 53217
    Mark A Reitman, PhD
    Professor of Hot Dogs
    Hot Dog University/Vienna Beef
  • Post #111 - January 9th, 2012, 9:02 pm
    Post #111 - January 9th, 2012, 9:02 pm Post #111 - January 9th, 2012, 9:02 pm
    Hello All,
    Chicago transplant (Schaumburg pre-woodfield when there were few residents and we had a singing cowboy mayor) now living in Milwaukee (many states in between the two)
    I want to second Dr. Dawg in Glendale. The did just do a taste off a few weeks ago to determine the better beef to use in the hamburgers. They also have a duck sausage. My wife eats lunch there at least three times a week and I usually walk over once a week.

    If you are going north his first stand is in Manitowic.

    Jon M.
  • Post #112 - January 10th, 2012, 7:31 pm
    Post #112 - January 10th, 2012, 7:31 pm Post #112 - January 10th, 2012, 7:31 pm
    exvaxman wrote:Hello All,
    Chicago transplant (Schaumburg pre-woodfield when there were few residents and we had a singing cowboy mayor) now living in Milwaukee (many states in between the two)
    I want to second Dr. Dawg in Glendale. The did just do a taste off a few weeks ago to determine the better beef to use in the hamburgers. They also have a duck sausage. My wife eats lunch there at least three times a week and I usually walk over once a week.

    If you are going north his first stand is in Manitowic.

    Jon M.


    The Manitowoc store has closed. On your next visit to DD's, please say hello to David Ross, the owner and send him my best. David is an honorary graduate from Hot Dog University. He graduated cum lauda and was numero uno in his class. I had lunch at DD's last Friday. IMHO, he serves the best cheeseburger in Milwaukee.

    Mark Reitman, PhD
    Professor of Hot Dogs
    Hot Dog University@Vienna Beef
    Mark A Reitman, PhD
    Professor of Hot Dogs
    Hot Dog University/Vienna Beef
  • Post #113 - January 12th, 2012, 12:15 pm
    Post #113 - January 12th, 2012, 12:15 pm Post #113 - January 12th, 2012, 12:15 pm
    The Manitowoc store has closed

    I hadn't known that - the last time I was driving up in Sheboygan his billboard was still up advertising it.

    My wife eats there more than me - I'll have her say "hi!" for you.

    Jon M/.
  • Post #114 - January 16th, 2012, 1:39 pm
    Post #114 - January 16th, 2012, 1:39 pm Post #114 - January 16th, 2012, 1:39 pm
    Late posting this, but you were right about Dr. Dawgs closing his place up north. My wife spoke to him and he is looking to move the equipment to a second location in the Milwaukee area.

    This is actually sort of sad for some people because I was in a Port Washington KFC/Long John Silvers location getting some of the Chicken Planks for my son (his comfort food when sick) when I overheard a discussion in the booth behind me about going up to that area and one person telling the others that they HAD to stop at Dr. Dawgs. Me? I always go to Pine River when in the area and get some expensive cheese.
  • Post #115 - March 6th, 2012, 10:17 pm
    Post #115 - March 6th, 2012, 10:17 pm Post #115 - March 6th, 2012, 10:17 pm
    This thread is truly incredible, Da Beef. But can it be that you never developed an affinity for the burger at the Caribou Bar on E. Johnson? I haven't had one in over a decade, but they still haunt my dreams. They had really spicy horseradish bottled especially for them, too. I recommend them the next time you're in the area.

    Caribou Tavern
    703 East Johnson Street Madison, WI 53703
    (608) 257-5993
  • Post #116 - March 6th, 2012, 11:29 pm
    Post #116 - March 6th, 2012, 11:29 pm Post #116 - March 6th, 2012, 11:29 pm
    A newer place more in the Milwaukee area has a couple of interesting burgers.
    A Gyro cheese burger and a Pastrami cheese Burger. Amazing amount of meat in both, very tasty.

    If you go there, also hit the asian mall (not marked) directly across the street next to the CVS.

    Of course, my better two thirds loves the House of Corned Beef on Silver Spring road that has its' own thread better.
  • Post #117 - March 8th, 2012, 10:32 am
    Post #117 - March 8th, 2012, 10:32 am Post #117 - March 8th, 2012, 10:32 am
    ndgbucktown wrote:This thread is truly incredible, Da Beef. But can it be that you never developed an affinity for the burger at the Caribou Bar on E. Johnson? I haven't had one in over a decade, but they still haunt my dreams. They had really spicy horseradish bottled especially for them, too. I recommend them the next time you're in the area.

    Hey glad your enjoying the tour, which will continue as the weather warms. I have never heard of Caribou Bar. Damn, makes me feel less of the "know it all" when it comes to 'Sconnie burgers and also makes me wonder what I was doing those years there in Madison, how could I not know about a certain bar? I thought I did them all, then again Mad City is said to have more bars per capita than anywhere else in the country. Its funny you mention this now because I was just in Madison last weekend.

    Da Beef wrote:
    turkob wrote:I was a huge fan of Dotty's burgers when I was going to school in Madison.

    I went to school in Madison too. Along with Dotty's the other popular burger spots in the campus area were The Plaza and The Nitty Gritty. I liked them all fine but my favorite was from Nick's Restaurant. They always made them to a perfect medium rare but that was 4/5 years ago. Sadly there is now a Five Guys on State St and I'm sure it wins "best burger" nowadays.

    Madison, WI

    I'll always love Madison and make it a point to visit a couple times a year. However I must say since I left there the entire State Street area has been turned over. I would say 70% of State Street is different from when I was there, as far as stores and bars. Even BW-3 closed down, yeah I know it sucks but the fact they couldn't survive on the main strip in a large college the economy that bad? There's quite a few spaces for lease too, never used to be that way. Well anyway the good news is places like The Old Fashioned (seen upthread) and Merchant have popped up downtown and those places that have closed from my college days (RIP Stillwaters and Angelic) weren't for folks my age these days anyway. But Nicks Restaurant remains the exact same as it was the day they opened in 1959. Nick is still there, dressing in all black and making sure your doing good.

    As we enter (Nick at the bar)

    I always stay downtown when visiting Madison. I always lived either on or a block or two off of State street while pretending to attend school. So on those nights I needed something in my belly before massive amounts of alcohol were consumed, Nick's always did the trick. No difference this time around. I needed to eat something quick while my girl rested at the Concourse so I did what I used to always do and dialed Nick's for a feta cheeseburger pick up. A perfect example of why Nick's is an important part of the neighborhood and has been for so long. I call in my order and leave my name, "Titus" and I get a "You mean Titus from Chicago, KingT (nickname in school), is that you?" Nick remembered exactly who I was despite it being over five years since I stepped inside. The burger was as good as ever. Hand formed patty with a beefy bite cooked to perfect medium rare, inside a fresh baked bun. It did the job as always and afterwards it was off to The Great Dane. I look forward to Caribou on my next visit which will be very soon. Thanks for the rec.

    Image Image
    Feta Cheeseburger from Nicks Restaurant

    Nick's Restaurant
    226 State Street
    Madison, WI 53703
    (608) 255-5450
  • Post #118 - March 9th, 2012, 8:00 am
    Post #118 - March 9th, 2012, 8:00 am Post #118 - March 9th, 2012, 8:00 am
    I second the Caribou (or the 'bou) rec. Great tavern burger that uses local beef. Pretty damn good curds too.

    I also second the love for this thread. Top notch.
  • Post #119 - March 12th, 2012, 4:37 pm
    Post #119 - March 12th, 2012, 4:37 pm Post #119 - March 12th, 2012, 4:37 pm
    I had mentioned Spartan Gyro as having a gyro burger and a pastrami burger.
    If you are in the area (NW Milwaukee) stop by - they are my goto place now for food when I am too tired after work to cook. The House of Corned Beef is still the wife's favorite, but she also loves the gyro burger. VERY friendly service.
  • Post #120 - March 28th, 2012, 8:19 am
    Post #120 - March 28th, 2012, 8:19 am Post #120 - March 28th, 2012, 8:19 am
    A hidden gem is Gosse's in Sheyboygan for a great butter burger. Great atmosphere. The buns make the burger even better. Those are the crusty outside, course tender inside buns made there in Sheyboygan. Worth the stop.