The Wicked Hop - Good for Bloody Marys

If you wake up on Sunday morning and are craving only one thing, a bloody mary, head to The Wicked Hop. Located in the Historic Third Ward, this place has a reputation around the city as having one of the best bloody marys. That is all well and good, but what about the rest of the menu? I wanted to see if this restaurant would live up to the hype that surrounds its most favorite drink.

The corner restaurant is located across the street from the Milwaukee Public Market, and although parking can sometimes be a hassle at peak times in the Third Ward, the Market has a lot underneath the highway. The building itself has large, floor-to-ceiling, windows that bring in a lot of natural light into the space. The steel sculptures of The Wicked Hop (and more-so the Jackalope Lounj next door) work well with the beautiful Cream City brick and exposed wood beams.

Joining me at lunch today was my friend Erin, and we needed to meet early since she had plans throughout the day. The Wicked Hop opens at 10 a.m. for brunch, so we decided to wait until 10:30 to meet up. I walked in the door and there was already a 25-minute wait for a table. I was early anyways, so I picked up the Shepherd Express and waited for Erin. Once she arrived, we waited about 10 minutes more before we were seated. The hostess ran up the stairs to seat us, threw down the menus on the table and turned to clean off another table.

Soon our server approached us to take our drink order. Erin ordered a coffee and a bloody mary ($8), while I also ordered a coffee, mimosa ($8) and water. It took sometime to get the drinks, and the Alterra coffee and water came to the table well before our mimosa an bloody. From the second level, where we were sitting, we noticed the bar area packed with people and their bloodies. The bloody mary was a nice combination of flavor, spice and heat. Loaded with string cheese, a beef stick, a shrimp, olive and lemon lime wedges, the drink looked as good as it did on the menu. Even served with a small chaser, Erin told me it was one of the best she has ever had. My mimosa was the largest I had ever had, and was a good value. The orange juice had no pulp, but the drink was a little too sweet for my taste.

We looked over the small menu and decided on what to have. I had been to The Wicked Hop before and had ordered Father Damien's Belgian Wit Waffle ($9.95) with a side of ham. Since I posed the question on Friday of last week: If you only could choose between pancakes or waffles for brunch, I wanted to make sure this food item made it into this review. The waffle is made from the house recipe featuring the Father Damien's Belgian Wit draft beer. This added an interesting hint of Wit beer, but did not add that much flavor to the waffle. The powdered sugar and one orange slice was a simple garnish. I did not like having the Smuckers® maple syrup served to me in the single serving plastic cup. For almost $10, the presentation and flavor were lacking in this dish.

This trip with Erin I decided to try something different: the Sunday Sliders ($9.95). These three mini burgers are served on small pretzel rolls and are simply beef patty, small piece of American cheese and bread. They were not seasoned or served with any condiments. I had to ask for ketchup (which as you see, I added to my plate before taking the photo). When ordering, I asked the server if I could have them done medium-rare. I was told, "Well, they come done medium." Either way, these three-bite burgers were not seasoned well and needed to have more flavor added to them. There was the choice of side: Sunday spuds, fresh fruit or cottage cheese. I chose the Sunday spuds, which are red potatoes that are dropped in the fryer to get crispy on the outside. The inside is still very dense, and they definitely fill you up.

Erin chose the Fat Boy Brunch Burrito ($10). This was one of several brunch burritos to choose from. The Fat Boy had 3 eggs with cheddar and jack cheeses, sautéed onions, mushrooms, red and green peppers, fresh tomatoes and avocado. She chose to have the Sunday spuds as well, however said after one bite, "I should have chose the cottage cheese." The burrito looked like a monster of a meal, however once again, it was under-seasoned. The eggs were bland and taste as if no salt, pepper or other seasoning was added to them. The veggies were good and added a nice fresh taste to the burrito, but it could not help. Not even the cheeses were enough to add enough flavor to the dish. With each bite, I saw Erin adding her own salt and pepper.

If you are craving a great place for a bloody mary, you have to make a stop into The Wicked Hop. Grab a seat at the bar or one of the tall tables and enjoy one. For a total of about $18 per person, I would suggest just grabbing drinks here. The long wait for a table was not worth the under-seasoned food and sub par service.

Until next time, hope you have a great week and happy brunching!

What have been your experiences at The Wicked Hop? What are some other good entrees? Respond below in the comments!

All the details you want to know: (on a five star rating)

The Wicked Hop (***)
345 North Broadway
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53202
(414) 223-0345
Wicked Hop on Urbanspoon

Brunch hours:
Sunday: 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Atmosphere: **** (very good)
Great natural light with large windows, cream city brick, exposed wood beams and interesting metal sculptures

Food: * (poor)
Under-seasoned and lacking flavor

Service: * (poor)
Long wait for table and poor service

Drinks: ****
Mimosa - *** (pretty good)
Bloody Mary - ***** (awesome)

Price: ** (ok)
Less than $20 a person for drinks and food, but drink prices made it worth it.