Milwaukee Brunch Reviews
Having so many new places to check out around the city, I made up a short list of restaurants that I thought would be a good spot for me and some friends to check out for brunch. Blackthorn Pub was top of the list, since I really love Irish Pubs. Since opening in May of this year, I have not heard much about the pub, but they approached me on Twitter and asked me to come and visit them one Sunday morning. I thought this would be fun to check out another completely new place.
Arriving downtown, I pulled up to the corners of Mason and Jefferson and found an open parking spot. Blackthorn Pub sits on the corner opposite of George Watt's Tea Shop and the Pfister Hotel. The entire corner of the building is windows that look into the dark, rich wood interior. There are TVs on almost every wall surrounding the large bar, and on my visit, the Packers game was on them. Looking around, there weren't that many people in the restaurant, but then again, they did just start offering brunch.
Out with me for brunch on this occasion was Andrew and my friends Tony and Nicole. We were quickly seated once we arrived and took a moment to look around. There was something that just didn't seem right. Showing on the TV was the Packers game, but the sound coming out of the speakers was a shark show on a different channel. This apparently took some time to fix, although it was funny to hear seagulls and waves crashing while we were watching the teams go head-to-head at Lambeau.
Normally, I try to take the photos with all the drinks in them. However, this time, the coffee was not coming out to the table in enough time. So I took the photo above without the coffee. Actually there was coffee that was served (two at a time), but the glasses were covered in drips and were obviously not washed before being filled and brought to the table. We kindly asked for new coffee cups. Once coffee did come back out to the table, we had been at the table for almost 30 minutes and had already ordered our food. Once coffee was brought to the table, Tony asked for some cream and sugar, Splenda preferably. Our server brought out what appeared to be a soup cup filled with milk and some sugar and Equal. Tony wondered, was he supposed to pour the milk into his cup? Instead, we all just spooned milk into our coffee. At this point, our brunch became comical: wrong sound for the football game, drinks being delivered two at a time with long pauses in the middle, dirty coffee cups and now milk in a soup cup.
Since Andrew and I had been served first, we waited for Tony and Nicole's food to come to the table. This wait took almost five minutes. We could also see our server standing at the other side of the bar standing with the other staff chatting while we waited.
By the time Tony and Nicole's food came to the table, I did not have a chance to take a photo. They dove into their food—which was served 50 minutes after we had walked in the door.
Nicole had ordered the "Omlette Built by You" ($8). She chose to have sausage, mushroom and cheddar omlette with a side of hash browns and toast. However, once she started to eat, she noticed that there was no sausage in her omlette and the mushrooms were not cooked. Rather than wait longer for a new one, she said something to our server and just ate what was in front of her. She also had to ask for her toast to be delivered to the table.
Tony chose the Thorn Cakes ($6) with a side of bacon. Once his food arrived, there was no maple syrup, butter—just a plate with three plain pancakes on it (the menu said four) and a side of cold bacon. Tony asked for the bacon to go back, heated up and asked for syrup and butter. What finally showed up to the table was a small plastic cup of maple syrup and chunks of cold butter. That bacon never did make it back to the table.
In the meantime, none of our drinks had been refilled or refreshed. We were all low on one drink or another, and so we flagged down the hostess as she was walking around. We explained about our dining experience and asked for more drinks. Our server came back to the table and re-took our drink order. Andrew asked for another bloody mary along as did Nicole, however Andrew wanted his not so spicy. We all wanted warm-ups on our coffee.
Our server came back to the table with two bloody marys—both of which had no spice. Nicole was not happy at this point, since her bloody was one of the redeeming point of the morning for her.
The owner came over to our table as we neared the end of our meal and told us that the food and coffee was on him. We only were asked to pay for our drinks. He did present us with a gift certificate and asked us to come back. The gift certificate was for $15—half the dollar amount of what we ordered. We kindly asked for the check and waited for our server.
She handed us our bill and we were shocked. The ticket had Tony's pancakes on it and $8 bloody marys, not $5. The total was $56. We flagged down our server to come and check on the prices and items on the bill. Once she returned, our total bill was $35. We settled up the bill and headed home.
I understand that every restaurant has off days, and sometimes minor errors can be overlooked. However, this dining experience was a "perfect storm" of problems. From cold food to dirty cups—inconsistent service to missing food items, this was probably one of the worst brunches I have ever had. The one glimmer of hope: we only had to pay for what we enjoyed, the bloodys and screwdrivers. Without them, the whole experience would have been lost.
What have been your experiences at Blackthorn Pub? What are some other good entrees? Respond below in the comments!
All the details you want to know: (on a five star rating)
Blackthorn Pub (*)
750 North Jefferson Street
Milwaukee, WI 53202
Sunday: 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Atmosphere: * (poor)
So bright with all the windows to have such a dark wooded interior. Also, the TVs were too loud with the wrong audio from what was on the screen.
Food: * (poor)
Cold, missing items, burnt, inconsistent
Service: * (poor)
Slow to serve food and drinks, did not pay attention to drinks or presentation of food
Drinks: * (poor)
Mimosa - no champagne (*)
Bloody Mary - good, but not made consistently (*)
Did not pay for a brunch, just a Sunday Funday of booze and with some sort of food.