Water Street Brewery - Great Traditional Brunch

One of my favorite characteristics of Milwaukee that I love is the city's history. From the beginning as three different villages, to the brewing powerhouse of the world, to today. Milwaukee has embraced this history and proudly displays it. One such restaurant that shows off Milwaukee's history is Water Street Brewery. Not only is it a functioning brewery, but the space, decor and food celebrates Milwaukee's brewing history.

Located along Water Street a couple blocks north of City Hall, Water Street Brewery is on the corner that begins a track of drinking establishments. However, don't assume that this brew house is packed with college students. This restaurant offers some great microbrew beers and good food. Along one wall they have a collection of old beer cans. One can take a glimpse back through time at how beer cans and designs have evolved over time. In the main dining area, the Cream City brick walls are adorned with large, old  black and white photos of some of Milwaukee's landmarks. Sitting there and looking around, one gets the sense of Milwaukee's importance as a brewery city.

My parents joined me for this brunch review again. They enjoyed reading the reviews and wanted to explore another Milwaukee restaurant's brunch. We chose Water Street Brewery because it was one of the first places we visited five years ago when I was looking for apartments. It was a great trip back down memory lane.

Upon walking through the door, we were greeted by the hostess and ushered to our table. The wonderful smell of brewing beer and yeast were thick in the air. We sat at our table and looked over the menu. There was a variety of "eye openers" (drinks) to choose from. My dad chose Bailey's and coffee ($6.50), while my mom selected a tequila sunrise ($5.50). I ordered my usual, coffee, mimosa ($6.00) and water. The drinks came to the table quickly, and we took our first sips. Each of us were pleased with our choices. The Baileys and coffee was a great blend of flavors—not too overpowering with Baileys. The tequila sunrises brought my mom right back to her college days. She said it reminded her of when she and her roommate would go out on a Friday night. My mimosa a great—a large glass, no pulp and a little tart.

We looked over the menu and figured out what we wanted to eat. My dad chose the Traditional Eggs Benedict ($9.95). Served with fresh fruit and breakfast potatoes, this entree looked good. My mouth was watering when it was set down in front of him. The eggs were nicely poached with an excellent Hollandaise sauce. The potatoes were lightly dressed in a creamy Parmesan sauce. It was similar to a Caesar dressing, and it added a nice flavor to the potatoes. Adding more color to the dish was a large slice of watermelon, oranges, and strawberries. It looked like a great well-rounded meal sitting on the plate, and my Dad really liked it.

My mom ordered her favorite, Steak and Eggs ($10.95). It was a massive amount of food. The eggs were poached and placed on English muffins, however the yolks were cooked the whole way through. She would have preferred to have the yolks runny. In contrast, her steak was cooked perfectly—rare. Garnished with the same side of breakfast potatoes and fresh fruit, this entree was more than enough for her. She ended up leaving some potatoes and most of the fruit on the plate.

I ordered the Frangelican French Toast ($9.95). I thought that the steak and eggs was a large portion until I saw this heap of food on the plate. These three thick slices of bread are soaked in a Frangelico liqueur battere and topped with candied pecans and powdered sugar. Served with a side of the Parmesan dressed potatoes, two slices of bacon and fresh fruit, this plate is good enough to split between two people. I was only able to eat a slice and a half of the toast, some potatoes and the fruit before I called it quits. It was definitely worth the price!

So, if you are looking for a great place to have an amazing meal with large portions of food and some Milwaukee brewing history on the side, make plans to have brunch at Water Street Brewery. For a total of about $16 per person, the brewery delivers on taste and portion.  Located on Water Street and Highland, street parking is a little hard to find. Be prepared to walk to the restaurant.

Until next weekend, have a great week and happy brunching!

What have been your experiences at Water Street Brewery? What are some other good entrees? Respond below in the comments!

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

Water Street Brewery (****)
1101 N Water St
Milwaukee, WI 53202

(414) 272-1195
Water Street Brewery on Urbanspoon

Brunch hours:
Saturday and Sunday: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Atmosphere: **** (very good)
Cream City brick, large copper brewing kettles, historic photos of the city and one whole wall of old beer cans

Food: ***** (awesome)
Large portions of traditional brunch fare

Service: *** (pretty good)
Our server, Sara, was friendly, knowledgeable of the menu, and made our brunch a memorable one.

Drinks: ****
Mimosa - **** (very good)
Bloody Mary - n/a
Tequila Sunrise - **** (very good)
Bailey's and Coffee - **** (very good)

Price: **** (very good)
Around $16 a person with a bit to take home for later.

Chez Jacques - A Taste of Paris

Our summer of guest brunch reviews starts with Nicole Adrian, a writer by day and a local food blogger for On My Table Blog on the side. She enjoys to cook, eat, drink and write about those experiences! Check out her blog or follow her on Twitter, @OnMyTableBlog

This Sunday, two friends, my husband and I did the Miller Lite Ride for the Arts. Before we even signed up for the ride, we decided brunch was a must-do after riding 25 miles. I wanted to go somewhere I had never been for brunch and somewhere that was close to the finish line at the Summerfest grounds. Chez Jacques, in Milwaukee’s Fifth Ward/Walker’s Point, fit the bill. I, as well as another friend out for brunch with us, had been to Chez Jacques for dinner a few years ago. From what we remembered, the food was good, the prices were right and the place was “cute.”

Fortunately, a few years later and much earlier in the day, the same holds true for brunch at Chez Jacques. Everyone’s food was very good, the service was great, the place was still “cute” and hopping with lots of people. I wasn’t sure how crowded it would be, as there isn’t much else in that area of town—at least that is open early on a Sunday—but the place was packed with families, other bike riders and couples and friends out for brunch.  

Chez Jacques includes a bar area with table seating looking out at First Street, plus a few dining rooms and a lovely outdoor area. Since it looked like rain was coming our way, we elected to sit inside. Next time, however, I’d love to sit outside in the fenced-in dining area.

We spent quite a bit of time trying to decide what to order. The menu has lots of good options—the biggest decision was deciding between sweet or savory. In the end, three of the four of us went for savory. The menu has lots to choose from: omlettes, crepes, sandwiches, croissant sandwiches, salads, gourmet plates, soups and quiches. There were six or so specials, too, including three quiches specials.

My husband, Nate, and I each ordered a Bloody Mary ($6). It was good—rather spicy, which is how we like them made—but nothing really special. It didn’t come with all the bloody Mary fixings you often see, other than a small green olive and a very small pickle. And, sadly, no beer chaser. (The glass was filled, by the way—I just forgot to take a picture until about five sips into it!) Really, this was the only slightly disappointing part of the experience.

Emily, the lone sweet tooth for brunch, ordered the poached pears crepe  ($7.95). It was very tasty and not overly sweet. In addition to the pears, the crepe included slivered almonds and whipped cream.  ($7.95) 

Leah ordered the vegetable and feta croissant sandwich ($7.75), which came with a huge amount of scrambled egg on top and fresh fruit on the side. The veggies inside included eggplant, roasted red pepper and zucchini. She also ordered a side of roasted potatoes ($1.95, not pictured), which were basic, but good.

Nate ordered one of the daily specials: smoked salmon and eggs drizzled with crème fraiche atop a huge potato pancake ($12.95). It was very good. The salmon wasn’t super smoky like it can sometimes be and the crème fraiche gave every bite a bit of a sweet taste. The flavors were perfect, and the portion was huge. 

I ordered one of the daily quiches ($9): goat cheese, leek and bacon. I normally am not a bacon eater, but the mention of goat cheese and leeks won me over. I’m very glad I tried it. The flavors were right on, and the bacon, which I normally find to be a too-overpowering, was great for the quiche. I’ve ordered quiche at other restaurants and find that it often tastes like it’s been sitting a while and it’s barley warm. Not this one—it was very fresh (the waitress said they make them every morning) and it was a perfect temperature. The slice of quiche came with a side salad and a great, spicy mustard dressing. We used it as dip for the potatoes, too. 

Overall, brunch at Chez Jacques was a wonderful experience. I will definitely go back. There is plenty more I’d like to try on the menu. The service was great, too. Our waitress was attentive and our water glasses were never empty. I thought the prices were good, although maybe a bit on the expensive side, but nothing too crazy.

What have been your experiences at Chez Jacques? What are some other good entrees? Respond below in the comments!

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

Chez Jacques (****)
1022 South 1st Street
Milwaukee, WI 53204
(414) 672-1040

Chez Jacques on Urbanspoon

Brunch hours:
Sunday: Beginning at 10 a.m.

Atmosphere: **** (very good)

Food: ****½ (very good)

Service: **** (very good)

Drinks: ***
Mimosa - n/a
Bloody Mary - *** (pretty good)

Price: ***½ (pretty good)
Around $15 per person

What is Your Favorite Brunch Spot?

With the summer months upon us, downtown Milwaukee will be overflowing with new people to the city. Outdoor concerts, cultural festivals or, my favorite, the fireworks, visitors will be able to partake in the wonderful richness of our city that we get to experience every day.

I know that I have my personal favorite brunch spots in this city, but I am really interested to hear where you frequent. This is the reason why I wanted to do the summer "guest reviews" to hear from you, my readers. However, if you thought that the pressure was too much to write an entire review, what about just a quick comment.

On to this Friday's Question: What is your favorite brunch spot and why? Is it the eggs benedict or the bloody mary? The city view or the cute server?

I want to know! I am figuring out where I need to go this summer, and I want your help!

So comment below, and I hope you are able to get out and brunch on a patio! Looks like it's going to be a good one. Until Monday, enjoying the weekend and happy brunching.
Willing to go? 
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