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Stilt House Rules
A new gastrobar injects quiet downtown Cedarburg with beer-fueled energy.


Photo by Chris Kessler

In a black-and-white photo, circa early 1900s, workmen pose, arms akimbo, outside a building raised on wooden stilts. The building’s then-tenant ran a tavern in the ground-level space. When he couldn’t get permission from his landlord to add a second floor to the building, he took matters into his own hands. When the first floor, in effect, became the second, he had room to build underneath.

The Stilt House, the newest tenant, pays homage to a history that would otherwise have been forgotten. Keith Reid (who was MillerCoors exec for 17 years) and Gordon Goggin (former operations director for Lowlands restaurant group) injected the sleepy, quaint main drag with an uncharacteristic post-8 p.m. vitality.

The wooden bar isn’t original to the space, but the partners believe their tin ceiling is a relic from the early days. Thirty rotating beer taps is their claim to drinking fame. (Wine drinker instead? They’ve got a list of bottled and by-the-glass options, too.) Servers squeeze between the standing-room-only crowd, raising high their serving plates of mini burgers, tacos, tuna tartare, and other small plates. They’ve set a nice rhythm here, cementing the menu with a solid lineup of plates, especially the tenderloin sliders with ale-braised onions and smoked Gouda on pretzel buns ($10.95), Stilt burger ($6.95), and red pear, feta and bacon flatbread ($5.95). Stilted? By no means. Good on ya, Cedarburg. 

This article appears in the March 2014 issue of Milwaukee Magazine.
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