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2017 Summerfest Food Guide: the Good, Bad & Ugly

Apart from being known as the largest music festival in the world, Summerfest is also known for its great (read: indulgent) food options. We set out to taste-test some of the new dishes for 2017 and a few festival favorites, too. Here’s what we thought.

Martino’s Deep Fried Polish Sausage

Price: $8.00
Our Expectations

Upon hearing the name, we immediately thought we would be receiving a Polish sausage with some sort of batter coating on it that had been deep-fried. Possibly on a stick, state-fair corn-dog style.

Description from Martino’s

A deep-fried Polish Sausage with a side of french fries.

Our Reactions

To say the Deep Fried Polish Sausage was not what we were expecting would be an understatement. Instead of a Polish sausage battered and deep-fried, we were handed a very large paper boat that was filled with a Polish sausage that was nearly a foot long and nestled among heaps of salted french fries. While the Polish sausage was tasty, it lacked any sign of having been deep-fried. Though after asking the vendor, they ensured us that it was in fact a deep-fried Polish sausage. 

Walk-ability Rating: 5/10

Due to its immense size and amount of toppings (onions and mustard), you’ll have to take a seat to dig into this Polish sausage without spilling.

Deep-Fried Polish Sausage photo by Meghan Quadracci.

Saz’s Signature Combo Platter

Price: $8.00
Our Expectations

An iconic Summerfest order consisting of Wisconsin cheese curds, crispy mozzarella sticks and the most delicious french fries to be found at Summerfest, paired with sides of ranch and marinara sauce for dipping.

Description from Saz’s

Mozzarella marinara, sour cream and chive fries and cheese curds.

Our Reactions

As always, the Saz’s Signature Combo Platter did not disappoint. The cheese curds were nice and crisp while the wonton-wrapped mozzarella sticks were delicious. The best part of the platter, though, was surprisingly the sour cream and chive french fries. We guarantee that there are no better french fries offered at Summerfest than those on the Saz’s Platter. While it is not the healthiest meal offered at the festival, its an annual indulgence not to pass up.

Walk-ability Rating: 8/10

If it wasn’t for the possibility of spilling the marinara sauce, this dish would be perfect for strolling the Summerfest grounds with.

Saz’s Combo Platter photo by Meghan Quadracci.

Deep-Fried Mojito from Vagabond

Price: $8.00
Our Expectations

We were particularly excited to taste the lime rum flavored cake but wary of the cream cheese. We were hoping for a crisp cake, with balanced flavors coming from the lime and rum. 

Description from Vagabond

Homemade lime rum flavored cake loaded with lime rum flavored simple syrup stuffed with mint cream cheese, battered and deep fried. Topped with lime rum flavored simple syrup and mint whipped cream. Garnished with fresh mint.

Our Reactions

While we were happy with the presentation of the cake —  the fresh mint leaf gave the festival dessert a bit of flair — we were immediately confused by the white cream cheese that dominated the top of the cake. We had expected mint whipped cream and instead had even more cream cheese piped on top. The cake was crisp on the outside, but lacking in rum flavor. The lime rum flavored syrup had been drizzled on top, adding hints of lime and rum flavor, but it was minimal. The inside of the cake was filled with more of the mint cream cheese, which we were not the biggest fans of — and it also lacked mint flavor!

Walk-ability Rating: 4/10

You’ll need a fork to eat the Deep-Fried Mojito, and it’s best to concentrate on the cake rather than maneuvering through crowds of people. 

Vagabond’s Deep-Fried Mojito. Photo by Megan Otto.

Angelo’s Stuffed Pasta Pizza

Price: $8.50
Our Expectations

Stuffed pasta pizza? This is what carb-heaven sounds like, right?

Description from Angelo’s

Garlic Romano crust stuffed with penne pasta, meatballs and Italian sausage, topped with mozzarella cheese and their signature red sauce.

Our Reactions

At first glance, this slice of carb-heaven looks to be a regular slice of pizza–until you cut into it, that is. That’s when the penne pasta spills out of the crust and makes for a messy meal. We like to think of the Stuffed Pasta Pizza as pasta with a side of garlic bread. The Garlic Romano crust was our favorite part and would be enough to have us come back for a second slice.

Walk-ability Rating: 3/10

Its impossible to simply pick up the slice of pizza and eat it without the penne, mozzarella cheese or red sauce sliding to the ground or onto your clothing. Cutlery and a picnic table are necessities for this dish.

Pasta Pizza photo by Meghan Quadracci.

Trinity Three Irish Pubs Chicken N Waffle Cone

Price: $8.00
Our Expectations

We were expecting seasoned pieces of chicken and bacon filled to the brim in a thick savory waffle, allowing for an easy-to-eat meal.

Description from Trinity Three Irish Pubs

Homemade rosemary waffle cone filled with Cajun buttermilk battered chicken, bleu cheese cole slaw, and beer candied bacon drizzled with WSBhoney Lager Light Maple Syrup.

Our Reactions

When we were handed the Chicken N Waffle Cone we were incredibly surprised at how pretty it looked. The waffle cone was wrapped in a newspaper sleeve and was overflowing with chicken and bacon. Despite being so full, the cone was surprisingly neat, and it was easy to pull pieces of chicken and bacon from inside it. The Cajun chicken was spicy, and the bacon was sweet but not as crispy as we thought it would have been. We continued to pull pieces of chicken from inside the cone to eat, and when we were finally able to taste the cone, it reminded us of a slice of cornbread, only crunchy, with a pleasing rosemary flavor. Overall, a quality meal from Summerfest.

Walk-ability Rating: 7/10

The cone allows the eater to pull pieces of chicken and bacon from it, making it easy to eat. The only difficulty comes when actually eating the cone itself.

Chicken N Waffle Cone from Trinity Three Irish Pubs at Summerfest. Photo by Megan Otto.

Peter Sciortino’s Bakery Jumbo Chocolate Oreo Cupcake

Price: $5.50
Our Expectations

A Jumbo Chocolate Oreo Cupcake? Our mouths were watering for something sweet and this new addition to the Sciortino booth was calling our name. 

Description from Peter Sciortino’s

A chocolate cupcake filled with fudge and topped with Oreo buttercream and Oreo cookie crumbles.

Our Reactions

D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S. Really. This Chocolate Oreo Cupcake is a great twist on a classic chocolate cupcake. Summerfest is known for fried food, and this cupcake is a great alternative and will satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth. The buttercream topped with Oreos sets the cupcake apart from other choices at Sciortino’s. 

Walk-ability Rating: 8/10

This cupcake from Peter Sciortino’s is a great choice if you’re looking for something sweet to take on the go. We bumped it up a notch on the walkability scale because it came in a to-go clamshell, perfect for saving for later. Our tip to make eating and walking easiest: break off the bottom of the cupcake and place it on top, creating a jumbo Oreo cupcake sandwich. 

Peter Sciortino’s Bakery Jumbo Chocolate Oreo Cupcake. Photo by Megan Otto.

Pepperoni Pizza Cone from SoLo

Price: $7
Our Expectations

Pizza, in a cone? Festivals are always coming up with new ways to do classics, and we were excited to try the pizza cone. They offered pepperoni, sausage and mac & cheese flavored pizza cones and we decided to go with pepperoni. We were expecting a cone made out of pizza crust, filled with sauce and topped with cheese and pepperoni wrapped inside foil. Not only that, but we were expecting it to be an extremely messy eat.

Description from SoLo

Pepperoni Pizza Cone.

Our Reactions

While we weren’t impressed by the presentation, as the pizza cone was handed to us wrapped in paper and tucked into a paper boat, the pizza cone was surprisingly good and a steal at only $7. The filling was not only sauce, but cheese, pepperoni, and sauce wrapped up. Because it was so tightly wrapped, the pizza cone was also relatively easy to eat. It resembled the texture and shape of a calzone with one open side. Overall, we were impressed with this unique version of a slice of pizza and would happily go back for more!

Walk-ability Rating: 6/10

The pizza cone was relatively easy to eat, but would require some focus while walking so as not to spill any sauce. Because of the crisp texture of the cone, it is easy to hold and bite out of while walking. 

Pepperoni Pizza Cone from SoLo. Photo by Megan Otto.



Megan Otto is a digital and editorial intern at Milwaukee Magazine. She currently attends the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has previously interned in London.