5 Fabulous Brunch Spots in Milwaukee

Put on your resting brunch face, exhale deeply and lean into the weekend.


Let’s settle the debate right here and now: Breakfast and brunch are decidedly different. Brunch suggests the weekend. It also suggests a later start time (say, 10) – and, with that some menu items more typical of lunch. With work commitments temporarily halted – for many of us, at least – there’s also some loosening of the imbibing belt. Here are five picks for a long, leisurely brunch: 

1. Harbor House  

SUN 11 A.M.-2 P.M. | 550 N. HARBOR DR.  

Bookmark this one for when you want to feel extravagant. The seafood arm of the Bartolotta Restaurants empire offers a three-course, prix fixe meal that befits the restaurant’s white tablecloth level of sophistication. Some highlights from this feast are the pastry basket (croissants, Danish); Maryland crab cake and shellfish bisque appetizers; entrées of lobster eggs Benedict and Hudson Valley sea scallops; and carrot cake and Key lime pie for dessert. And nowhere else in town will you have that Great Lake maritime view. $36-$95.

Harbor House; Photo courtesy of Harbor House


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2. Story Hill BKC 

SAT-SUN 9 A.M.-2 P.M. | 5100 W. BLUEMOUND RD. 

The brother of Blue’s Egg is from the school of deeply thought-out brunch plates. Instead of a burrito, they serve a crêp-urrito stuffed with scrambled eggs and Saxon cheese and served with roasted marble potatoes. Try it. The frittata is great, brimming with bacon, house dried tomatoes and Hook’s aged cheddar. I didn’t know I needed another version of avocado toast until I had it here, which adds lentil purée, cucumber, thinly sliced radish and sea salt to the mix. $8-$17. 

3. Le Rêve Patisserie & Café 


The French don’t really do brunch, which is wild since some of the brunch greats – that are beloved in the States – are French creations. Think of savory or sweet crêpes and the sandwiches croque monsieur and madame (which is a monsieur with a basted egg on top). At Le Rêve, those are some of the best items on the brunch menu. The crêpes, offered in three savory varieties, are a road to over-the-top richness – order the confit de canard (duck) and you’ll see what I mean. The croque monsieur is defined by the melted Gruyère cheese and Dijon mornay sauce. And I have to give a shout-out to the pain perdu (French toast, with berry coulis and Chantilly cream), which isn’t a French invention at all, but rather dates to ancient Rome. $13-$26. 

4. Comet Café 

SAT-SUN 9 A.M.-3 P.M. 1947 N. FARWELL AVE. 

The scrappy East Side haunt that’s been part of the Honeypie/Palomino family for the last year is the first place I experienced bacon inside a pancake. The salty cake is a natural with maple syrup, and it’s a Comet classic. But these days I go in a very different direction here, either to the fried chicken (thigh) and biscuits with hot honey and a sunny-side-up egg, or the mushroom toast with wild mushrooms, pickled red onion, beer cheese and arugula, topped with a sunny egg. The hash browns are also done to a crisp, delicious chestnut-brown. $12-$16. 

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5. Engine Company No. 3 

WED-SUN 8:30-2 P.M. | 217 W. NATIONAL AVE. 

Though not limited to enjoying on the weekend, this brunch menu encourages that spirit of sharing – similar to its sister small plates restaurant La Merenda. And just like its relation, the menu calls out different parts of the world, from Spanish patatas bravas to American Cajun shrimp and polenta to Chinese duck confit fried rice. If you’re ready to stray from the ordinary, there are delicious finds here, such as the seasonal risotto topped with a poached egg, and the huevos divorciados (divorced eggs) served with corn tortillas, red and green salsas, fried eggs and house-smoked beef. $6-$18. 


This story is part of Milwaukee Magazine’s August issue.

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Ann Christenson has covered dining for Milwaukee Magazine since 1997. She was raised on a diet of casseroles that started with a pound of ground beef and a can of Campbell's soup. Feel free to share any casserole recipes with her.