50 Reasons to Love Milwaukee

We stopped at 50. (But we’ve already got big plans for next year…) See these delectable, dynamic, inherently defensible rationales for our deep devotion.

By Kurt Chandler, Ann Christenson, Alexa Grunwaldt, Matt Hrodey, Marcella Jones, Sarah Lange, Howie Magner and Sara Trimble. Edited by Claire Hanan

It’s that time of year again when we haul out the nostalgia machine and count the reasons why the people, events and places make us appreciate living in Milwaukee.

Take the traffic. “It’s not that bad,” says Senior Editor Matt Hrodey, who used data to chart how our traffic congestion compares to that of other similarly sized cities. “This isn’t Rhinelander,” he reminds us. “There are going to be other cars on the road.” See? Even we need this annual dose of love and affirmation, and luckily, this city often makes it easy.

1. Milwaukee Public Market’s Ticket Takers
In the long list of underappreciated jobs, parking lot attendant has to be near the top. That isn’t the case at the Milwaukee Public Market, where its parking lot attendants “can literally make or break people’s day,” says Paul Schwartz, the Public Market’s operation and communications manager. We can attest to that. Rain, shine or sleet, Beth, Charlie, Jeff, Ben, Kayla and Cesar are out there, helping drivers with their ticket stubs. So is Lucas, often with his guitar, which he has been spotted playing with a smile even in the most inclement weather. Taking these tickets was Lucas’ first job, Schwartz explains, and he expressed interest in learning to play the guitar in his downtime – an A-OK perk of the job. It wasn’t long after he had taught himself to play that he worked up the confidence to perform at an open-mic night in a Riverwest bar. “When I hired him, he could barely look me in the eye,” Schwartz says, “and now he can get on stage.” (CH)

35. Fried Cheese Curds
Palomino keeps the squeak and adds the beer-batter crunch to its fried cheese curds – creamy nuggets, battered by hand and served hot as blazes from the fryer with a choice of sauces. (AC)

Photo by Adam Ryan Morris.
Photo by Adam Ryan Morris.

47. The Sausage Taste Test
It is a glorious (OK, gluttonous) tradition at this magazine to use our stomachs as guinea pigs, and this year was no different. On a hot Saturday in August, magazine staffers set out to determine the best Wisconsin-made brat, a task that was not as difficult as it sounds. Managing Editor Howie Magner fired up his grill and prepared the brats (no parboiling!), and then the real work began. Out of Johnsonville, Klement’s and Usinger’s, the 135-year-old Usinger’s classic recipe took the crown for its balanced spices and considerable juice. (CH)

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‘50 Reasons to Love Milwaukee’ appears in the October 2015 issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

Find the October issue on newsstands Oct. 5

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