Introducing our new series: Where to Get… If you’re looking to try a new food trend or a beloved Milwaukee favorite at a new establishment, we’ve got you covered. We provide the recs, you decide the rankings. Next time someone says “I wonder where to get…” direct them to Milwaukee Magazine.
Many Milwaukee area folks have never heard of booyah, a hearty chicken stew with Belgian roots. In some areas north of Brew City, however, the stew is just as much of a staple as brats and cheese curds.
Door County, and especially the Green Bay area (Brussels in particular), are booyah hot spots, due to the number of Belgian immigrants who settled the area in the 1800s. The stew is so ingrained in Green Bay culture that the city renamed their collegiate baseball team, originally the Green Bay Bullfrogs, Green Bay Booyah.
“Green Bay is like the mecca for booyah. We call it chicken soup on steroids,” said Dan Nitka, whose son, Nicholas, owns local eatery The Booyah Shed.
Nitka noted that the stew, which is immensely popular year-round, typically takes around 12 hours to cook and is often prepared in large quantities on a wood-fired kettle.
Booyah can include beef broth and a variety of vegetables, among them cabbage, carrots and green beans. “There’s no right or wrong way to make (the stew),” Nitka added. “Whatever you have, throw it in the kettle.”
Many Wisconsin restaurants offer the stew. The next time you decide to take a road trip around the state, consider filling up on booyah at one of these establishments.
“We can do up to 90 gallons at once,” Nitka said, adding that The Booyah Shed sold that amount in a mere hour and a half at a summer church picnic last year.
1800 S. Ashland Ave., Green Bay; (920)371-6249
Zesty’s, known for its custard, prides itself on using Wisconsin ingredients and equipment, from Leon’s Frozen Custard to Patrick Cudahy bacon. The restaurant also offers homemade booyah and chili.
508 Greene Ave., Green Bay; (920)884-0505 | 2639 Lineville Rd., Green Bay; (920)857-9067 | 3718 Riverside Dr., De Pere; (920)336-2601
Belgian Delight, owned by brothers Dean and Gary Vandertie, has an extensive menu that includes Belgian waffles, omelets, ribs, hamburgers and homemade soups made from family recipes — like Ma’s Homemade Chicken Booyah with Noodles.
1100 County C, Brussels; (920)825-1111
Besides booyah and other homemade soups, this banquet hall features typical American fare — burgers, fries, seafood and nachos.
1580 Bellvue St., Green Bay; (920)469-0055
This cozy Door County spot has a limited menu — only four soup options, including Bohemian Potato Chowder — but the homemade soups have garnered rave reviews. Czarnuszka owner Paul Wanish said the restaurant only serves booyah every couple of weeks, so it’s best to call ahead for the daily menu.
Wanish added that Northeastern Wisconsin is “where the real Booyah resides — small-town church picnics and festivals, cooked in big booyah kettles and stirred with an oar.”
9922 N. Water St., Fish Creek; (920)634-9649
Located in the Harley-Davidson museum, Motor serves up pub favorites, such as maple bacon wings, a quesadilla burger, fried pickles and several soups.
According to its menu, the booyah stew is “an amazing combination of chicken, beef and veggies thrown into a pot to let the flavors do their own thing.”
400 W. Canal St., Milwaukee; (877)436-8738