6 Milwaukee Foods That Taste Even Better in the Fall

Fall is the perfect time to revisit these classic Milwaukee dishes.

With fall upon us here in Milwaukee, let’s take a look at some local dishes that don’t need pumpkin spice to make them ideal eats for the autumn season.

Grilled Bratwurst: It’s almost blasphemous to suggest that there is a proper grilling season in Wisconsin. So long as the sun rises and Lake Michigan is not spewing forth blood, it’s a good day for grilling. A chill in the air adds a little something when grilling up your favorite brats and, if you and your crew slop down a few beers during the process, you can use the picnic table a few more times this year before it gets covered in snow.

Gouda Girl Katherine Tonn serves up grilled cheese
and smiles. Photo by Chris Kessler.

Food Truck Favorites: Until it really turns cold, many of the city’s favorite food trucks (and likely some new ones!) remain in operation. From the gooey comfort food of the Gouda Girls (my God, try the grilled Mac n Cheese) to deep fried delights of Marco Pollo, nothing can match some great local cuisine while strolling through the fallen leaves.

Hot Ham & Rolls: Owning its popularity to the city’s largely Catholic (and notoriously frugal) Polish population, small groceries offering six free rolls with a pound of boiled ham has long been a Sunday tradition in Milwaukee. Catholics were not supposed to eat before Mass, so many families wanted something fast and ready after Sunday church services. Wherever you spend your Sunday mornings, a hot ham sandwich is a perfect way to tide yourself over until the feast that accompanies afternoon football.

Sweet potato is one of the flavors Johnathan Dye bakes out of the kitchen of South Side restaurant Jackson Grill. Photo by Adam Ryan Morris; dishes courtesy of Plates etc; background courtesy of Alt’s Antiques & Floral.

Mr. Dye’s Pies: Fall is the season for hearty eating, and dessert is an essential part of that tradition. Any of the offerings from Milwaukee’s premiere pie-maker would be a great capper to an autumn meal, but the Purple Monster – a sweet potato pie made with purple yams – is the perfect complement to the season.

Beer Cheese Soup: Some fall days leave you wanting nothing more than something that is easy, comforting, and hot. Beer cheese soup – as uniquely a local dish as its name suggests – fits that mold perfectly. Toss in some veggies, a few seasonings, a mountain of cheese and a tall boy, and you’re all set. An hour later and you’ve got something that will take the chill out of your bones and almost put you to sleep.

Fall Veggies from the West Allis Farmer’s Market: The West Allis Farmers’ Market runs through the end of November, so you’ve got a few more chances to stock up on sweet potatoes, butternut squash, Brussels sprouts and kohlrabi. All make for great (and healthy!) additions to fall dining.

Photo courtesy of the West Allis Farmers Market