If you’ve ever tried to have a “Taco Wednesday,” you know how unsatisfying it can be to pay full price for a meal that was on special only a day earlier. Here are the best weekday lunch specials at some of our favorite downtown restaurants.
The Harp Irish Pub: Start the week off right with 50-cent wings on the river. Business folk can be seen throughout the summer dining on the waterfront patio, wiping house-made buffalo sauce from their ties. While The Harp can get rowdy on weekends (and St. Patrick’s Day!), the Monday lunch rush is anything but.
Vagabond: This kitschy Mexican eatery features daily food and drink specials, street tacos and an Airstream trailer for a bar. And while many taco joints piously participate in the communion of Taco Tuesday (and Thursday), Vagabond also offers a unique Burrito Monday special. It doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, but you can’t blame the food for its alliterative failures. Grab an $8 burrito every Monday and, depending on how your Monday is going, consider partaking of their other Monday specials: half off Rudy’s Classic Margaritas and $2 mystery shots of tequila.
Camino: They call it “Meat Sweat Mondays,” and yet we’re still enticed. Head to the Walker’s Point eatery every Monday for a $5 burger or sausage lunch. And if the phrase “meat sweat” leaves you cold and clammy, be sure to check out their specials menu for a different deal every day.
BelAir Cantina: If you’re at BelAir and it’s not a Tuesday or a Thursday, you must not like saving money. Like Vagabond, BelAir touts a laid-back vibe that’s “Mexican with some California flair.” With a rotating cast of $2 tacos and tamales, Tuesdays and Thursdays at BelAir are siempre delicioso. Order three or more tacos and they’ll throw in the rice and beans for free! This may be one of the cheapest Milwaukee lunches available, and if you indulge in the chips and salsa before your meal arrives, the leftovers might just last you through Wednesday’s lunch, too.
Take-Out Tuesdays: We love a good food truck, and Schlitz Park does, too! Head down to Cherry St. on Tuesdays between April and October (weather permitting) for a veritable parade of ambulatory food options from local vendors. Offerings vary from week to week (it’s part of the fun!) but you might be able to spot some of our favorite trucks in the queue. Keep your eyes out for Meat on the Street (Filipino fare), Roll MKE (their famed brisket grilled cheese often sells out, and for good reason), The Falafel Guys (need we say more?) and Sushi Go (“Milwaukee’s first and only sushi food truck”—yes, really).
The Pizza Man: Try not to let the half-price wine promo distract you (unless Wednesday is your day off!) from the amazing pizza specials that this renowned Milwaukee eatery offers every Wednesday: buy one, get one free on all large pizzas. Come for the Pizza Man Special and stay for the Apugliese. Or maybe come for the Atomica and stay for Capricciosa. Either way, you get to pick two. Even better news? This deal’s good for dinner, as well.
Transfer Pizzeria Café: If you think Pizza Wednesday sounds about as good as Burrito Monday, you’re in luck, because we have a second pizza deal! Walker’s Point’s own Transfer Pizzeria Café is serving up lunch discounts on Wednesday, too. And this one’s short and sweet: the “Walker Rebate” grants 20 percent off your meal if you bus or bike to the restaurant. That sounds like reason enough to leave the car behind.
Blue’s Egg: cult breakfast favorite has a different special every day of the week, but we’re particularly partial to their Washington Wednesday special, which truly tests how far a dollar can stretch. Add a number of items to your order for only a buck on Wednesdays, including their famous monkey bread or a shot of liquor for your coffee (no judgment).
Café Corazon: Good news for vegans, vegetarians, flexitarians and anyone who’s looking to limit their consumption of animal products: Café Corazon in Riverwest offers $1 off all vegan meals during lunchtime every Thursday. Their lunch menu makes it easy to turn any meal vegan, replacing meat with herb tofu, soy chorizo or sautéed vegetables.
Buffalo Wild Wings: You can’t go wrong with the ever-bingeable boneless hot wing! B-Dubs’ Milwaukee-area locations are numerous, all offering half price boneless wings every Thursday. Among the many daily wing specials available in Brew City, this is one of the few that starts in time for lunch.
Zaffiro’s Pizza: For the Thursdays when you miss your mom’s home cooked meals, enjoy Mama Z’s pastas, spaghetti or mostaccioli. For just $6, allow Zaffiro’s Thursday special the chance to try and outcook your mom.
Screaming Tuna: The sushi joint’s “Lunch with a View” special is exactly what it sounds like—a delicious mid-day meal on Milwaukee’s scenic riverfront in the Third Ward. Choose from fifteen different sushi options, all with sides included, for a total of only $10.
Fish Fries Galore: It wouldn’t be a Milwaukee Friday without a fish fry. Head to an old standard for lunch or check out our readers’ favorites and try a new place. There’s just something about fried fish—the meal on any other day would not taste as sweet!
All Week Long:
Old German Beer Hall: They say there’s no such thing as a free lunch, but OGBH is doing its part to put an end to that silly rumor. Every weekday during lunch, buy any Hofbräu beer, root beer or cocktail and you’ll get a sausage with sauerkraut and choice of side—yep, for free!
Rice N Roll Bistro: If you’re looking for sushi, look no further than Rice N Roll Bistro, which has an entire menu dedicated to their lunch-only sushi and Thai specials. Can’t choose between “rice” and “roll?” Get the “Two Nations Lunch Special,” a sushi and Thai food combo that’s the best of both worlds.
Pizzeria Piccola: Head to Wauwatosa for one of the most affordable and satisfying lunch combos in town. Pizzeria Piccola, the Bartolotta group’s answer to Neapolitan pizza in Tosa Village, features a half-and-half option at lunch: half of a pizza or panini with a side soup or salad for only $7.25. Enjoy lunch in their cozy loft dining room in the winter months or while away a summer afternoon on their secret garden-esque patio. Just don’t forget to go back to work eventually!
Casablanca: The vegetarian lunch buffet ($8.95 for all-you-can-eat Middle Eastern fare) is a great way to try new things. Sample their delicious baba ghanoush, hummus, falafel and more, and then go back for seconds on your favorites. If you just can’t stomach a meatless meal, Casablanca will throw in a side of your choice of meat for only $4.95 extra.
Classic Slice: This may be the raddest lunch spot Milwaukee has to offer. Head over to Bayview any day of the week to enjoy a “classic” slice of cheese, pepperoni or sausage pizza and an ice cold fountain drink for just $5.75. Better yet, students can enjoy this special all day long!
Kyoto: Like many other Asian restaurants, Kyoto offers pretty sweet daily lunch deals from 11-3 p.m. Choose any two sushi rolls for just $8.95 or any three sushi rolls for just $10.95. Looking for more of a variety? Try a lunch with a choice of soup, white rice and a vegetable egg roll for under $10.
Beans & Barley: Indulge in a Throwback Thursday (or a Way Back Wednesday, or a Flashback Friday…this deal’s good all week long!) and get a bag lunch to go, just like Mom used to make. Beans & Barley’s All Purpose Bag Lunch includes your choice of sandwich, potato salad, fruit salad and of course, a cookie.
Harbor House: Maybe save this one for payday, or if you’re impressing clients from out of town. Harbor House, considered by many to have the best view of any restaurant in Milwaukee, offers a two-course, prix fixe lunch menu every day of the week for $19.