Nite Owl Is Open for the Season!

The delicious burgers is a sign of Spring.

The snow hasn’t vanished, but this seminal burger is imparting a spring-like air. Nite Owl – the seasonal, South Side drive-in (830 E. Layton Ave.) – is back to flipping and frying!

What that means is that a juicy, thick patty can visit your belly Tuesdays-Saturdays, from 11 a.m. until Nite Owl sells out. They sell out because they get a finite amount of ground beef each day for their hand-made burgers and when it’s gone, you’re out of luck. And sometimes that’s as early as 1 or 2 in the afternoon.

It’s no surprise that the double cheeseburger made by this 75-year-old, family-owned operation won our Burger Bracket in 2020. Their opponent was no slouch either – Oscar’s The Big Gringo. 



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On one of our last staff lunch outings before the pandemic, we went for burgers at Nite Owl, sitting inside (which has happened much less often in my experience than hitting the walk-up window) and one of my (now former) co-workers ordered the double cheeseburger. It might have had bacon on it, too. This thing was huge. We watched all agog while he finished this behemoth – and returned to a productive afternoon at work. He did say he didn’t eat for another 36 hours.

I’m not sure why I’m telling you this except that you might consider this before you order a double. A single is truly plenty, especially if you get it with fries or (my pick) onion rings. Definitely think about ice cream too. Maybe a turtle sundae?

And remember to bring bills. They only take cash.




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.