8 Milwaukee Restaurants We Can’t Wait for in 2019

8 Milwaukee Restaurants We Can’t Wait for in 2019

Newly opened or soon to be, these are the spots we can’t wait to check out in 2019.

1) Fauntleroy

Croque madame photo via Fauntleroy

The second restaurant from the DanDan owners/chefs is a loose, modern interpretation of French cuisine. Yes, there’s foie gras, escargot, pâté, mussels and other traditional-sounding things: They’re not trying to be Alain Ducasse. The ’70s rock music (Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin) sets a very boisterous tone in the relaxed though polished dining room. After its late July opening, I’ve given this buzzy restaurant time to find its footing; expect a review in early 2019. (316 N. Milwaukee St.)
opened July, 2018


2) Ca’Lucchenzo

Zak and Sarah Baker in fron of their home; photo by Kat Schleicher

Zak and Sarah Baker, the rock-solid duo at least partially responsible for the success of the Pizza Man empire, are adding “restaurateur” to their résumés. They met when both were working for Bartolotta Restaurants, and now in the place where they call all the shots, they plan to deep-dive into homey, rustic homemade pastas along with apps, soups and salads. With Sarah’s wine-director background, the list of Italian wines should be molto bene. (6030 W. North Ave., Wauwatosa)
opening in 2019

These may be the best of the up-and-coming restaurants (we think), but what about the best restaurants that came up in 2018? CLICK HERE to read Ann’s picks for best restaurants of 2018.

3) Don’s Diner & Cocktails

Image courtesy of Stand Eat Drink Hospitality Group

The 2018 diner is no hole-in-the-wall – as enjoyable as that experience can be. A sibling of Hotel Madrid, Movida and others, Don’s hits the 1950s vibe with a contemporary, stylish aesthetic. And menu-wise, its foundation is diner-y (breakfast served all day) but with flourishes like foie gras on the burger and lamb meatballs served with a mushroom-truffle demi-glace, it sounds like it’s redefining stereotypes. (1100 S. First St.)
opened October, 2018

4) Wild Roots

Photo of chef’s counter courtesy of Wild Roots’ owners

A collaboration between Chef Thi Cao (executive chef at Buckley’s Restaurant, a position he holds through the end of 2018) and farmer Bryan DeStefanis (Big City Greens), Wild Roots focuses on foods grown, forgaged or hunted here in Wisconsin. It opens in West Allis some time in early 2019. (6807 W. Becher St., West Allis)
opening in 2019

5) Press Waffles

Newaukee Night Market 2017
Photo by Kelly Durkin

You may have seen, approached and devoured the carby delights from the cute vintage trailer that turns out crispy, decadently dressed Liège-style waffles at farmers markets and special events across the city. If you haven’t, you gotta! That business is called Press and it’s coming to a retail space in the Third Ward’s Marshall Building. (207 E. Buffalo St.)
opening in 2019


6) Merge

Just a few months after opening Char’d, the Korean fusion retreat in the Third Ward, the owners announced a sibling in the works, this time in the (short-lived) old Yokohama digs. Just as the menu is creatively spun at Char’d, Merge aims for a relaxed, counter-service take on bar food, with a Korean twist. That means Korean fried chicken wings, fried dumplings and (yes, this is Korean street food) corn dogs. Interior design is inspired by the murals in nearby Black Cat Alley. (1932 E. Kenilworth Pl.)
opened November, 2018

7) Crossroads Collective

Crossroads Collective photo by Alyce K. Peterson

The food hall Crossroads Collective has the makings of something transformative for the corner of Farwell and North. The micro hall (less than 10,000 square feet) debuted with six local vendors (room for two more), a central bar and a speakeasy. There’s also an oyster bar to come. Food halls might be a new trend — 3rd St. Market Hall is also opening soon in the former Grand Avenue Mall. (2238 N. Farwell Ave.)
opened December, 2018

8) Uncle Wolfie’s Breakfast Tavern

Photo by Mann Frau

The new breakfast destination shares a building with boutique Orange & Blue Co. in Brewer’s Hill. The menu features a breakfast burrito, three kinds of eggs Benedict, steak and eggs, PB&J French toast, johnny cakes with butter and syrup, a sweet potato and chorizo omelet and pulled pork tostada ($7-$18). (234 E. Vine St.)
opened December, 2018

“On Our Radar in 2019” appears in the December 2018 issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

Buy a copy at milwaukeemag.com/shop or find the December issue on newsstands, starting Dec. 3.

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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.