Where to Shop for the Best Memorial Day Weekend Grilling Ingredients

Here are six local grocers to consider when buying your grilling ingredients for this holiday weekend.

ON MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND, it is inevitable that it will rain. Come on! It always does. But it is also inevitable that you’ll want to have a cookout – or two. This year, shopping is a little trickier, and you may want to try to get everything you need in one shopping mission. Fortunately that’s do-able!

Here are some tips for where to shop. You provide the grill and relaxing setting. One tip: For the best selection, don’t wait until Monday to do your shopping.

1. Bunzel’s Meats and Catering

9015 W. Burleigh St. | 414-873-7960

Easily one of the best butcher shops in town. And as far as meats go, they have everything – homemade brats (several kinds) and hot dogs, ground beef for burgers, stuffed pork chops, chicken thighs and breasts, ribs and steaks (flat-iron, bacon-wrapped filets, porterhouse and more). In the on-site deli, you can stock up on most everything that goes well with grilled meats. Potato salads, pasta salads, (want snacks?) cheese and deli meats, and baked goods such as fruit-filled strudels, cookies and brownies and fresh baked pies. Some items can be ordered ahead for “dockside” pickup. 

2. Rupena’s Fine Foods

7641 W. Beloit Rd., West Allis |414-543-7447

This classic (96-year-old!) neighborhood grocery store offers a terrific butcher department with lots of choices in the case. Besides a range of fresh sausages, they have ground meat, various cuts of chicken (including wings), ribs, steaks, and shish kebabs ready to throw on the grill. Rupena’s is also a full-service grocery store stocked with fresh produce, deli items, baked good, plus a wine and beer department. They are also offering curbside pickup. Hours: Sun 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; Mon-Fri 8 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sat 8 a.m.-6 p.m. 

3. Sendik’s

Multiple Locations

Several locations of this long-standing full-service grocery store are scattered throughout the area (17 locations, including the Sendik’s Fresh2Go shops), and all are known for their butcher departments. And because this is a big weekend, they’re going to be selling a lot of ground meat, sausages (Italians, brats), steaks and chops. Shop early for the best selection of all departments. Check out the bakery for fresh burger and hot dog buns, cookies and bars, and other desserts. Also note that the stores are reserving the 7 a.m.-8 a.m. shopping hour each day for shoppers at a higher risk of severe illness by COVID-19. Hours vary.

4. Kettle Range Meat Co.

5501 W. State St. | 414 882-7000

This butcher specializes in grass- and forage-fed beef that is also dry-aged. The cuts include classic (NY strip) and lesser-known cuts, so if you want a quality piece of beef, you may want to hit them up. Beyond that, they have fresh and pre-cooked sausages, chops and ribs, pasture-raised chickens and free-range Wisconsin lamb. They’re using a service called Mercado, which offers free delivery. Details on the website. Hours: Mon-Sat 11 a.m.-6 p.m. 

5. Empire Fish

11200 W Watertown Plank Rd., Milwaukee | 414-259-1330

The name will make you think all they sell is fish. Not so. But if you’re planning to grill some fish or seafood, this should be your source. Check the website to see what’s fresh right now. If you’re set on cooking meat, Empire offers a wide selection, courtesy of its parent company, Neesvig’s. That means all kinds of steaks; ground beef; pork chops, ribs and tenderloin; chicken wings, breasts, thighs and ground poultry. Sausages include Neesvig’s brats and chorizo, grass-fed all-beef hot dogs, and Usinger bratwurst. Orders are available for pickup from the retail store on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Call 608-846-1150 to place an order. They will deliver it to your car. 

6. Metcalfe’s Market

6700 W. State St., Wauwatosa | 414-259-8560

This Tosa market has a great selection of items you may want to go along with your cooked meats. The cheese department includes many Wisconsin artisan makers; the fresh produce selection is solid. For meats, they carry all the tried-and-trues: sausages, ground meat, poultry, ribs and steaks. Note that because of supply-chain issues related to COVID-19, the store is limiting how much fresh beef, chicken, pork and ground beef each shopper can purchase at one time. You can also reserve a time slot for pickup orders. 




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.