SO YOU’RE PLANNING to visit Milwaukee Film Fest 2023. Your next thought should be, “Where am I going to eat around there?” Because you should eat around there. I’ve got some suggestions around the Oriental Theatre – five, to be exact. And the beauty of it is if you’re heading to a film before or after, you only need to park once.
2238 N. FARWELL AVE.
Located on the corner next to the Oriental Theatre, the micro food hall is kind of a no-brainer. The counter-service makes it easier to get in and out quickly. As far as vendors, they’re known for the pasta place Egg & Flour. But think about giving one of their newer tenants – Dia Bom – a shot. Its focus is Latin-Asian fusion, with creations like chicken yakitori, Korean shortrib bowl and rice seasoned with togarashi spice. They’re in the process of filling some vacant spots in the hall, with a new concept, Nute’s Café, opening on April 20. The Nute’s menu includes bowls, sandwiches, smoothies and rotating soups. And if you’re up for trying something new, Crossroads is hosting a series of short-term pop-ups. The first vendor is there right now: Tots on the Street. (Stuffed tater tots!) The pop-up runs through April 29.
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2018 E. NORTH AVE.
Last year, this joint underwent management and menu changes – noticeable changes that brought the menu quality up as well. They’re smoking a lot of stuff over there – brisket, chicken wings, salmon. And listen up, they’re doing house-cured pork belly tacos, chicken fried steak sammies and a green chile burgers. Wednesday night, they’ve got smoked chicken nachos and Friday, it’s a fish fry of fish in a Hacienda Beer batter.
1901 E. NORTH AVE.
An institution for veggie-based fare. I don’t eat quesadillas often at all, but that’s one of the things I like on their menu. It makes sense, honestly, because they’re known for their burritos. But you can get salads and soups, hot and cold sandwiches, stir-fry and quiche, and entrées that change weekly.
2315 N. MURRAY AVE.
This is more of a meal kind of place, with table service, so you really need at least an hour. And I’d recommend a reservation. The pastas are what you should go for here – including a very spring-like sweet potato-ricotta gnudi with mint.
2321 N. MURRAY AVE.
While ramen seems like more of a fall-winter thing, given this weather, I can easily rec a bowl of hot, rich ramen. Kawa does a nice job with this Japanese soup. Try the tonkotsu (pork broth), if you haven’t, or switch it up entirely and get sushi. I can always justify some fatty tuna.