Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats

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BuddyRoadhouse
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Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/27 02:08:37 (permalink)
wj,
Very nice report.  Add my vote to those who think Solly's Butter Burger is an overkill situation.  Glad I went once so I don't need to go again.  There are too many good to great burgers in the southeast Wisconsin area to be celebrating the overindulgence that is found at Solly's.
 
MilwFoodlovers must like you better than me.  He's recommended a lot of restaurant's to me, but never once has he mentioned Kegel's Inn.  I would have gone with the blue gill myself.
 
Sorry I wasn't with you at Paradise Pup; I could have helped you finish your char dog and cheddar burger.
 
As for the Kopp's versus Leon's debate, I think Kopp's wins based on the incredibly high quality and abundance of their mix-ins, but Leon's takes the prize for the flavor and quality of the custard itself.
 
Just my two cents.  Discuss.
 
Buddy
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Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/27 10:28:23 (permalink)
Great reports, looks like a really fun trip. 
 
In my estimation, that burger from Solly's looks, well, disgusting.  I really can't think of anything that could be improved by adding that much butter.  I like butter, but in my book it's supposed to be an ingredient, not a topping.  I don't put it on anything except freshly baked bread: not potatoes, not corn, not pancakes, and certainly not on meat. 
 
I also agree with you on Miller Park.  It's totally forgettable, and it's existance is not at all necessary.  I loved County Stadium.
 
 
#32
buffetbuster
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Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/27 10:34:34 (permalink)
Here is a vote for Solly's butter burger just the way it is.  I love it!  On one of my visits to Kopp's, they also had the Grasshopper Fudge and Sprecher's Root Beer doubleheader.  I got the GF, ate it in my car while listening to the Steelers-Packers game, then went back in for the Sprecher's RB.  Both were sensational.
 
Keep up the great report WJ!  The only way this report could get better is with some sour cream raisin pie!
post edited by buffetbuster - 2011/06/27 10:35:53
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Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/27 11:36:49 (permalink)
wanderingjew
It was a go.  The Old Fashioned, a relatively new eatery in an old building is steps away from the Capital Building. Featuring classic Wisonsin cuisine and amazing beer selection, I was really looking forward to checking the place out.

Brad called me while I was galavanting around the farmers market and told he was seated at the bar.



There he is in the gray hoodie!

Thanks for getting my good side.
 
It was a pleasure to meet you and I also enjoyed my lunch.  It was my first visit to The Old Fashioned as well and I definitely hope to return, especially now that I know about the beer list!
 
And maybe you didn't completely finish your meal but you did do it some serious damage!
 
Brad
P.S.  As far as County Stadium vs. Miller Park goes it's for me an apples to oranges thing.  County Stadium is still my favorite ballpark (admittedly, the list of those I've visited is short) but at the end it was getting to be in pretty rough shape and IMO new construction was preferable to trying to rehab the existing park.  The seating, sight lines, amenities, etc. of Miller Park are far better, but that should be expected when comparing 2 facilities built 50 years apart.  I was there yesterday and the character changes drastically when the roof and outfield walls are open.
post edited by ScreamingChicken - 2011/06/27 11:44:44
#34
Lisajo
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Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/27 18:28:43 (permalink)
I love the report!  I love a good brat and my husband is laughing at me as I drool on the computer!
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wanderingjew
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Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/27 18:31:02 (permalink)
Chi Town Diner
 
your 15 minutes of fame is fast approaching!

Davydd 
 
I had a feeling that was the art musuem. At Karl Ratzch's, I told everyone about my walk along the lakeshore and they asked if I saw the art museum, I had a feeling they were talking about  that building- it certainly has a really cool design.
 
smokestack lightning
 
At this point, I wouldn't hesitate to say that Gene and Georgetti's was probably my favorite stop on the entire trip.
 
Buddy
 
If I knew that Chi Town Diner I was going to tap out so early on Sunday I would have asked you to join me at Paradise Pup- hey it was great to see you even though it was only for a short while.
 
PigIron
 
The butter burger is truly something everyone has to try, even if it is just once. I enjoyed it but not so much that I would go out of my way to go back if I find myself in Milwaukee again..
 
Buffetbuster
"The only way this report could get better is with some sour cream raisin pie!"

 
right trip, wrong trip report
 
Brad
 
The roof and outfield walls were open on my first visit in 2003, although I still felt like I was in an enclosed dome. I have been to Seattle's Safeco Field and Houston's Minute Maid Park. Both have retractable roofs but they didn't have that same feeling. 
#36
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Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/27 20:24:46 (permalink)
Sunday June 12
 
After another jaunt around the lake and some morning coffee at Alterra's on the Lake
it was time to say goodbye to Milwaukee.
 
And what could possibly be a more appropriate farewell than a final trip to Kopp's
The flavor forecast two days earilier predicted this.
 

 
German Apple Streusal- Just loaded with hunks of pie crust and apple pie filling. 
I though it couldn't get better than grasshopper fudge- well I was wrong.
 
Now who better to spend my final day in Chicago than with Chi Town Diner ?
After discussing options before hand, I left it to the expert to plan out the extraveganza.

First stop
 

 
Sweety Pies
 
In suburban Skokie.
 
Although we didn' t have any, the rhubarb apple pie caught my attention.
 

 
However these two slices of pie -really took the cake
 

 

 
Blueberry and Raspberry. Both served slightly chilled with a crust reminiscent of cheesecake. And to think my first two meals of the day have been dessert! 
Of course taunting photos were sent to Buffetbuster
 


Our next stop, a joint owned by a roadfood poster and which has made it's rounds on Diners Drive Ins and Dives.
 

 
Wiener and Still Champion
 
in Evanston
 
( I just love that sign)
 
Starting out with superb a Chicago Style Dog and some fresh cut fries
 

 
It's obvious that this dog was dressed to head out on the town, however this is where the fun begins.
 
We also indulged in the "triple D special"
 

 
If anything defines "over the edge" then this is it. 
Two Dogs drenched in corn batter, deep fried and smothered in chili and merk cheddar.  This is so bad, yet so good on all levels. 
 
Here's a cross section so you can see the inside workings of this decadent masterpiece.
 
 
You think we would be done by now.....wrong....
When you're with Chi Town Diner - this is considered "eating light"
 
On the way to our next destination, we passed the new digs for Poochies
 

 

 
 
Our next stop was 

 
Jay's Beef
 
in Schiller Park. a small chain of 3, this is one of the offshoots.
 
Here is their menu display
 

 
We ordered one beef to share- wet and sweet- 
 

 
and all I can say is wow!-  the beef was so tender, and the melt in your mouth yellow sweet peppers were just about perfect.
 
But are we ready to quit yet.....
 
Noooh......after a quick stop for a cold one it was time for...
 

 
a return to Burt's Place
in Morton Grove
 
Here Mrs. Chi Town Diner, Patti, joined us as is the younger of their brood.
 
BuddyRoadhouse was busy working and was there to greet us...
 
We ordered salads and garlic bread to start and then a couple of Pies (sorry Buffetbuster- thats pizza pies!)
 

 
Spinach Sausage, Peppers and Garlic

 
Spinach, tomato and onion (Sorry about the crumbs)
 
Just as good as I remembered on my last visit in 2008. Although, I'm now wondering , is this deep dish- or pseudo deep dish- either way Burt is still creating these high quality masterpieces. 
 
After this  we were I was tapped out. The initial plan was that BuddyRoadhouse
was going to meet us at our next stop when he got off work at 9PM. Well, to be honest, I was fast asleep at 9pm. However we did make it our next stop (barely) ok Chi Town Diner was still ready and raring to go- I was down for the count.
 

 
 
Johnnie's (yes this really is our last stop!)
in Elmwood Park. The initial plan was to share another Italian beef- well that part of the plan was out..
 
However I did manage to get a few spoonfuls in of
 
 
 
some of the best lemon ice around.....
 
We were done for the evening. 
 
It's always an adventure to spend a day with Chi Town Diner
Since you never know how much you can pack in in one day.
 
Afterwards I ventured off to the outer echelons of the Southwest Suburbs of Chicago for a new adventure...
 
 
This is the end of this trip report- But not the end of the trip-we're barely half way through.

A new theme begins, and therefore a new report- more to come...in the new trip report.. within the next couple of days...
 
 
#37
buffetbuster
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Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/27 20:34:31 (permalink)
I hate to tell you this wj, I think ChiTownDiner took it easy on you!  He could have probably squeezed in another five or six places!
 
So glad you made it to Johnnie's, a real Chicago classic.  And the pies look terrific. 
post edited by buffetbuster - 2011/06/28 06:18:38
#38
ann peeples
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Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/27 20:35:30 (permalink)
Very, very nice report, Dale.Glad we were able to be a small part of it!
#39
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Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/28 04:16:32 (permalink)
Love the trips to Weiner & Still Champion, Gus is a great guy and knows his way around the grill/fryer, and Burts...never get there enough!  Heading south, there should be some spots you should have hit...and hope you did, including Top Notch, Old Fashioned Donuts, Zarlengo's...but your trip is reminding me what a tremendous food town I get to wake up to every day.  Great job...
#40
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Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/28 06:46:36 (permalink)
Great report. You never disappoint!!
#41
joerogo
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Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/28 09:16:14 (permalink)
WJ, Another epic tip report.  I have never had any luck with Chicago style pizza, but your choices look excellent.
 
 
#42
The Travelin Man
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Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/28 10:39:53 (permalink)
Coupla things....
 
ChiTownDiner never takes me any place good when *I'm* in Chicago.
 
I love burgers.  I love butter.  I do not feel that I have to try that mess from Solly's to make my Roadfood life complete.  
 
I'm a Kopp's guy.  But, I would be in heaven if I had anything even half as good as Leon's nearby.
 
I was nonplussed with Karl Ratzsch's, but did think that the liver dumpling soup was maybe the best thing I'd had at that meal.
 
I would love to get to Burt's Place, but I don't know that my fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants ways would ever allow that to work.  Order my pizza in advance?  No.
 
WJ - Just curious, but did you go inside the Wisconsin capitol building?  It is an impressive facility, and with it having recently been prominently featured in the news and all....
#43
buffetbuster
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Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/28 13:04:26 (permalink)
I agree about the Wisconsin State Capitol Building.  I have visited over 40 of the different state houses and it is easily in my top five.
#44
ChiTownDiner
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Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/28 16:29:08 (permalink)
buffetbuster - 10 stops per day is my absolute limit...unless I invoke specialty rules which I am allowed to create on the fly...
 
TTM - Your trips to Chicago are always so filled with wine, women and song...I am but a miniscule diversion on the food highway...
 
WJ - Great summary to an even greater day!  Turns out my GC for a little building project I got going on did the Sweety Pies job! 
#45
TJ Jackson
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Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/28 16:38:28 (permalink)
I thought ordering from Burt's in advance was suggested - not a requirement
 
You can't just stop in and order, assuming a table is available?
#46
ChiTownDiner
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Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/28 17:09:05 (permalink)
TJ Jackson -
 
I'll let Buddy comment directly if he sees this post as he currently is Burt's lone employee (Burt's wife Sharon not included)...but it seems from my last several visits to Burt's that he is only accepting advance orders.
 
The few that wandered in and had not pre-ordered were all denied service...at least on my watch!
#47
TJ Jackson
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Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/28 17:11:27 (permalink)
WJ's rendition makes it seem as if they ordered normally.....
 
??
#48
ann peeples
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Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/28 17:33:46 (permalink)
Maybe they were able to order normally as they know Buddy...or perhaps they pre-ordered-I am sure Gregg knows or has access to the menu!
#49
wanderingjew
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Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/28 17:55:12 (permalink)
TJ
 
I didnt' get into the nuances of the ordering system, however Chi Town Diner did order in advance. I try not to get overly involved in specifics on my trip reports. I've discovered that some here actually take notes. I don't- everything is from memory, I don't even use spell check (and I type very fast no less) so you may find errors involving missing letters, misspelled words etc.  
 
Chicago Irish
 
I can only hit so many places in such a short amount of time. But that's why there's always next time.
 
Buffetbuster
 
I think Chi Town Diner was sulking and actually whimpering in disappointment  at the end when I put up the white flag.
 
TTM
 
I didn't go inside, I wasn't even sure if it was open. Believe it or not there were still protesters there, so I'm sure security was heightened. If I did get there earlier I would have looked into whether or not the building was open.
 
Chi Town Diner
 
Unfortunately, I have to admit it afterwards , the rest of the trip  all went down hill from there- "quantity wise
#50
BuddyRoadhouse
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Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/28 18:03:38 (permalink)
TJ, TTM and other interested parties,
 
Ordering ahead from Burt's is not an absolute requirement, but not pre-ordering is a huge gamble.
 
Just a minor tweak to CTD's wording, the folks who walked in without pre-ordering were not denied service, they were simply told the truth; a 90 minute-two hour wait (and it can go as high as three or four hours) for a pizza; and then allowed to decide if they wanted to wait that long.  The only time we get someone who is willing to either wait or order and come back, is when they have come from out of town (actually, a very common occurrence given our exposure on Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations", Saveur (and plenty others) magazine, local TV, and the internet) and feel like it is a "now or never" situation.
 
Pre-ordering is much simpler than some less than bright folks would have you believe.  Just call ahead as far in advance as you possibly can (some out-of-towners will call days and even weeks in advance.  Locals usually call very early on the day they want to come in.  Call too late and you will either lose out or be forced to take a dining time of 8:00pm or later).  Place your order (you can see a copy of Burt's Place menu at urbanspoon.com), including the number of people you're coming in with and what time you want to eat.  Show up 15 minutes before the agreed upon time for your pizza to be ready, and that's it.  If you called for your pizza to be served at 7:00pm, then it will be on the table at 7:00pm whether you are sitting there or not.
 
A couple of insider hints (all of this should be obvious to a Roadfood veteran but I know there will be folks visiting this site for the first time, reading this):
1. Know what you want before you pick up the phone and call in your order (see urbanspoon reference above)!  We have a very small, very busy staff trying to take care of a lot of people.  We don't have time to read the menu to you while you and your spouse discuss (usually at length) what you want on your pizza.
 
2. Make sure all your friends know you are coming to Burt's before you call in your order.  Do not place your order then call everyone you know to tell them that you are going to Burt's.  This will inevitably lead to people saying, "Ooh, we want to go to Burt's too!  Can you call them back and change the order and add to the number of people you'll be coming in with?"
 
Calling back with changes puts you on the naughty list.  This is a 35 seat restaurant with two people running the floor and one guy (Burt) doing all the cooking.  We take orders very judiciously; making sure we can provide good service and good food to only so many people in any given half hour shift.  Once that shift has been filled to what we consider "capacity", we stop taking orders for that time slot.  If you call back with changes, that screws us up and could possibly affect your fellow diners.
 
3. Don't ask us to recommend something.  There are no preset combinations.  Order what you like.  The list of ingredients you'll see at urbanspoon.com is ala carte.  You can create whatever combination you want and we will make it to your specifications.  Presumably, you have ordered a pizza before from somewhere else. Whatever combination you liked at that other place will be just as wonderful (if not more so) at Burt's.  If you ask me what I like on my pizza I will tell you, "Anchovies, broccoli, habanero peppers, and caramel sauce"  If you think that sounds like a tasty combination, then may God have mercy on your soul.
 
4. While I don't want Burt's to sound as cheerless and as rule-bound as Seinfeld's Soup Nazi (a comparison we hate, BTW), it is a business.  A very busy business at that.  We want to take your order, take good care of you, and then do the same for as many people as possible in an evening.  Unless you are, in fact, David Letterman, let let me state the obvious by saying, "You're not David Letterman".  Save the bad jokes and the interview questions for someplace else.
 
If all this sounds too complicated or repressive, then okay.  Check out Lou Malnati's when you're in Chicago.  We only have nine tables.  If you're not filling up space in one of them, it just means we've got one more table available for someone who really wants to be there.
 
Sorry if the above sounds snarky or mean spirited.  It's not meant to be.  But you'd be amazed at how hard it is for some people to order a freakin' pizza!  We've even considered giving an IQ test before allowing anyone entry.
 
Anyway, that's the scoop.  Now you're informed and you can be a good Burt's customer.  Hope we'll see you soon.
 
Buddy
post edited by BuddyRoadhouse - 2011/06/28 18:07:38
#51
MiamiDon
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Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/28 18:11:51 (permalink)
"We've even considered giving an IQ test before allowing anyone entry. "
 

 
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Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/28 18:41:08 (permalink)
Buddy-
Thanks so much for posting that and clearing up some myths and misconceptions about Burt's.  Since it is on the top of my list for next visit to Chicago, I paid very close attention.  Of course, if there really is an IQ test, I may be in trouble.....
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Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/28 21:32:12 (permalink)
buffetbuster
Of course, if there really is an IQ test, I may be in trouble.....

No sweat dude-you've got an inside man.  I'll get you in no matter how low you score.  Just sit there quietly and try not to attract too much attention.
 
Buddy
#54
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Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/29 03:22:01 (permalink)
BuddyRoadhouse
buffetbuster
Of course, if there really is an IQ test, I may be in trouble.....

No sweat dude-you've got an inside man.  I'll get you in no matter how low you score.  Just sit there quietly and try not to attract too much attention.
Buddy

Now THAT'S Funny!
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Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/29 07:18:12 (permalink)
TJ & ann -
 
I did order in advance and typically do so several days in advance.  With WJ's aggressive eating schedule, I wanted to make sure our schedule remained in line.  We even pre-order our salads and garlic cheese bread.
 
To alleviate some of Buddy's pointers, we over order for 3 reasons....extra folks can be added, more variety for the table and most important, the only thing better than Burt's for dinner is Burt's for breakfast!  We took home about 55% and it was gone by lunch the next day...17 & 20 year old boys helps!
 
As I/we love Burt's, I am always happy to assist with a visit...and having an inside man helps with the IQ test...I just let the kids take it for me!
 
 
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ann peeples
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Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/29 08:10:50 (permalink)
I really wasnt concerned-I answered based on my readings here on Roadfood. Whether or not, pizza looks excellent, and will order accordingly should I have the opportunity to be in the neighborhood.
As for an IQ test, I am not at all worried.
I was being light hearted, my friends... " />
post edited by ann peeples - 2011/06/29 08:11:52
#57
TJ Jackson
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Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/29 09:13:55 (permalink)
Thanks for the 411 on Burts.  
 
Very unusual ordering arrangement (at least to me), but the pizza appears to be worth it.  Hope we can get in there someday.
 
How old is Burt?   One reason I specifically made it to DiFara's a couple of years ago is because I was worried Dom would be retiring soon.
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Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/29 09:31:15 (permalink)
TJ Jackson

Thanks for the 411 on Burts.  

Very unusual ordering arrangement (at least to me), but the pizza appears to be worth it.  Hope we can get in there someday.

How old is Burt?   One reason I specifically made it to DiFara's a couple of years ago is because I was worried Dom would be retiring soon.


Burt and Dom are probably both around the same age- in their early-mid 70's
#59
TJ Jackson
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Re:Big Shoulders, Beer Barrels, Beefs n' Brats 2011/06/29 11:40:22 (permalink)
WJ - in the picture of the spinach tomato and onion pie, what is the grey object just southeast of the big tomato slice, and where is the spinach?
 
Hypothesis - this is a sausage, tomato, and onion pie :-)
post edited by TJ Jackson - 2011/06/29 11:41:54
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