Your Guide to Authentic Regional Eats
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5373 N. Port Washington Rd.
July 12, 2007 6:11 PM
Kopp’s is a joyful place where merry eaters chow down on deliciously fragrant, cooked-to-order hamburgers wherever they can find a place to lean, inside or out. (There is no seating.) The hamburgers are terrific – oozing with butter as is the custom in Milwaukee burger joints – but ice cream treats are the specialty of the house.
Some of the sundaes Kopp’s makes are so elaborate that the management has been known to offer architectural diagrams pointing out various ingredients and their place in the architecture of each concoction. The blueprint for the staggering Kopp’s Special shows pineapple and raspberry sauces, sliced bananas, hot fudge, toasted pecans, and a cherry on top.
The sauces are excellent, the toasted nuts are a revelation, but the foundation is the important part, and at Kopp’s it is ivory-white custard made from pure, high-butterfat ingredients with none of the thickeners and stabilizers that gunk up ordinary ice cream. Custard like this is a Wisconsin passion, and good reason for natives of the Badger State to consider themselves America’s ice cream elite. It is hypnotic to watch it ooze from great silver machines behind the counter. To taste it is to know why Kopp’s has been a beloved Milwaukee institution since Elsie Kopp opened her first stand in 1950.
Vanilla is superb, pure and white and thick and monomaniacally delicious. It is the true Custardhead’s choice. Vanilla and Swiss chocolate are always available. But Kopp’s makes a new and different flavor every single day of the year. One of our fondest memories of long ago is of Caramel Apple with mixed nuts that was the featured attraction August 31st, 1995; on August 17, 2000, the flavor du jour was Key Lime Pie custard; on September 26, 2000, we savored German Chocolate Cake, with caramel, coconut, fudge and walnut chunks; and just the other day, we were lucky enough to pass through on January 17, 2002, when the featured flavor was “Trois Chocolate,” a ménage of white chocolate, dark chocolate, and Swiss chocolate custards. You can always have a turtle sundae, which is one of the best in the Midwest.
We hate to say it, but it’s probably a good thing we don’t live in or near Milwaukee. If we did, we would be incurable Kopp’s addicts.
In addition to the Port Washington Road Location, Kopp's has locations at 18880 Bluemound Rd. in Brookfield and 7631 W. Layton Ave., in Greenfield.
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