Reasons we love Milwaukee: Grocery Edition

We are finally getting settled in. I lie, we've been settled in, and we've been quite busy getting to know our little area in Milwaukee. The biggest perk to our location is how "in the city" we are. We are walking or cycling distance to almost everything we have wanted to do and see so far. The second biggest perk to our location might be the close proximity to the lake, but it might also be the million and fifty diverse groceries/bakeries/sausageries (NEW WORD!) we are so close to. Did I mention how close we are to everything.

I guess I'll start with the place we frequent the most, Koppa's. Koppa's is a family run Polish grocery store/deli/Atari arcade...yes, you can play some free Atari while shopping or waiting for your sammich from the Fulbeli Deli. They're the corner store with the most and have everything you could possibly need to keep yourself from having to run anywhere else. We take a walk there almost nightly for wine, but have yet to even try the deli with a giant list of some tasty looking sammiches!

Next up is Glorioso's, around since 1946, and serving the needs of anyone looking for specialty Italian foods. According to the lady running the meat/olive/prepared foods counter, they do all their own olive curing and sausage and cheese making. There is a huge meat and cheese selection, and a wine selection that has got us hooked on Italian wines. Anchovies packed in salt, olive oils and vinegars out the whazoo and some of the friendliest folks behind the scenes that we have met since moving here. Glorioso's is another one of our short walks to get wine. They are on to us though, and after welcoming us to the neighborhood the other night, informed us that they DID sell more than JUST wine.

Moving on to my secret get away. It's not so secret, but every time I walk in the door I am teleported to LaLa Land, this really cushy, warm, smell goody place in my head, The Spice House. This is the original Penzey's Spices, started in 1957 by Ruth and Bill Penzey and carried on by their daughter Patty and her husband Tom Erd.(Noticing the trend of family run businesses, I love it!) This place is housed in a building that 150 years old and was a German bakery/apartment originally. It's located on Old World Third street and seriously, stepping through the door is like walking into a fairy tale. Not that you need to step through the door, because you can smell the spices out in the street. All of their spices are very fresh and reasonably priced, because The Spice House is the source and you don't get all that extra costs for shipping (or the Penzey's Spice label) tacked on.

Across the street is Usinger's. Usinger's is a family owned (big surprise) and run operation that has been around since 1880. 1880!!! They offer over 70 varieties of sausage that they make themselves. We weren't big sausage eaters when we moved here, but that has changed rather quickly. Their brats are fantastic! The decor consists of wood carvings of elves (or are they gnomes) and lots of football stuff (we may have made the switch to sausage lovers but I don't think the football thing will ever catch on). They've got a seconds table (those funny shaped sausages that just didn't make the cut) that has the best deals on the face of the planet. Really, who cares if you've got a bumpy wiener?

There are tons of other places that we haven't even touched on. An Italian bakery, a handful of co-ops, The Milwaukee Public Market, that will be getting a whole post all to itself, farmer's markets, a fantastic Pick n'Save Metro Market (the BEST run of the mill grocery I have ever seen), as well as several other groceries in other neighborhoods that we haven't even been to visit yet.

This place is a food and wine lovers dream. There is wine in every grocery, and thus far, the selection seems to vary greatly from grocery to grocery. There is good, quality food every where you turn. And the best part really is, it's all so affordable and accessible. The love for food and wine in this city is not pretentious. Good food isn't this new trend here. Good food isn't treated like something that needs its own organizations and meetings. Good food is backed by a family name and pride in the craft of making quality food. Good food is tradition, the way it should be.

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  • At 2:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thanks for de-lurking on my blog. You made my day too! It sounds like you have live in a lovely new city. (I'm jealous!)


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