Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2011

East North Avenue

Neighborhoods

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East North Avenue is a hip neighborhood with classy, historic landmarks and popular modern destinations alike. Imaginative dining options and a respectable selection of bars make it the perfect place to go for a relaxing afternoon or fun night out with friends.

Eating and Drinking

At the west end of East North Avenue is Judge's (1431 E. North Ave.), a place with plenty of history—if you're from the area, your parents might have played video games here. Judge's is a chill place to drink and hang out with friends. And with pool, darts and hi-def TVs featuring several sporting events at once, this mid-price-range pub is a great place to start your eastward trek down North Avenue.

Just off of North Avenue, Landmark Lanes (2220 N. Farwell Ave.) is situated in the basement of the Oriental Theatre (a wonderful film venue with awesome old-school décor). Landmark is very popular with the college crowd and will be hopping by bar hours. With a neon-lit bowling alley, three bars, an arcade, dartboards and drink specials, Landmark has something for everyone.

Continue heading east for some high-class charm at The Hotel Foster (2028 E. North Ave). This hip bar is decorated with impressive chandeliers, floor rugs and hanging plants. Order a delicious tropical cocktail (the Hurricane is especially tasty, but watch out, as one is definitely enough for lightweights) at the polished hardwood bar for $7, and head to the upper-level balcony to hang with friends—or just to laugh at all of the poor suckers below.

Want a hearty dinner before you hit the bars? Chubby's Cheesesteaks (2232 N. Oakland Ave.) bills itself as “Milwaukee's answer to the Philly cheesesteak,” and one of these meat- and veggie-packed hoagies on fresh bread from Peter Sciortino's Bakery can satisfy any appetite. It's a little pricey, but worth it.

If you want some dessert after your dinner at Chubby's (or wherever else you end up), Sil's (1801 E. North Ave.) is the place to be. With signature mini-doughnuts made fresh while you wait, tossed in cinnamon sugar and served in a cute paper bag, these treats are something to talk about. And don't let the small sizes fool you: These babies are big on flavor. You can also get a $2 “wiener for the wasted” or a cup of fresh-brewed coffee. So be sure to give this tiny corner place with the funky architecture a shot.

If you're searching for a healthier option, look no further than Beans & Barley (1901 E. North Ave.) for high-quality organic foods with rich and varied taste. Though it's a tad pricier, a student can nonetheless put together a yummy little meal by reading the diverse menu carefully. Beans & Barley is also a deli and café, so whether you're here for a tasty dinner with your visiting parents or just want to stop by for a quick coffee or some shopping, you're in the right place.

A longtime fixture of the neighborhood, Ma Fischer's (2214 N. Farwell Ave.) is a great place to go for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Ma's has ample seating and lots of menu options—and it's open 24 hours a day. The menu spans Greek, Mexican and American food (the breakfast specials are especially good).

Izumi's (2150 N. Prospect Ave.) is a wonderful Japanese restaurant with beautiful traditional décor (complete with a tea room surrounded by paper screens and an enormous fish tank behind the bar). With a wide menu of noodle and rice dishes and, of course, the signature sushi and maki, Izumi's offers a symphony of tastes. Warm sake makes the perfect complement to a dinner at Izumi's, and the edamame (baby soybeans, steamed and salted to perfection) are a must for your appetizer selection.

The popular national chain Bruegger's (2045 E. North Ave.) graces Milwaukee's East Side with a convenient location. For a very reasonable price, you can get a bagel, spread and drink hearty enough to be a whole meal. The wide selection includes deli/bagel sandwiches as well.

If you're craving a Big Mac or chicken quesadilla, North Avenue and the surrounding area have their share of fast-food restaurants too, including: McDonald's (1614 E. North Ave.), Subway (2031 E. North Ave.), Qdoba (3101 N. Oakland Ave.) and Toppers Pizza (1903 E. Kenilworth Place). You can also create your own alternatives from the salad bars and delis at Whole Foods (2305 N. Prospect Ave.) and Pick 'n Save  (2220 N. Humboldt Ave.).

If you need some caffeine, you'll find you're in the right place when you visit any of Milwaukee's Alterra cafés. This local chain, which roasts its coffee fresh on site each day and adheres to fair-trade policies, has a great success story and the simple but spot-on motto, “We serve strong coffee here.” Come to the East North Avenue Alterra (2211 N. Prospect Ave.) for one of the delicious coffee products or a to-die-for smoothie, and visit one of the other locations to try something from the substantial menu of sandwiches, wraps and soups.


Retail

Check out Urban Outfitters (1937 E. Kenilworth Place) for a cutting-edge clothing selection. You may just find the print tassel neck scarf or beaded shirt you never knew you've always wanted.

For a wide selection of art supplies, visit Utrecht (2219 N. Farwell Ave.), across from Ma Fischer's. The merchandise is top-of-the-line and students may receive a discount. The store has regular sales that are also worth checking out.


Lay of the Land

The East Library (1910 E. North Ave.) is a small but quality branch of the Milwaukee Public Library system, conveniently located close to UW-Milwaukee and the lakefront. Enjoy a broad selection of fiction, videos and more inside the library proper, which is graced by beautiful stained-glass windows, or relax with a good book in the pleasant outdoor seating area.

Located at the end of North Avenue, across the street from Columbia St. Mary's Hospital, Water Tower Park marks the eastern end of our walking tour of East North Avenue. With a fountain, a historic stone water tower overlooking Lake Michigan, and enough green space for picnicking and Frisbee, the park is the jewel at the end of the glittering strand that is this memorable neighborhood.