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Friday, Sept. 21, 2012

Buck Bradley’s Already a Classic

Sports bar food served with class

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Old World Third Street offers several attractions for the food lover. In addition to Usinger’s, the Spice House and the Wisconsin Cheese Mart, there also are many restaurants, with Mader’s being the oldest. Buck Bradley’s, open since 1995, is a relative newcomer to the street, albeit the building it occupies dates back to the mid-1850s, making it one of the oldest in this historic area.

Buck Bradley’s interior is in the style of the great Milwaukee beer halls of the 1890s. The bar is said to be the longest in the state of Wisconsin. Burgundy draperies lead you into the dining room. The room is not large, featuring 12 tables, but it is a pleasant setting with expansive windows, tall ceilings and framed 19th-century French posters.

The restaurant is near the BMO Harris Bradley Center, home to the Milwaukee Bucks, but Buck Bradley’s is actually named after a descendant of Adolph Schoenleber, the building’s architect. The menu here does, however, befit a sports bar, with burgers, brats, salads, pizzas, sandwiches and appetizers. Four entrees are also served after 5 p.m. Expect to find fresh ingredients, whether in the soups or the steamed vegetables that accompany the entrees.

There are some unique items, including a starter called gold fever wings ($8.95), a baker’s dozen of plump chicken wings. The wings arrive in a golden sauce that brings the aroma of mustard to the table. The sauce is a bit sweet with a vinegary tang—quite a change from Buffalo and teriyaki sauce. They are served with celery sticks and a good blue cheese dressing.

The various burgers all weigh in with a half-pound of ground sirloin. The steakhouse burger ($9.95) is slathered with steak sauce, caramelized onions and crumbled blue cheese. Served with fries that are pre-salted, it is very filling.

At a Milwaukee eatery of this type, a Friday fish fry seems mandatory. Here it is cod that is deep-fried or baked. It also may be ordered as a combination ($11.95), which results in a big plate of fish. The battered is the better choice, especially with a few splashes of malt vinegar. A shrimp basket is also served Thursday through Saturday.

The four dinner entrees are filet mignon, blackened swordfish, Italian pork chop and steak Sicilian. The steak Sicilian ($25.95) is two 5-ounce pieces of heavily pounded tenderloin topped with grated Parmesan. They are served with steamed vegetables and a choice of potato. The meat is very tender, and it could benefit even further from a hint of lemon juice. A small loaf of sourdough bread is included, as well as a choice of soup or salad. The salad is romaine with the usual accompaniments of cucumber, carrot, celery and some tasty croutons. Dressings are better than the norm, especially the sun-dried tomato vinaigrette. Soups change daily—a respectable sausage gumbo was one recent offering.

The menu offers a good variety of fare at moderate prices. And the location is great for those attending BMO Harris Bradley Center events. Though its history only dates back to the ’90s, Buck Bradley’s is already an Old World Third Street classic.

Buck Bradley’s

1019 N. Old World Third St.

(414) 224-8500

$$

Handicap Accessible

buckbradleys.com

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