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Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013

Benno’s Genuine Bar & Grill

30 beers and good burgers in the heart of West Allis

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Since opening its doors more than 30 years ago, Benno’s Genuine Bar & Grill has become something of a bar-time favorite among serious beer drinkers and hungry happy-hour regulars. Located in the heart of downtown West Allis, the bar known as Benno’s has been serving up burgers, wings and fish dinners since the Carter administration, defying the all-too-common demise of independently owned bars and restaurants and retaining its loyal clientele and neighborhood bar charm.

Reminiscent of a north woods rec room, Benno’s interior is casually decorated and dimly lit, but the soft, glowing light only serves to illuminate the fully stocked bar, which includes more than 30 beers on tap, plenty more by the bottle and many other offerings. Whether you’re in search of locally brewed red ale or imported lager, Benno’s has something for everyone, and the informed recommendations from the West Allis institution’s knowledgeable bartenders help make for a painless and ultimately satisfying selection process.  

In addition to their fantastic beer selection, Benno’s offers a number of great specials. The kitchen, open until 10 or 11 p.m. depending on the evening, prepares an impressive assortment of typical pub fare, ranging from burgers and chicken wings, to classic Reuben sandwiches and deep-fried appetizers. Standard and simple, Benno’s burgers, including its turkey and Boca veggie burger, are served with plain fresh-cut fries with sea salt or fresh-cut fries with garlic-Romano seasoning. Some of Benno’s sandwiches are served with a pickle and kettle potato chips, but substitutions can be made for a small additional cost.

Benno’s starters are the type of sports bar nosh one would expect from an establishment with old license plates and memorabilia covering much of its wall space, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially when you’re sitting at the bar. The selection includes onion rings, cheese quesadillas, nachos, tempura-battered mushrooms, fried eggplant and buffalo chicken wings, and most starters cost less than $5 and are ready in under 10 minutes.  

However appealing Benno’s smorgasbord of fried, drink-friendly delicacies may prove to be, it is the restaurant’s barbeque options that make the most lasting impressions. Heaped on platter plates with sides of baked beans, coleslaw, potatoes and a cornbread muffin, the half rack of Benno’s St. Louis-style BBQ ribs ($11.99) and sliced beef brisket ($10.49) provide a surprisingly tasty alternative to customary pub grub.

Despite the allure of baked beans and pulled pork, Benno’s Friday night fish fry routinely packs the house. Offering more than a dozen varieties of fish dinners, including beer-battered Alaskan cod ($8.49), baked Sicilian-style cod ($9.49), breaded Great Lakes perch ($10.99), baked Cajun catfish ($9.29) and breaded butterfly shrimp ($9.29), Benno’s keeps things simple, especially with its sides. Each Friday fish dinner, which can be ordered in small or large portions, includes coleslaw, a slice of rye bread, and either potato pancakes, wild rice, potato salad, fresh-cut fries or a baked potato. Bake sale-style slices of homemade carrot cake and cheesecake are also available, but Benno’s full bar, generous portions and homey atmosphere make dessert a sweet afterthought.

Benno’s Genuine Bar & Grill kitchen hours are 5-10 p.m., Monday through Thursday, 4-11 p.m. Friday, and 5-11 p.m. Saturday. Bar hours are 4 p.m. to 2 a.m., Monday through Saturday. Happy Hour is from 4-6 p.m., Monday through Friday.

 

Benno’s Genuine Bar & Grill

7413 W. Greenfield Ave.

414-453-9094

bennosbar.com

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Handicap accessible: yes