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Monday, June 1, 2009

Hold the Bacon?

Honeypie in Bay View

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Clue: the pig in the restaurant's logo means the owners of Honeypie (2643 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.) are big on pork. Just opened in May, the menu boasts of a turkey dinner with bacon, macaroni and cheese with bacon, a cheese and sausage plate, a slow-cooked pork shoulder, a bacon and tomato sandwich, a ham and bacon and turkey sandwich, sausage on a hoagie and the ironically named "Iowa Skinny," a six-ounce pork loin breaded in corn meal and topped with mayonnaise, pickles, lettuce and tomato.

But for those who don't eat the cloven-hoofed beast, fear not. Honeypie has a Mediterranean "summer salad," a chicken curry, a daily fish special and other alternatives. And at least for some dishes, you can easily say, "hold the bacon."

Occupying the storefront in a busy Bay View strip, vacant since Anona Bistro closed last fall, Honeypie is the latest venture from Scott Johnson, Leslie Montemurro, Valerie and Adam Lucks, who in various combinations own Fuel Caf, Comet, Balzac, Palomino and Hi-Hat. Honeypie's wood and linoleum interior suggests Old Milwaukee. One wall is covered in stuffed ducks and deer heads, a cuckoo clock with carved wood elk antlers and an oversize map of Bay View, complete with fanciful galleons offshore, their sails billowing in the lake breeze. A lunch counter doubling as a bar completes the ambiance. The setting takes a customer back to the days when Frank Zeidler guided Milwaukee from his office in City Hall.

Likewise, Honeypie's menu is rooted in Badger State Americana, featuring Wisconsin cheese and sausage, great French fries and cornbread, mashed potatoes with cheese gravy and a bottle of ketchup on every table. And yet the eclectic tug of now is felt in the honey mustard accents, brioche sandwiches and the celery root slaw.

The hamburger is a good place to start—an almost all-American affair with pickles, lettuce and tomato and Thousand-Island dressing topped-in a touch more Left Bank than Bay View—with a sunny fried egg. The tasty mouthful is a wonderful combo of flavors whose only challenge is eating the unwieldy mound without making a mess.

Food is only the beginning. Honeypie has a full bar with an ample beer selection-a brimming menu of pales and ambers, porter and stout, bitters and lagers and even fruit beers, with many Belgian and American indie brewery selections. If you prefer sticking to the Old Milwaukee theme, you can also order PBR, Schlitz or High-Life. Too early for a drink? The coffee is strong stuff, served in big, eye-opening mugs.

Honeypie opens daily at 10 a.m. The patio out back will open soon.