A foodie’s guide to the Near West Side 

This year, Eater recognized Milwaukee as one of the Best Food Cities to Travel to in 2024, alongside destinations like Busan, South Korea; Sacramento, California; Salvador, Brazil; Cairo, Egypt; Udon Thani, Thailand, and others. Adding to the buzz around the city’s culinary scene, Top Chef filmed its new season in Milwaukee.  

These developments have been reflected in the Near West Side restaurant scene. Brooklyn wing business Buffalo Boss was warmly welcomed into the neighborhood this past summer. More recently, Gordo’s Bubble Waffles has expanded its operations with a second location on Marquette’s campus. 

The vibrant food scene of the Near West Side offers timeless as well as trendy spots for anything you may be craving. Visit the restaurants located in your neighborhood to take part in celebrating Milwaukee’s culinary renaissance.

Five O’Clock Steakhouse 

2416 W. State St., Milwaukee, 53233 | (414) 343-3553 | fiveoclocksteakhouse.com

The Five O’Clock Steakhouse is an iconic Near West Side spot for foodies, recognized as one of the top steakhouses in America by sources such as Food Network, Travel Channel, Thrillist and esteemed chefs and celebrities worldwide. Known to be “rich in tradition and free of trends,” the restaurant offers a wide selection of steaks served with their signature butter sautéed mushrooms. 

Daddy’s Soul Food & Grille 

754 N 27th Street #3552, Milwaukee, WI 53208 | (414) 448-6165 | daddyssoulfoodandgrille.com 

If you enjoy soul food, look no further. Their recipes are as authentic as they get, created by the owner and members of his family. The menu includes pork chops, peach cobbler, catfish, ribs, baked macaroni and cheese, fried chicken, and vegetarian soul food options. Be sure to consider their catering services and order their party portions for your next event or gathering.

Gray Jett Cafe 

1617 West Wells Street, Milwaukee 53233 | (414)-465-2283 | grayjettcafe.com 

Gray Jett is the perfect stop between classes or meetings to grab a coffee or a quick snack. There are a variety of breakfast and lunch options, including loaded oats and beef and jackfruit BBQ brisket. For hot or iced coffee, you will find a wide range of flavors available; from Torani options like English toffee and white chocolate to Piu Del Previsto’s sugar-free varieties such as cinnamon dolce and salted caramel, there is something for everyone. They can be quite generous with the flavoring, so order your drink half-sweet if you prefer a more subtle sweetness. 

Pete’s Pops 

3809 W Vliet Street Milwaukee 53208 | (414) 988-8916 | petespops.net 

Pete’s Pops offers over 100 out-of-the-box flavors of pops and ice cream bars crafted from all-natural ingredients. Some featured flavors include apricot ginger, birthday cake, rose water lemonade, salted watermelon, avocado, and cucumber lime. Marquette alumnus Pete Cooney, the founder of Pete’s Pops, got his start through the Near West Side Partners, Inc.’s Rev-Up MKE competition. His popsicle business is now thriving in the area with the flagship location on Vliet Street.  

Gin Rickey at the Ambassador Hotel  

2308 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee 53233 | (414) 345-5015 | thefitzmke.com 

This swanky bar in the Ambassador Hotel offers artisan cocktails, wine and local craft and microbrews. Be sure to try the Gin Rickey, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s favorite cocktail. Consider taking advantage of the complimentary shuttle service by dining or staying at the hotel. For more information on the shuttle service from the Ambassador Hotel, click here

Buffalo Boss

540 N. 27th St., Milwaukee 53208 | (414) 779-2677 | buffaloboss.com/milwaukee 

Buffalo Boss is a wing restaurant inspired by the culture of New York City and the vibe of Brooklyn Hip Hop. This wing business offers 12 wing signature sauces for every spice preference. In addition to a variety of wings, they serve tenders, fried Oreos and french fries, all available for delivery through DoorDash, GrubHub and Uber Eats. 

Miss Katie’s Diner 

1900 W. Clybourn St., Milwaukee 53233 | (414) 244-0044 | misskatiesdiner.com 

Established in 1985, this 50s-themed diner has a storied history and is the ideal spot for everything from breakfast to cocktails. It was notably featured on Rachel Ray’s “40 Dollars a Day” segment on the Food Channel, where she tried their unique Wisconsin-inspired omelet — an indulgent three-cheese omelet with swiss, cheddar and provolone. 

Maki Yaki 

1616 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee 53233 | (414) 909-3999 | maki-yaki.com 

If you have a taste for modern Japanese cuisine, this is the place. The menu ranges from sushi burritos to udon soup and milk tea. Don’t forget to check out their enticing “happy hour” specials for great deals. Whether you are looking to dine in or grab a quick bite, this fast-casual restaurant is the perfect option. 

Explore the “Restaurant & Bars” section on the Near West Side Partners website to uncover great eateries right in your backyard. Be sure to support these businesses by posting photos and reviews on social media and web-based review platforms.