Milwaukee Public Market

For our fellow Lutherans who will be traveling to Milwaukee this weekend, some Wisconsin natives offer their ‘best eats’ recommendations for while you’re at the National Convention.

Thousands of LCMS members will soon descend upon Milwaukee, Wisconsin for the 68th annual National Convention. Since the convention happens to be in CUW’s backyard, the Strategic Communications team polled a few Wisconsin lifers to hear their favorite ‘best eats’. We thought we’d offer up their hot takes on top eats while you’re in the Cream City.

All of these are within walking distance from the convention hall, or they’re just a quick Uber away. Here are the recommended “bests” when it comes to Milwaukee eats.

Best business lunch


Why: The ambiance is top notch, as is the food. For Italian lovers, Zarletti is a must. Generous portions of filling pasta… you’ll be sure to have leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch!

Location: 741 N. Milwaukee St.

Distance from Baird Center: 0.4 miles


Best breakfast (and lunch)


Why: The sky is the limit with “Build.” You get to completely customize your meal and create your favorite omelet, breakfast burrito…or burger. Lots of sauce and topping options, too!

Location: 633 W. Wisconsin Ave.

Distance from Baird Center: 1.0 mile


Best Coffee


Why: Colectivo is like the Starbucks of Wisconsin. It started in 1993 and has since grown to be a common vendor in grocery stores, coffee shops, and beyond. It recently expanded into Chicago, but it’s still a predominantly iconic Wisconsin brew. The Foundry on 1st St., in particular, is a great place to escape the bustle of the convention and answer a few work emails.

Location: 170 S. 1st St.

Distance from Baird Center: 1.4 miles


Best grab-and-go meals

Third Street Market Hall

Why: It’s the new hotspot in downtown! Third Street Market has food and entertainment. With novelties like a self-service beer garden, Topgolf suites, a selfie bar, and more, you’ll have no shortage of spectacles while you enjoy some good eats.

Location: 275 W. Wisconsin Ave.

Distance from Baird Center: 0.2 miles

Third Street Market Hall

Best group outing

Milwaukee Public Market

Why: If you’re lunching with a large group, there’s sure to be a variety of palettes. The Milwaukee Public Market houses dozens of local favorites under one roof, so your group can stick together without having to sacrifice their preferred cuisine. Plus, the Public Market is a fixture of Milwaukee. You can’t travel to Milwuakee without paying it a visit at least once.

Location: N. Water St. and E. Michigan St.

Distance from Baird Center: 0.5 miles

Milwaukee Public Market

Best German food

Mader’s Restaurant

Why: Do as a good German-Lutheran would do and make your way to the best German cuisine in town. Mader’s has an authentic setting to match its authentic menu. It’s a true nod to the birthplace of the LCMS.

Location: 1041 N Doctor M.L.K. Jr Dr

Distance from Baird Center: 1.1 miles

Mader's Restaurant

Best chill and have a cocktail

The Outsider

Why: The Outsider nails the rooftop bar aesthetic. There’s a full menu of craft beers, creative cocktails, and more libations. It’s the perfect setting to kick back and relax with friends at the end of a long day.

Location: 310 E. Chicago St.

Distance from Baird Center: 0.6 miles

The Outsider

Best sweet treat

Purple Door Ice Cream

Why: You’ve had ice cream, but you probably haven’t had a whiskey-flavored or honey & black pepper scoop! Purple Door takes artisanal ice cream to a new level. Don’t worry, if you’re looking for the staples, they have those, too.

Location: 205 S. 2nd St.

Distance from Baird Center: 1.1 miles

Purple Door Ice Cream

Best late-night snack

Real Chili

Why: There’s no better comfort food than a warm bowl of chili. Real Chili has been a staple of downtown Milwaukee for years. You get your chili fast, and you can order ala carte. Plus, there’s the added “hospitality” flair of getting crackers thrown at you.

Location: 419 E. Wells St.

Distance from Baird Center: 1.8 miles

Real Chili

Best ‘iconic Milwaukee’

The Safe House

Why: This spy-themed bar/eatery truly lives up to its reputation. The floorplan is replete with nooks and corners that beg for exploration. It’s an immersive experience like none other!

Location: 779 N. Front St.

Distance from Baird Center: 0.7 miles

The Safe House

Want more?

If this is your first time in Wisconsin, you can’t miss a visit to CUW! Schedule a stop today.