Top 5 Reunion Activities in Milwaukee

Are you trying to plan a fun and memorable class, family, or even a military reunion? Let Milwaukee Food & City Tours help you create a fun, entertaining, and stress free reunion by organizing a custom tour!

The team at Milwaukee Food & City Tours loves to create custom tour packages that include the best parts of all of our wonderful tour options including eateries, bakeries, beer, and all of Milwaukee’s top attractions.

We were thrilled to recently partner with the Wauwatosa High School class of 1951 to create an amazing outing for more than 40 classmates traveling to Milwaukee to celebrate their 65th class reunion. Our tour guide and driver enjoyed the living history lesson on tour with us just as much as the guests enjoyed the experience we created for them!

With mobility concerns in mind, we collaborated with the reunion organizer to create a one-of-a-kind bus tour for the group. The custom city tour kicked off in downtown Milwaukee with sightseeing stops at the Milwaukee Art Museum, along Brady Street and Old World 3rd Street for shopping, a trip through Miller Valley and even a drive past the Harley Davidson headquarters—Willie G. Davidson is one of their classmates, after all!

From there the bus took a turn down memory lane and headed to ‘Tosa so the Class of ’51 could see how their hometown had grown—and changed - over the past 65 years. The reunion tour included stops along the rapidly growing North Avenue in East Tosa to see newer establishments such as Indulgence Chocolatiers, Bel Aire Cantina, Rocket Baby Bakery, Cranky Al’s, Il Mito and Red Dot. Many of the tour guests had grown up within walking distance of this now bustling neighborhood and enjoyed reminiscing about their many good friends in Wauwatosa.

One thing that hadn’t changed though - the legendary Ted’s Diner. Tour guests took a step back in time as they peered inside at the diner’s timeless charm including rounded windows, counters, and red swivel stools and spoke fondly of the ice cream molds that their mothers would order for Christmas.

Wauwatosa High School, Class of 1951 - 65th Reunion

Wauwatosa High School, Class of 1951 - 65th Reunion

Continuing west on North Avenue, the tour passed Tosa Bun and Bowl, now a popular a deli. Many members of the Wauwatosa High School Class of 1951 recalled when the former bowling alley was a popular hang out spot. In fact, one guest shared that his first job was as a pin setter at the bowling alley back in the day, when he was paid seven cents a row for setting up the bowling pins by hand.

Continuing west, guests recalled their after-school stops for sugary treats at Mother Goose House and as well as another candy counter at the then much smaller location of Ray’s Liquor.

Of course, this trip down memory lane wasn’t complete without a quick stop at their old stomping grounds, the common denominator that brought them together in the first place—Wauwatosa High School (now known as Wauwatosa East High School). The classmates enjoyed recalling the many hours they’d spent learning and building friendships in the hallowed halls of Wauwatosa High.

The trip concluded with a stop at the Hoyt Park Pool, whose recent renovation and rebirth was supported by many of alumni of the school, with lead gifts provided by their fellow Class of 1951 classmates, John & Tashia Morgridge. We learned from our tour guests that back in 1951, it was home and practice pool to members of Wauwatosa High School’s state championship swim team. The night prior to our tour during the reunion weekend, everyone met at the pool for cocktails – and a little rivalry when 3 of the still swimming classmates (ages 81, 82 and 82 respectively) hopped in the pool to swim laps down memory lane!

The custom high school class reunion tour provided an affordable and stress free event for the entire group and for the reunion committee chairman, Ron S., who had this to say about the experience, “THANK YOU for taking us on a wonderful tour – much more than I expected. And, the tour of Wauwatosa was an unexpected surprise! It brought back a lot of memories for those who have been away for years.  We had an excellent driver and superb guide.  We all had fun remembering things like using the tunnel under Wauwatosa Avenue to get to and from classes in the building across the street from the main high school building.  A wonderful experience!”   

Sightseeing tours highlight Milwaukee's top attractions and neighborhoods, such as the Pabst Mansion, and can be customized to meet the needs of your group. 

Sightseeing tours highlight Milwaukee's top attractions and neighborhoods, such as the Pabst Mansion, and can be customized to meet the needs of your group. 

If you are planning a reunion in the Milwaukee area, be sure to let Milwaukee Food & City Tours help you create a custom (and stress free!) tour that will guarantee the experience will be one that everyone will enjoy! From simply providing transportation, to leading a city tour, to scheduling a food tour for lunch or dinner, to creating a custom experience – we enjoy working with groups of all sizes.

Our top 5 reunion activities in Milwaukee with Milwaukee Food & City Tours?

·       Sightseeing City Tour (bus tour) – A great way to explore downtown Milwaukee to see the city’s top attractions and neighborhoods. This tour can be offered as a 1 – 2 hour driving tour, or can have time built in for stops at attractions along the way. This is a great tour for any budget and can be adapted to meet the interest of the group. 

·       Bloody Mary Brunch Tour (walking) – We visit 4 restaurants in the Historic Third Ward for half sized Bloodies and brunch items, all while learning about the neighborhoods history and exploring the RiverWalk too. This is a great tour for a Saturday afternoon or Sunday post-reunion outing.

·       Tacos & Tequila Tour (bus tour) – The title of the tour says it all – we visit three hidden gems in Milwaukee’s Latino community for tacos and tequila along with narrated fun – and dessert too!

·       Old World 3rd Street Tour (walking) – Visit the historic streets of Old World 3rd Street while sampling some of the foods, beers and shops of German Milwaukee that laid the foundation of our city today!

·       Progressive Ethnic Meal or Custom Tour – Milwaukee Food & City Tours loves to create custom tours. Check out some examples HERE or give us a call at 262-853-5239 or email grouptours@milwaukeefoodtours.com to start planning your next adventure!

Looking to capture all of the Pokémon lurking around Milwaukee?

Looking to capture all of the Pokémon lurking around the Milwaukee area? Then let Milwaukee Food & City Tours transport you to train, battle, and capture Pokémon Go items at the many Pokéstops around the city.

Safe, affordable, and convenient, the narrated Hop On Hop Off Sightseeing Bus tour eliminates your need to find parking or navigate the city and allows you to explore Milwaukee and catch Pokémon at the same time! Plus, tour guides are trained to provide you with tips and point out area Pokéstops around the Milwaukee area as you travel between our 11 downtown hotel and attraction Hop On/Hop Off sites on the tour route.

Families especially appreciate the convenience of the tour, allowing their family to learn about the city and explore while seeking Pokémon Go together.  

According to a recent survey by Hotels.com, 79% of millennials report that they plan to play Pokémon Go on their next vacation and 48% will consider visiting a new destination because of the game. So, help your entire family embrace the gaming craze while you explore all that Brew City has to offer!

One of our recent Pokémon seeking guests, Wendy D., reports that she was able to capture an additional 8 new Pokémon simply by riding our bus along the one-hour continual loop. Our helpful guides assisted her by pointing out known Pokéstops along the route.  Another guests enjoyed the chance to park her car and allow our professional drivers to escort her family around the city.

You may ride the air-conditioned bus, or guests are encouraged to extend their stay and increase their points by exiting the bus to explore each neighborhood. Simply hop off the bus, then hop back on an hour later when the bus returns.

Hot spots on the tour route include:

  • Hotels – Area hotels are a hotbed of Pokémon activity. Hop on / off at downtown hotels such as The Pfister Hotel, Hyatt Regency, Hilton City Center, Marriott Residence Inn, Kimpton Journeyman and more to see how many items you can catch!
  • Churches – Discover if a gym exists at St. Hedwig Church or St. John the Evangelist when you hop on / off at the Brady Street or Cathedral Square stops, or explore any of the other neighborhood stops for a chance to visit a wide-array of area churches.
  • One of the highlights of our Hop On / Off Sightseeing Bus is our beautiful Milwaukee lakefront including Veterans Park, Bradford Beach, and Lake Park - perhaps the most active of the Pokéstops in the community. Simply enjoy the ride, or get out and explore the lakefront, with us!
  • Is Pokémon thirsty? Find out at our hop on/off stops including those near Lakefront Brewery, Milwaukee Brewing Company in Walker’s Point, and Great Lakes Distillery.

Milwaukee has an active Pokémon Go community that will keep your phone vibrating (and your kids entertained) as you explore the downtown area.

Bring the whole family on your next downtown Milwaukee adventure and explore all the city has to offer - and catch Pokémon at the same time - using our convenient Hop On/Hop Off Sightseeing Bus.  For more information about our Hop On/ Hop Off tour visit: http://www.milwaukeecitytours.com

Delicious Activities in Milwaukee before the Carmex Lambeau College Classic

College football fans looking to experience the ultimate weekend getaway while cheering on the Wisconsin Badgers and the LSU Tigers during the Carmex Lambeau College Classic should plan a short road trip to Milwaukee.

Beer barons like Captain Frederick Pabst, Frederick Miller and Joseph Schlitz put Milwaukee on the map as a beer-making city but today the city has earned the distinction of being one of the nation’s top foodie destinations.

Milwaukee Food & City Tours delivers a wide selection of delicious pre- and post-game food tours for the whole family ranging from craft brewery and cocktail tours to pizza and the ultimate Friday Fish Fry tour.

Looking for things to do in Milwaukee during the Carmex Lambeau College Classic? Plan you own action-packed college football and food weekend before and after the big game with the following tasty tours:

FRIDAY, September 2nd

SATURDAY, September 3rd

  • GAME DAY - Carmex Lambeau College Classic in Green Bay, WI

SUNDAY, September 4th

Each of these experiences visits 4 – 5 locations for generous samples, history and narrated fun. Before heading out to cheer on either Wisconsin or Louisiana, be sure to reserve your ticket on one of our delicious experiences at www.MilwaukeeFoodTours.com

Or, simply looking to explore Milwaukee’s wide range of food and shopping destinations without having to worry about parking or transportation? Hop aboard the Explore Milwaukee Hop On Hop Off Sightseeing Bus. This convenient option runs every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10 am – 4 pm with 11 hop on / hop off stops that make visiting Milwaukee’s major attractions and neighborhoods a breeze. Complete route map and details are available at www.MilwaukeeCityTours.com – purchase tickets in advance or buy day-of as you enter the bus as any of the noted 11 locations.  

In addition to incredible food, beer, and football, Milwaukee offers a wide range of events and activities for the whole family.

If LSU mascot Mike the Tiger or UW-Madison mascot Bucky Badger are in town, they may want to have a family reunion at the Milwaukee County Zoo, check out the music at the 2016 Milwaukee Rally at the Harley-Davidson Museum, or take a bike ride along the beautiful lakefront area. Or, other things to do in Milwaukee this weekend include:

•             Grab a beer and tour at Lakefront Brewery

•             Attend the 2016 Harley-Davidson Milwaukee Rally, including the Big Gig BBQ

•             Explore the Streets of Old Milwaukee at the Milwaukee Public Museum

 

 

Historic Brady Street & Peter Sciortino's Bakery

We were sentimental last week when we learned that Peter Sciortino's Bakery would be remodeling their location as it has remained the same since our childhood, but were more than impressed when we got a sneak peek this week.

Prior to remodeling, Peter Sciortino's Bakery was known for their blue arches

Prior to remodeling, Peter Sciortino's Bakery was known for their blue arches

Kudos to Joe, Luigi and Maria for remodeling their entire bakery in just ONE WEEK. They worked 'round the clock to complete nearly the entire project on their own. For frequent customers, you will be happy to know that the Vella's continue to pay homage to the founders, Peter & Grace Sciortino, with their portrait overlooking the store. Most everything else is new including ceiling with handpainted tiled, subway tiled walls, tiled floors, new light fixtures, and more authentic bread display. One of the newest additions to the space is a sit-down bar allowing you to gaze at the eclectic Historic Brady Street neighborhood - in case you can't wait to go home to enjoy your Milwaukee Italian cookies!

Remodeled in just one week, Peter Sciortino's Bakery continues to be one of Milwaukee's premier historic bakeries since 1947.

Remodeled in just one week, Peter Sciortino's Bakery continues to be one of Milwaukee's premier historic bakeries since 1947.

Their space may be new, but their Italian cookies and cannoli remain unchanged. We look forward to continued weekly visits on with our many tour attendees! Join our Brady Street Tour or our Christmas Around Milwaukee Bakery Bus to delve into these delicious treats with us during a guided tour of Milwaukee.

TELL US: What's your favorite Italian cookie that you always look forward to buying there???

As always, a wide selection of delicious Italian treats await customers at Peter Sciortino's Bakery

As always, a wide selection of delicious Italian treats await customers at Peter Sciortino's Bakery

Girl Scout (or Boy Scout Troop) Outings in Milwaukee

Girl Scouting in the United States of America began on March 12, 1912, when Juliette Gordon Low organized the first Girl Scout troop meeting. I had a chance to re-live my Girl Scouting days and visited Juliette’s home while on vacation in Savannah, Georgia in 2013. The Girl Scouts grew from a meeting of just 18 girls who at the time, called themselves “Girl Guides of America,” to today, when the Girl Scouts has grown to nearly 4 million members. What a wonderful accomplishment that I’m certain would make Juliette proud!

An alumna myself, I remember the day 30+ years ago at Valley View Elementary School when I took the oath to first become a Brownie. Today, I’m in touch with many of my Menomonee Falls alumna proving the lifelong connection formed so many years ago is still strong. In 2015, we had a chance to re-connect with other alumnae at a social event hosted by the Girl Scouts at Camp Bar in Wauwatosa. Through the years we’ve planned a high school reunion, participated in community projects, and some of these ladies are even raising the next generation of young girl leaders.

This week in honor of National Girl Scout Day, Denise Schemenauer, CEO of the Girl Scouts of Manitou Council, hosted her team on a tour of the Historic Third Ward. They always enjoy incorporating fun and adventure into their team, and we had exactly that ahead of them for their outing in Milwaukee. When we mentioned that Milwaukee Food & City Tours hosts many Girl Scout troops through the year, Ms. Schemenauer noted, "It is important for Girls Scouts to be part of the community because it has been of the community for 104 years! (We) teach girls to find the problems and needs of a community, then design solutions and ways to meet those needs."

 

Hosting local troops on tours has proven as a fun and delicious activity to earn a scouting badge in Milwaukee.

We hosted GS Brownie Troop #8007 on a scavenger hunt through the Historic Third Ward. During our time together, the girls went block-to-block on a guided scavenger hunt while split between Team Red and Team Blue with their parents in tow. Along the way, each group met up with Mr. Mellow for some fun mustaches, made individual pizzas for lunch, delved into cupcakes for dessert – and we even photobombed a local bride on her wedding day who was delighted to share her moment with the girls!

During our Christmas season, we saw a local troop of 12 girls and moms on our Christmas Around Milwaukee Bakery Bus.  On the fast-paced bus tour, we visit 5 – 7 bakeries for pastries as well as stories in route about Christmas traditions from around the world. Troop leader Debra shared, “My troop had a great time. They enjoyed sampling treats from the various bakeries and were happy to take samples home.  My own daughters still recognize the bakeries as we drive past and talk about the treats they sampled.  I especially enjoyed the history we learned about the various Christmas traditions from other countries and the traditions we have here in the United States.  The girls also enjoyed looking at all the treats the different bakeries make.  Many of them purchased extra treats.  My personal favorite was a cream cake I bought from Aggie's Bakery.  I still dream about all the buttercream inside!  It was absolutely divine.  I also appreciated how welcome the girls felt in the group.  I know it can be a bit overwhelming sometimes to have children as part of a group, but they all felt included and respected.”

Girl Scouts can easily earn badges by attending tours too!

·        Brownies can earn a Celebrating Community badge by attending our Explore Milwaukee Hop On Hop Off Sightseeing Bus and learning the history of Milwaukee.

·        Juniors can earn a Digital Photography badge on our Milwaukee Photo Walk, a narrated historical tour with photography commentary to help you learn the best angles for photos taken along the way.

·        Cadettes can set up a private meet-and-greet with our founder, Theresa Nemetz, to learn more about the path of a woman entrepreneur in Milwaukee.

·        Girl Scouts can earn a Locavore badge by attending one of our many food tours or field trips– each including an equal dose of history and food as we visit the most historic neighborhoods and delicious eateries of Milwaukee.

Similar to the Girl Scouts, our tour motto is to “be prepared” – our tour guides and staff are always prepared for whatever weather elements or logistical challenges a tour may present to us. We would love to have your troop on tour with us so that we can show off the Milwaukee community to you and your troop!

Happy 104th Birthday, Girl Scouts!

#NationalGirlScoutDay

Now Hiring: Milwaukee Food & City Tours

Would you like to join the Milwaukee Food & City Tours team in 2016? We are currently accepting applications for the following positions: Reservations Specialist We are seeking a Reservations Specialist to coordinate our tour reservations. Candidate MUST be an Excel guru - please do not apply if you are not extremely comfortable using a computer, smart phone and Excel. Full-time or part-time opportunity depending on the candidate, but candidate must be available on Saturday AM's to answer calls and address logistical needs of the weekend tours. Ideal candidate will work Tuesday - Friday (hours are negotiable) + Saturday AM's.  Pay range is $10 - $12 an hour. Position starts mid-January. Key duties will include:

  • Make upwards of 500 restaurant reservations on a monthly basis via phone ($30 monthly cell phone stipend provided) and email, and document all communications
  • Communicate final head counts and itineraries to restaurants, tour guides and bus drivers daily
  • Respond to emails promptly, taking care to note all food allergy / vegetarian requests and documenting all conversations to ensure excellent tour execution.
  • Assist with gift card sales and redemptions
  • Run tour errands regularly throughout the downtown Milwaukee area, dropping off supplies to tour guides, stocking bus with items, meeting with hotels / restaurants, and picking up supplies from vendors - this is a particularly critical tasks on Saturday mornings. Must have access to transportation to run errands on a regular basis (gas stipend provided). 
  • Proofread documents, on a needed basis
  • Utilize databases daily to process payments, make reservations and collect participant contact information for marketing purposes.
  • Meet with key stakeholders (ie. visit area hotels and restaurant staff) on weekly basis to promote upcoming tours and maintain relationships
  • Assist with managing social media calendar, scheduling Facebook and Twitter posts on a weekly basis
  • Provide copywriting for blog posts and social media outlets
  • Must have an ability to stay extremely organized, timely in communications and document all conversations in master reservation system
  • Must have an ability to work independently
  • Must have an ability to receive direct feedback on an ongoing basis

To apply, email Theresa Nemetz, owner / operator, with a cover letter explaining why you'd be a great fit for the position along with your resume to theresa@milwaukeefoodtours.com

Bus Driver We are seeking 2 new part-time bus drivers to join our team. You would have very limited hours in the spring as you get trained with us, but more hours once our tour season kicks into high gear beginning May 1st. Driver must have excellent weekday, daytime availability - driving schedule varies each week depending on our tour schedule. Driver is required to have, at a minimum, a CDL Class C license with passenger endorsement, and must pass random drug tests on a regular basis. You'll earn $14 an hour, plus may receive gratuities. Weekend driving shifts available as well, but daytime availability is the critical need we currently must fill. To apply, email Theresa Nemetz, owner / operator, at theresa@milwaukeefoodtours.com to set up an interview - please indicate some times that you are available for an interview in the coming weeks. PLEASE DO NOT APPLY IF YOU DON'T HAVE A CDL, THANK YOU!

Tour Guides Do you have a strong love of Milwaukee? Do you have a high energy and confidence level and can lead tours in a witty and intelligent fashion? Do you have an ability to interact and communicate well with others? OK with 16 - 50 sets of eyes looking to you for direction at the same time? We're in search of tour guides for the 2016 season. Training of new guides will begin March 2016, with tour season kicking off May 2016. 

We are in search of excellent tour guides who can:

  • Lead walking and bus tours in a timely, witty and intelligent fashion
  • Communicate and interact well with guests and vendors alike
  • Maintain flexibility and willingness to work in situations of flux
  • Be available to lead weekday and weekend lunchtime tours

We are primarily seeking candidates with excellent weekday and weekend, daytime availability. Candidates without weekday, daytime availability may apply, however, must be committed to working 2 - 4 weeknight or weekend tours on a regular basis beginning in May 2016.

  • Our ideal candidate will have a theater or speaking / presenting background
  • Cooking professionals and public relations and marketing professionals/reporters with food and dining experience are encouraged to apply
  • Must have an ability to memorize lengthy script while also being able to adapt said script to the needs of each tour. Tour guides go through a lengthy training process in order to learn how to incorporate stories from the script into the tour in a casual and conversational manner.
  • Must have an ability to work well independently
  • Must have an ability to receive feedback on an ongoing basis from customers
  • Must contain a strong passion for Milwaukee
  • Should be comfortable spending 3 hours in various weather elements (sun, heat, cold, rain, snow)

It is important to note that a significant portion of your time leading tours (about 85%) will be in trouble shooting - finding ways to accommodate a guest with food allergies, having patience when a guest needs to walk a little slower, and dealing with the many challenges that may arise with working with restaurants and other vendors on busy Milwaukee days and nights. We are seeking extremely flexible candidates that are calm and yet quick on their feet to resolve a problem when under pressure.

To apply, please send a letter of interest highlighting why you are an ideal candidate to Theresa Nemetz, owner/operator, at theresa@milwaukeefoodtours.com. Be sure to indicate your level of availability (weekdays, weeknights, weekends beginning May 1st) in the letter, along with any significant spans of vacation dates or weekends that you would need off that you already have planned/will plan in June/July/August/September.

Korean War Veterans Explore Milwaukee with Custom Private Tour & Bus Rental During Reunion

I've often said that the best benefit of starting Milwaukee Food & City Tours is the amazing people we get to meet along the way. With today being Veterans Day, I would like to take a moment to reflect on one such amazing group that we designed a custom tour for during their military reunion in Milwaukee.  

It all started with a phone call from Bob and Richard, who I later met with at a local bakery, to begin to plan out a reunion trip for their fellow Korean War comrades who served in 1952 in the 25th Division. Bob and Richard met in the war and have been best friends ever since, even now as neighbors, in Wauwatosa. They set out to plan a nationwide reunion with their other Wauwatosa friend, Roolie, who not only served in the Korean War but WWII as well!

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Through our meetings, I learned that they all served in the Photo Division and took still photos (with real film!!) and video to provide G2 Intelligence for their fellow soldiers in combat.

 

On reunion day, we picked up the group of 20 men and their families at their hotel in our custom, mini-coach bus driven by Hazen, a Marine himself. We loved that not only did spouses attend the reunion, but so did multi-generations of families. One of the attendees had his daughter and grandson drive from St. Louis, MO to attend the weekend of activities – the grandson was compiling a report for school about the history lesson that he would gain from his weekend with grandpa.

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After the hotel pick up, we embarked on a day of touring in Milwaukee. We began with a private tour at the VA touring the cemetery grounds via bus, learning about the historic buildings including Old Main (the only original Soldiers Home building in the country designed to combine multiple basic veteran care functions under one roof), and talking about President Abraham Lincoln’s role in the creation of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. From there, we departed down Wisconsin Avenue for a historical tour through the eras, pointing out its unique architecture along the way. We found ourselves next at the St. Joan of Arc Chapel. We were able to make arrangements for a police escort with our tour bus through the center of the Marquette University campus right to the chapel front doors for this multi-generational group. At the chapel, a docent provided a tour and each of our guests had an opportunity to touch the stone St. Joan of Arc herself is believed to have knelt down and prayed upon.

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Having built up an appetite with our morning of historical touring, we next ventured for a leisurely lunch designed to show off several parts of the city. First, we stopped for Wisconsin cheese, Usinger’s sausage, Lakefront Brewery beer and shopping on Old World 3rd Street. Next, we were off to Milwaukee’s last remaining Polish restaurant for a truly authentic sit-down meal complete with camaraderie and tales. And, finally, there is always room for dessert, right? We capped off our day with this amazing group of veterans with a stop for Milwaukee’s legendary custard at Leon’s. Their tour guide, Jean, commented that the veterans said that at their reunions they "eat and talk and hug and eat and hug some more, " so we think our tour was the perfect fit for them indeed!

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Besides the stories gained throughout the day, one of the most touching moments was being witness to the many strangers who stopped our veterans throughout the day to thank the gentlemen for their service to our country. I am proud to know that my fellow Milwaukeeans took a moment of their day to thank them for their time in the military. Thank you for your service gentlemen, and thank you to all of our Milwaukee Food & City Tour fans that have served our country and protected our freedoms.

 

Are you looking for things to do while bringing a reunion or group to Milwaukee? We would love to have the opportunity to create a custom tour just for them - just call us at 262-853-5239 (Theresa) or email theresa@milwaukeefoodtours.com today to begin planning your itinerary!

New Racine Kriss Kringle Bakery Bus - Dec 5, 12 and 19th!

Looking for Christmas fun? Looking for things to do in Racine? Milwaukee Food & City Tours is thrilled to be expanding to the Racine community just in time for the holidays with a new Racine Kriss Kringle Bakery Bus Tour! Featured recently in The Journal Times, we are excited to share that tickets are available for online purchase HERE

Article, as published by The Journal Times:

Residents of Racine have long known the seduction of kringle and other pastries lovingly produced by the city’s Danish bakeries.

Beginning Dec. 5, people near and far can learn more about such edible delights, as well as the cultural traditions that surround them and other ethnic baked goods, during new Kriss Kringle Racine Bakery Bus tours. These tours — which visit several area bakeries, a chocolate shop and other locations — are a recent addition to the varied list of bus and walking tours offered by the Milwaukee Food & City Tours company.

Founded in 2008 by Theresa Nemetz and her husband Wade, Milwaukee Food & City Tours began as a hobby for the Milwaukee couple and soon grew into a successful business that is now full-time work for both.

“We started with a Brady Street tour, and that first year I was leading all the tours,” Theresa Nemetz said.

It wasn’t long, though, before people began asking about tours of other areas, she said. And because she and Wade always value the feedback they get from their customers, they began adding new tours the following year.

Custard, pizza and kringle

Today, Milwaukee Food & City Tours lists more than 15 different walking and bus tours on its website (milwaukeefoodtours.com), as well as Photo Walks and private and group tour options. Some focus on the culinary attributes of a specific neighborhood or suburb of Milwaukee — from the Historic Third Ward and Bay View to Wauwatosa and Cedarburg — while others are organized around a specific food type, such as the Milwaukee Pizza Bus Tour, the Milwaukee Fish Fry Tour and the Custard Capital of the World Custard Tour. There are also special seasonal tours, including the Ghouls & Spirits Adult Trick-or-Treat Bus Tour, and unusual combination tours, such as Churches & Chocolates.

The idea to branch out to Racine was sparked by two of the company’s 18 tour guides who live in Racine — Karen Fetherston and Marie Frederick.

“They had been talking to me about Racine for years, telling me what a great community it is and how it would be perfect for a tour,” Nemetz said. Their knowledge of and enthusiasm for the Belle City, combined with the curiosity many tour-goers from Illinois had expressed about Racine convinced her to add kringle tours to the company’s offerings.

“Our Christmas Around Milwaukee Bakery Bus is very popular and we saw Racine as a great opportunity to go into a another community,” Nemetz said.

kringle 2

Behind the scenes

About three hours long, the Kriss Kringle tours feature six stops, including Racine’s Danish bakeries, where tour-goers can get a behind-the-scenes look at kringle-making. Also included are stories of ethnic holiday traditions, the city’s architectural heritage and cultural history — and tour-goers are encouraged to come dressed in their holiday attire for these festive, seasonal outings.

Participants get to sample a variety of baked goods along the way — kringle, tortes, cookies and other signature items. And the samples are substantial servings, Fetherston said.

“No one will leave the tour hungry,” she said.

Some tour-goers bring bags along so that they can take goodies home with them, she said. And, of course, everyone is welcome to purchase additional items along the way, if they so choose.

Fetherston trained to become a tour guide after attending a food tour in Milwaukee with her father and finding she loved it. “I thought to myself, ‘this would be a really fun job,’ ” she said, noting that she calls it her “jobby” because she’d been looking for a hobby to do after her children left for college.

Also a full-time employee of Lutheran Social Services, Fetherston said she enjoys the research involved in being a tour guide and has learned a lot about the community she's lived in for 20-plus years.

“I think even people who’ve lived in Racine all of their lives can learn a lot on these tours,” she said. “It’s also a whole lot of fun and you meet a lot of great people.”

Private tours, too

Milwaukee Food & City Tours also offers private tours in Racine, such as the one attended by members of the Prospect Heights Park District’s Seniors on the Go! group, from Illinois, earlier this month. Fetherston led the group on a tour of several Danish bakeries, a Mexican bakery and a chocolate shop, and they had lunch at the Reefpoint Brew House. And for participants like Sharon Steffey — a member of the group who has attended numerous tours with Milwaukee Food & City Tours — it is more than the food that draws her to go.

“I love learning about the city,” Steffey said. “They really do know their history.”

Another tour-goer, Mary Olson, said she appreciated the great demonstration that Don Hutchinson, co-owner of Larsen’s Bakery, gave in the bakery’s kitchen during the tour. “The way he explained things was very interesting,” she said.

Diane Isenberg, also of Seniors on the Go, said that she’s been on many food tours with Nemetz’s company and has yet to attend one she didn’t like. “We’ve eaten at such interesting places, even the Harley-Museum on a brats, beer and bikes tour,” she said. “And the tour guides are delightful. They really want to make sure we have a good time.”

Cost of the Kriss Kringle Racine Bakery Bus tour is $50 per person, including round-trip transportation from the ShopKo parking lot at the corner of Washington Avenue and Ohio Street. These seasonal tours will be offered on Saturdays in December, beginning Dec. 5 and running through the 19th. Tickets can be purchased at http://www.milwaukeefoodtours.com/christmas-in-milwaukee.php

Have you had a Racine kringle?  Which one is your favorite?

JUST LAUNCHED: Bikes Brats & Beer tour in conjunction with Harley-Davidson Museum

The Harley-Davidson Museum is celebrating summer in the city with a new tour developed in partnership with Milwaukee Food & City Tours®. The Milwaukee Legends Tour: Bikes Brats & Beer will be offered Thursdays and Sundays from May 21 to Sept. 6. “Whether a first-time visitor to the city, or a seasoned Milwaukee resident looking for a unique experience, tour participants are sure to learn something new about local history and culture, and have a lot of fun along the way,” said Bill Davidson, vice president of the Harley-Davidson Museum.

Each three-and-a-half hour excursion kicks off with a guided tour of the Museum, highlighting Harley-Davidson’s journey from garage start-up to iconic global brand. Participants will then board a Museum bus and embark on a historical tour focused on Milwaukee’s legendary beer- and sausage-making heritage. The narrated journey through the Menomonee and Miller Valleys and downtown highlights: the family mansions of Milwaukee beer barons, Pabst Brewery Complex, Schlitz Park and Usinger’s Famous Sausage Shop.

The tour includes two memorable stops where participants will experience some of the city’s iconic culinary offerings. Sampling includes authentic German brats and classic Wisconsin cheeses at Wisconsin Cheese Mart on Old World 3rd Street, and beer tastings during a Lakefront Brewery tour. The journey ends back at the Museum, with the option to experience Bike Night (5 to 9 p.m.) after Thursday tours.

The Milwaukee Legends Tour is offered Thursdays 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Sundays 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $60 per person and can be purchased at www.h-dmuseum.com/mke. Ticket price includes all-day Museum admission along with a 10% discount at MOTOR® Bar & Restaurant and The Shop. Tour participants must be 21 years or older and capacity is limited.

Historic Brady Street Food Tour Is Simply Delicious

For the 8th year, Milwaukee Food & City Tours is offering food tours of historic Brady Street.  Owned by Theresa Nemetz, she explains, “The tours are inspired by my great-grandparents, Guiseppi and Rosa, who 110 years, ago immigrated to Milwaukee from Santa Flavia, Sicily.  There is no better street in Milwaukee to share the immigrant story than historic Brady Street.  Eight years later, the tour continues to be a very popular tour route, although we now offer over 15 different tours of the city – both by foot and bus.  Our Pizza Bus and Custard Capitol of the World (available year round), as well as our Milwaukee Fish Fry tour (offered only during Lent), are very popular bus options!” On Brady Street, the 2.5 hour, 1-mile walking tour combines the owner’s love of great food with the rich history of the neighborhood. The tour includes stops at Zaffiro’s on Farwell, for the thinnest pizza in the city, as well as two other iconic symbols of the Italian culture on Brady Street – Peter Sciortino’s Bakery and Glorioso’s Italian Market. Highlights include historical buildings, background on Polish and Italian immigrants settling here and the industrial developments that drew them to the Brady Street area.  It reviews the significance of the Milwaukee River, Beerline Railroad, tanneries and meat packing industries that provided employment and opportunities for immigrants. Guests enjoy delicious tastings along the way at authentic Italian eateries as well as at several newer establishments that have helped to revitalize this ever-changing enclave.

All of the tours are an all-inclusive price with the food / drinks included in the price - it’s like a progressive meal with a side of history. Neighborhood walking tours and specialty bus tours range in price from $35 - $75 per person. To reserve your spot on an upcoming tour, go to www.milwaukeefoodtours.com or call 414.255.0534.

Milwaukee Food & City Tours Presented with Inaugural DearMKE Award

Milwaukee Food & City Tours was selected by VISIT Milwaukee to be the first recipient of the DearMKE Award. This was presented on Wednesday, May 6, 2015 at Turner Hall during the Annual Meeting of VISIT Milwaukee. The DearMKE Award honors a locally-celebrated individual or business whose efforts also garner positive national media attention for Milwaukee. Our company does an excellent job promoting Milwaukee not only to locals and visitors, but to national and international media as well. We collaborate with visiting travel writers to expose them to the local food scene with tours led by our knowledgeable guides, who make food, history and fun such a memorable experience in Milwaukee.

To schedule your tour, visit http://www.milwaukeefoodtours.com

Milwaukee Food & City Tours Supports 250+ Area Non-Profits Annually

Did you know that in 2013, Milwaukee Food & City Tours donated more than 250 gift cards valued at over $10,000 to area non-profits? We believe strongly in our community and donate gift cards through the year to support important initiatives in both the greater Milwaukee and overall Wisconsin community. We are happy to entertain requests to support non-profit organizations making a positive impact in our community. Our founder, Theresa Nemetz, shared recently that, “having a background as a non-profit professional myself, I know the direct impact that an auction item can have on the bottom line of a community organization. Contributing to our community is important to my family and my company, Milwaukee Food & City Tours.” We take pride in the impact we are making in the community. Martha Moore of Marquette University shared, “Milwaukee Food & City Tours has been very generous with donating gift cards to the Marquette University College of Engineering Alumni Association Auction. The proceeds from the annual auction go to their scholarship fund to assist students in their pursuit of a Marquette engineering education. This item is always a hot ticket!”

Our gift card donations for Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare’s Cancer Center fundraisers have, along with other contributors, allowed them to invest in the future of cancer care through advances in professional development, technology, facilities, and, for each patient, provides the personalized, compassionate care that Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare is known for.  According to Shelli Marquardt of Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare’s Foundation, this compassionate care includes providing patients with “yoga classes, patient massages, access to the Hope Fund (which pays for utilities, rent, car payments, etc), transportation to appointments, medications and more.”

If you work for an area non-profit or are a non-profit volunteer, we invite you to request a gift card to be used as an auction item or raffle prize. Please email Theresa at Theresa@milwaukeefoodtours.com with the request on letterhead. Be sure that the request includes the tax-identification number of the non-profit in addition to the mailing address for where the gift card should be sent. Please note that phone calls are not encouraged – your organization will receive a response directly from us within 14 days of receipt of request.

Great Lakes Hemophilia Foundation Hosts 2nd Annual Milwaukee’s Best Bloody

We just were alerted to a unique fundraising event in town that we thought our fans might be interested in. Since our own Bloody Mary Brunch tour every Sunday morning is so popular, you might want to check this annual event out too! Taste Milwaukee’s Best Bloody Mary’s on Sunday, May 4, 2014 at Turner Hall Ballroom. Great Lakes Hemophilia Foundation (GLHF) will be host a friendly competition and tasting event from 11 am to 3pm, your ticket includes delicious Bloody Marys, beer chasers, appetizers, and the chance to crown the next Bloody Mary champion. Tickets can be purchased online or day of.

The event will feature delicious Bloody Marys from bars across the Milwaukee area from the East side to Downtown to the Third Ward. Returning to compete are The Pfister, Industri Café, AJ Bombers, & last year’s winner Steny’s Tavern & Grill. New bars include Sobelman’s Pub and Grill and Rustico Pizzeria, with many more signing up daily. You can check an updated list at glhf.org.

The GLHF Board President, Bill Finn, will be a guest bartender serving up his own unique Bloody Mary while raising money for GLHF’s inaugural camp. There will also be barrel of booze for attendees to win as well as raffles for participants to try their hand at.

The bars will be judged on four basic categories. The attendees will get to decide Milwaukee’s Best Bloody, while guest celebrity judges will vote on the other three categories. Most Unique, Most Like a Meal, and our NEW Mystery Category (when you purchase your tickets online you decide our new category). Celebrity judges include Brian West of Alcoholmanac Magazine & Susan Fiebig author of The Bloody Trail: In Quest of the Best Wisconsin Bloody Marys.

All proceeds from Milwaukee’s Best Bloody will fund GLHF programs that are designed to educate and support individuals and families with bleeding disorders by supporting programs that increase public awareness, ensure access to needed medical services, provide relevant information and resources, build a supportive community among individuals and families, and promote choices that lead to optimal health and living life without limitations.

 

A Birthday Party for the Young Foodie in your Life

Do you have a young foodie in your life? Through the years, we've received many requests to offer a birthday party option for children. We're thrilled to share that we recently had an opportunity to test the concept with an 11-year old foodie birthday party! We hosted Nicholas and his friends on our inaugural birthday tour. Afterwards, mom to the birthday boy shared with us, "Nicholas said it was the best birthday party ever, the parents were impressed and some told me the kids were talking about it all the way home."

During the 2.5 hour birthday adventure, we hosted a scavenger hunt through the Historic Third Ward, stopped along the way to make individual gourmet pizzas for attendees, played some ping pong and enjoy soda, and sung Happy Birthday over a cupcake dessert!

Interested in scheduling a similar birthday party for a child or grandchild?  Email us at theresa@milwaukeefoodtours.com for more details.

As a reminder, we host many adult birthday parties too! Often times guests will pick a date and time to attend a public tour from our calendar for their celebration, or you may schedule a private outing for just their friends and family.

Our personal recommendation for which tour to pick for your celebration? We've noticed that our Pizza Bus as well as our new Pre-Prohibition Historic Bar Tour are hot sellers for birthday outings, and they are our winter favorites too!

Tour Company Founder Recognized by Milwaukee Business Journal

As founder of Milwaukee Food & City Tours, I was SO honored when I discovered that I had been nominated by one of our great tour fans and then in February 2014, recognized as a 40 Under 40 in Milwaukee. As I said at the awards reception, "I've always loved Milwaukee, but now I'm head over heels in love with Milwaukee!"  I'm so proud to show off our great city to tourists and locals alike. Thank YOU for allowing me to do so. We continue to be Milwaukee's premier, original and award winning food and city tour and can't wait for all that 2014 brings. I hope that you consider including Milwaukee Food & City Tours in your plans. Excerpts from the 40 Under 40 publication included:

"Theresa Nemetz has always been a fan of her hometown, but she has gained a new appreciation for Milwaukee in the siz years since she founded Milwaukee Food & City Tours."

"Nemetz started the company with her husband, Wade, as a way to show off the city and its growing food culture. It has grown to more than a dozen tours, from neighborhood tours of the 3rd Ward or Wauwatosa to themed tours such as pizza and holiday treats."

"Last year, the company bought its first bus to take visitors and locals alike around the area. It employs 15 tour guides."

"It was really our hobby turned wild," she said."

"Nemetz said she was inspired to start the company by her great-grandparents, Rosa and Guiseppi, who immigrated to Milwaukee from Sicily. The company has contributed nearly $1 million to the local economy by patronizing restaurants and food businesses along with $10,000 annually to local non-profits, she said."

"VISIT Milwaukee often brings visitors and travel writers on the tours to give them a taste of the city, said Carrie Woods, marketing and communications manager. It makes a great impact that we can have our travel writers experience different neighborhoods and get background on those neighborhoods," she said. The company has an obvious economic effect on the neighborhoods it visits, and it's been fun to see the company itself grow, too, she said."

Free Coffee & Roasting Demos - Hawthorne Coffee Roasting

Milwaukee Food & City Tours is thrilled to share that we have partnered with a local entrepreneur to bring high-quality, handcrafted coffee and espresso to Milwaukee. The name is Hawthorne Coffee Roasters. If you haven't already, would you give the fanpage page a LIKE?

As reported in the Milwaukee Business Journal,

"The former vice president of Stone Creek Coffee Roasters, Steve Hawthorne, has launched his own wholesale coffee company along with the co-owner of Milwaukee Food & City Tours. Hawthorne and partner Wade Nemetz have been working on the concept of Hawthorne Coffee Roasters for more than a year. They’re working out of 1,000 square feet in West Allis."

"The focus is high-end, small-batch coffee with unique flavors, Hawthorne said. The company is looking to work with restaurants, cafes, specialty grocers and other businesses and is close to signing a few deals, he said. It also is selling beans online. To start, it has four single-origin coffees available and one espresso blend."

You may also read about the business venture in OnMilwaukee.com and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Located in West Allis primarily as a wholesale operation, we are be hosting several Open Houses to show off the roasting operation... and you are invited!

OPEN HOUSE DATES: Monday, March 10th, 6 am to 2 pm Saturday, March 22, 10 am to 4 pm Monday, April 7, 2014, 6 am to 2 pm

During the Open Houses, there will be roasting demonstrations every hour on the hour; free tastings lessons at 10 am and 2 pm each day; and samples available all day.

Opportunities to purchase coffee and espresso are also available both online and at the Open Houses. If desired, feel free to pre-order your coffee and schedule a pick up during one of the upcoming events at: http://www.hawthornecoffeeroasters.com/

Please RSVP by clicking the above date, or simply stop by to check it out!

Things to do in Milwaukee for Christmas

  The weather has turned chilly, and winter is ahead. Are you looking for things to do in Milwaukee for the Christmas season?

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MILWAUKEE CHRISTMAS IDEAS:

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HOLIDAY LIGHT DISPLAYS:

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What are your favorite things to do in Milwaukee for the holidays???

 

Going Back to Her First Slice of Pizza

Meet Gail, in town from Albuquerque to visit her daughter, Renee:

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Gail grew up in Milwaukee and took our Brady Street tour while in town this month. We started with a visit to Zaffiro's Pizza. It turns out that this was the place that Gail first tried pizza. It was the 1950's and she was 11 years old. Her Dad told the family that he was taking them out to try a "new food called pizza." She loved it, but never having had oregano either, she shared with us that she wasn't exactly sure what to make of it!

Gail's daughter Renee shared with us that it was great to take her back to the original Zaffiro's to have the pizza again - and it was still great after all these years.  "Our whole group enjoyed being a tourist in our own town. We learned a ton and loved seeing Milwaukee from a new perspective."

Meet Jessie: A Guide with a Ghost Story

Meet Jessie, a Milwaukee Food & City Tours guide for the past 3 years. An East Sider, who has lived on Brady Street for many years, she loves to share her neighborhood’s pedestrian-friendly streets with locals and tourists alike. One of her favorite stops on our Brady Street tour is Cempazuchi's where she greets the staff by name when ordering their traditional Mexican street food. The house made chips and peanut salsa are muy buenos! Taste for yourself and learn the story of the restaurant’s name when you and your friends join us for a Brady Street Food Tour…  purchase your advance tickets today! When Jessie isn't leading tours on Brady Street, or reading a book in one of its many cafes, she shares her passion for the performing arts by working for Milwaukee Chamber Theatre (MCT) at The Broadway Theatre Center. For those of you who have taken our Historic Third Ward dinner tour, you probably already know the story of Clair Richardson and his many hauntings within that building. Clair is one of the most well-known ghosts of Milwaukee's past.  We'll be sharing his tale, and the tales of many more, on our Ghouls & Spirits Adult Trick or Treat Bus tour in October.  This 3-hour bus tour features a haunted city tour with ghost stories throughout the Third Ward, along Brady Street, down Wisconsin Avenue in the Concordia neighborhood, and even through a historic cemetery. Enjoy three food/drink stops along the way - appetizers and wine while exploring a historic hotel, an entree while sipping your choice of pumpkin punch or seasonal craft beer, plus dessert and more at our final resting stop of the evening!

To get in the mood before joining us on this special Halloween adventure, why not enjoy a ghost story first? Get $10 OFF tickets for Milwaukee Chamber Theatre's THE DETECTIVE'S WIFE, September 18 – October 13. The plot of this play centers on Alice Conroy, an avid fan of murder mysteries. When her own husband, a Chicago homicide detective, is gunned down, she sets out to uncover who did it... and why. As a special offer to all Milwaukee Food & City Tours fans, Jessie has arranged a $10 discount for you! Just ask for “GHOST10” when ordering at the box office or by phone at 414-291-7800. You can also purchase tickets online at http://milwaukeechambertheatre.com/ Enter coupon code: GHOST10. (Not valid on previously purchased tickets or with any other discount or special offer. Restrictions apply.)

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Milwaukee Food & City Tours buys bus, expands tour offerings!

Milwaukee Food & City Tours is delighted to announce a fleet of busses to its tour company, resulting in greater tour offerings throughout the year, along with a slight name rebranding to better reflect both its food and city tour options. Owners Theresa Nemetz, along with her husband Wade, noted, "Our guests especially love the door-to-door service of our bus tours, removing the hassle of driving and parking. As tourism has increased in Milwaukee, we saw the demand for increased availability of our bus and sightseeing tours throughout the year as well.”

Milwaukee Food & City Tours is a woman-owned business founded by Theresa Nemetz in 2008 that provides tours by foot and bus to promote Milwaukee's rich immigrant history and features locally owned establishments.  Working with 40+ restaurants and small business owners, we also employ 15 part-time tour guides.

Milwaukee Food & City Tours is important to Milwaukee's local economy because we are spending money and driving return business to local establishments. In its 6th year of operation, we have contributed over $1 million to the local economy. Not only that, but it is an opportunity for both tourists and local Milwaukeeans to explore the city. Although most assume that we are solely a tourist attraction, more than half of our attendees are locals using the tour as an opportunity re-discover the city. Guests have included couples on their first date as well as those celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary, friends on a night out to celebrate birthdays or just enjoy an evening together, bachelors and bachelorette capping off a weekend of fun on our Bloody Mary Brunch tour, and corporate outings enjoying private tours such as the Pizza Bus.

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Ideal for locals and tourist, birthday and anniversary celebrations, corporate team-building, and educational field trips, Milwaukee Food & City Tours offers 1-mile walking neighborhood tours along Brady Street, in the Historic Third Ward, along the RiverWalk/Old World Third Street, in the Village of Wauwatosa and the historic City of Cedarburg.

Popular bus tours include Milwaukee’s Pizza Tour, Churches & Chocolates, Walker's Point Dine Around, Ghouls & Spirits Adult Trick or Treat, and Christmas Around the World Bakery Bus. New tours include a Christmas Lights & Desserts tour, the Historic Bar Tour, and a Sightseeing City Tour with hop on/hop off service in downtown Milwaukee.

Please visit www.milwaukeefoodtours.com or call 1-800-979-3370 to reserve your spot on an upcoming tour. Private tours as well as bus rentals are available as well.