Friday Fish Frys are a long standing tradition for many Milwaukee natives but do you know what started this tasty ritual? We’ll give you a hint…..it involves a tasty brew!
Here at Milwaukee Food & City Tours, we love sharing the unique history of the Friday night Fish Fry with our guests and introducing them to some of our favorite places to grab a bite! Whether it’s cod, perch or Milwaukee’s favorite smelt, you’re in for a treat!
What does a typical Friday night on our Milwaukee Fish Fry tour look like? Pretty delicious if you ask us!
Stop #1: Buck Bradley’s
Our first stop is home to the longest continuous bar in Wisconsin and a darn good fish fry! We love to pull up our bar stool and settle in for a classic cod fish fry at Buck Bradley’s located on Old World Third Street. Buck Bradley’s fried cod is reminiscent of the first fish frys the breweries served in the 1800s. We like to remember this history by toasting those famous Milwaukee Beer Barons that made Milwaukee famous with our favorite local brews too!
The building that houses Buck Bradley’s has a strong German heritage dating back to 1854 when the building was built to house a furniture store! Through out its lifetime the building has housed a hardware store, shoe store, a bakery and several retailers until becoming the Buck Bradley’s that we know and love today!
Heading to an event at the Fiserv Forum? Stop by Buck Bradley’s for a pre-event meal and then enjoy a short walk to the Fiserv Forum! Or, simply walk in with our Milwaukee Fish Fry tour ready to eat!
Stop #2: St. Florian’s
For many families, the Friday night Fish Fry meant gathering in the local church basement for a rip roaring good time with family and friends. We love to stop at St. Florian’s Church with our tour groups for some of their famous fried smelt, and a little church history! You’ll immediately feel like family when you walk through these doors!
Smelt was once a Milwaukee staple and easily caught off the shores of Lake Michigan. However, in recent years “smelting” opportunities in Lake Michigan have significantly decreased along with the number of restaurants offering Smelt.
Once the smelt are caught, they are fried up whole and served with the usual fish fry sides and accommodates. Foodies like to say that eating a fried smelt tastes like something between a traditional piece of fried fish and smoked fish.
Bonus Fact: St. Florian is the patron saint of fire fighters and he must be watching over St. Florian’s because the church has miraculously survived three fires that should have burned the structure to the ground every time!
Stop #3: Polonez Restaurant
Our Milwaukee Fish Fry Tour would not be complete without some potato pancakes! Polonez is Milwaukee’s last Polish restaurant and one of our favorite places to chow down on some breaded cod and potato pancakes! Polonez’s owners, Aleksandra and George will make you feel like family while you enjoy Polish dishes straight from George’s family kitchen!
Almost every ethnic group has their own version of potato pancakes. The Polish version is often referred to has a placki and is made with mashed potatoes as opposed to German or Jewish potato pancakes that are made with grated potatoes.
Although not included in the price on this particular tour, Polonez also offers a wide variety of Polish beers and cocktails available for purchase to enjoy with your meal!
Always Leave Room for Dessert with Milwaukee Food & City Tours!
Everyone who’s joined Milwaukee Food & City Tours for a tour before know how much we love our sweet treats, especially custard! An evening of Milwaukee history and Fish Fry stops would not be complete without a scoop of custard! We love to end the evening at a famous Milwaukee landmark, Leon’s Custard! A scoop of creamy custard is the perfect way to end any evening!
Reserve your spot today!
Are you up to eating at THREE of the best fish fries in Milwaukee, plus having custard for dessert, on this limited edition tour? Offered every Friday during Lent – or available year-round for private tours - the Milwaukee Fish Fry Tour let’s you decide for yourself who offers the best Milwaukee fish fry! Our Milwaukee Fish Fry Tour visits 3 establishments during the 3-hour tour so that you can decide for yourself who offers the best Milwaukee fish fry. You’ll sample a half-sized portion of a fish fry along with sides such as potato pancakes, coleslaw and apple sauce at each stop that we visit. And as with all of our food tours, guests are encouraged to save room for dessert - in this case, a scoop of legendary Milwaukee-style custard. Reserve your seat before they sell out at https://www.milwaukeefoodtours.com/milwaukee-fish-fry