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Once renowned for its clean spring waters, Waukesha, Wisconsin is now taking center stage for its eclectic art galleries, popular concerts, scenic hiking trails and, most notably, its evolving lineup of local dining establishments. We explore the top restaurants in ‘Spring City,’ from unexpected foodie havens dotting the Fox River to hole-in-the-wall cafes that will make you feel like a regular by your second visit.
Date night just got a whole lot swankier. Relatively new to the Waukesha dining scene, Generations at 5 Points has already made a name for itself as the area’s go-to tapas spot. The menu rotates every month to highlight the season’s finest ingredients; a typical winter dish might be macadamia scallops, baked and served on cilantro basmati rice with a guava chili glaze, or lobster mac and cheese made with a sharp white cheddar sauce, penne pasta and truffle oil. A glass of sangria is the perfect accompaniment to a meal enjoyed in the cool, almost ethereal blue glow of Generations at 5 Points.
The warm waters and lush breezes of Florida are about 1,000 miles away from Wisconsin – and can feel even farther in the dead of winter – but don’t let distance get in the way of enjoying Southern fare. Key Westconsin, located on the Fox River in historic downtown Waukesha, prides itself on being a ‘gluten-free paradise’ serving up healthy, tropical meals that mesh the Dairy State with the Sunshine State in a fun, vibrant venue. The menu is seafood-heavy, featuring entrées like whitefish sautéed with lemon pepper, and crab cakes served with a house-made Key Lime aïoli sauce. Alternatively, try the chicken breasts with caramelized onions and pineapple juice, a dish meant for ‘landlubbers who enjoy the original boneless fish fillet.’
Key Westconsin, 331 Riverfront Plaza, Waukesha, WI, USA, +1 262 446 2346
The Steaming Cup is all about the details; from the guitars, coffee paraphernalia and artwork on the walls to the extensive menu featuring over 120 different kinds of tea. Most importantly, though, it is about making you feel like you are a part of the neighborhood, no matter where you are from, which is why it is one of the most popular hangout spots in the downtown Waukesha area.
The Steaming Cup, 340 West Main Street, Waukesha, WI, USA, +1 262-522-3605
Scour the entire metropolitan Milwaukee area and we bet you won’t find German cuisine and atmosphere to beat that at Weissgerber’s Gasthaus. Its decor and architecture – which include a cozy rock fireplace on one wall, stained glass and intricate murals of landscapes on another – evoke the vibes of a country inn in the hills of Germany. The extravagant Friday fish fry, which comes with sides of potato salad, coleslaw, rye bread, French fries, potato pancakes, apple sauce and tartar sauce, is highly recommended, or take your pick from a multitude of traditional entrées like wiener schnitzel, sauerbraten or veal Emmental. On Wednesday nights during the summer, make time in your visit to check out the ‘Wednesday Night Classics’ vintage car show that attracts visitors and their vehicles from miles around.