“Cliffie, quick. Alcohol test. What do you smell when I do this? “Asks Norm.
“Milwaukee,” Cliff replies.
The punch line from season four of Applause, which aired in 1985 made a joke about a town that smelled of its breweries and wasn’t known for much else. That era seems worlds away from 2019, when cranes littered the city’s burgeoning skyline and citizen leaders pondered how many new hotels they needed ahead of the expected Democratic National Convention, when a shared feeling spread that Milwaukee could be a big deal could be more than the residence of the Bronze Fonz.
In retrospect, both perspectives seem a bit naive. If 2020 Milwaukee taught anything – aside from the importance of comfortable pants – it would be grateful for what the city has already had, including all of their amazing foods: empanadas, injera, pork belly tacos, stacked Bloody Marys, carbonara, cheese curd , Small Batch Coffee, Stuffed Cabbage, Neapolitan Pizza, Southern Style Barbecue, Food Halls, Food Truck Parks, and yes, even breweries. With so much to eat and drink, who cares if the city smells a bit like beer?
Note: Restaurants on this m are listed geographically.