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America’s heartland: Tasting the Old World

Courtesy Visit Milwaulkee

“Old World Third Street is a great place for groups to experience Milwaukee’s German traditions and get a taste of Milwaukee, literally,” said Jeannine Sherman, public relations manager for Visit Milwaukee.

“There is German influence in the restaurants, such as Mader’s, which has been in the same family for more than 100 years and serves German specialties from old family recipes. It is a taste of Germany without having to leave the country.

“Usinger’s Sausage, also in the same family since the 1800s, has many family recipes handed down over generations. The store is much like you would have found it in the early 1900s. The smells are delicious and incredible.

“The Spice House, which recently celebrated its 50th anniversary, is the kind of place where they have big, open bulk bins of spices,” said Sherman. “There is anything you could want, from the common to the out-of-the-ordinary.

“You can also see German influence in the Old German Beer Hall, which is based on the Munich Hofbräuhaus. It is very casual.

“The Wisconsin Cheese Mart recently expanded to include a cheese bar. On one side, you have what they claim is the largest collection of Wisconsin cheese in the world; on the other side is this really great bar with wine and cheese and beer and cheese pairings.”

The Historic Third Ward, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, has numerous antique shops, restaurants and specialty stores in renovated late-19th- and early-20th-century warehouses and factories.

“It is sometimes called the Soho of the Midwest,” said Sherman. “It’s a great neighborhood architecturally and very walkable. It has the largest concentration of art galleries in the city and a lot of wonderful sidewalk cafes and restaurants, everything from casual to upscale.”

Sherman said the anchor of the neighborhood, which is located on Milwaukee’s three-mile-long Riverwalk, is the five-year-old Milwaukee Public Market.

“It has 17 vendors with a lot of different Wisconsin products, everything from cheese and beer to the more exotic,” she said.

For more America’s heartland:

History thrives
Cuisine that makes it good to be hungry

Agritourism’s harvest
Get hip to the urban heartland
Conner Prairie
Elkhart County’s Amish haystack
Agritourism on the cusp of suburbia