$7 Downtown Milwaukee lunch challenge: My Office
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763 N. Milwaukee St.
Type of food: Sandwiches, salads and soups, mostly.
Prices: $4-9, mostly.
Vegetarian friendly? Yep, including a veggie sandwich and veggie burger, in addition to salad
Hours: Monday through Friday, serving lunch from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; the tavern is open seven days a week until bar close.
My Office, a beloved hidden gem in Milwaukee and unabashed Downtown dive bar, is known first for its booze and second for its breakfast. But between the morning crowd fueling up for the day and the early-morning crowd winding down a night out, the comfortable establishment serves a convincing lunch – quick, easy and satisfying.
Living Downtown, My Office has become one of my regular bar spots. I don't usually eat out for lunch, but since I like the drinks so much, I figured I'd give the food a try. I went in Friday at 12:30 p.m. for the $7 lunch challenge, sat down at the bar and was immediately greeted by Robert Beerman, who runs the joint during the day.
Beerman's wife Debbie does the cooking and everything is homemade. Some of the items – such as the patty melt and the hamburger club, which is an excellent concept – cost a little more than $7, but Robert suggested the chicken salad sandwich for my challenge-mandated budget. The chicken salad and potato salad it came with were both made from scratch by Debbie, he said, and so, as someone who enjoys mayonnaise to an absolutely alarming degree, I ordered that.
Maybe – MAYBE – two actual, unit-of-time minutes later, Robert was walking out of the kitchen carrying my plate. "Sorry you had to wait so long," he joked, putting the food down next to my Diet Coke. I took my meal to the front bar/table area that – with the windows open on a beautiful, sunny day – looks out on Milwaukee Street, which is currently undergoing streetcar construction, and watched the work while I ate.
The chicken salad and potato salad were simple and good, just what I wanted for a quick lunch. The sandwich came on white bread, with lettuce and tomatoes, and the chicken salad was fresh and tasty. Because I'm a creamy-craving mayonnaise monster, I admit that I slathered some of the potato salad onto the sandwich – which, I know; I'm sorry – but you don't have to do that, nor should you do that, and you'll still enjoy the food immensely.
As I was eating, Debbie came out to check on me, noting proudly that everything she cooks is handmade and mentioning that the streetcar construction hasn't really hurt business. Workers come in sometimes – on my visit, there were a couple were sitting at the bar, along with a businessman and a guy that sounded like a tourist, as well as a trio of women eating at a table nearby – and, except for the noise and inconvenience for drivers, the construction added a vibrant, buzzing element to the atmosphere.
I cleaned my plate, took it back to Robert, thanked him, paid for my meal and left. I was there for 15 minutes. I love My Office and I usually like to stay much longer, but at lunch on a busy workday, I just want cheap, easy, reliably good food, and to be in and out. That's exactly what I got at My Office.
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