Seriously. Just look at all that gooey cheese.
Seriously. Just look at all that gooey cheese. (Photo: Nick Chipman)

Greatest Milwaukee sandwich ever? The Pabst Blue Reuben

There are a lot of great sandwiches in Milwaukee. But I may have found one that blows away just about every other sumptuous creation you’ve ever eaten. And it’s arrived just in time for St. Patrick’s Day.

"Our favorite sandwich has officially joined forces with our favorite beer," notes an article this week at, "And it is completely, utterly breathtaking."

The accolades are pointed toward the Pabst Blue Reuben, a monstrous masterpiece comprised of a classic Reuben sandwich – complete with corned beef, gooey Swiss cheese, saurkraut and dressing – that’s been fancied up with a PBR batter and deep fried into a glorious golden oblivion.

The sandwich, declared to be "your formula for eternal happiness," just happens to originate right here in Milwaukee, thanks to the deft hands and (always amusingly twisted) brain of Nick Chipman. Known better in the food blogging world as the guy behind Dude Foods, Chipman has created a web site filled with outrageous and often delicious creations that tend to push the envelope when it comes to both caloric intake and practicality.

Chipman is no stranger to deep fried foods. In fact, a few years back he appeared on an episode of Destination America’s "Deep Fried Masters" where he served up deep fried lasagne and deep fried deviled eggs in an effort to be crowned Deep Fried Master. He’s also whipped up a series of popular creations including deep fried bacon wrapped peanut butter balls and a deep fried scrambled egg bun burger. Earlier this year, he also won our Steinhafel’s Dine In & Win Big recipe contest with his pizza stuffed biscuits.

And while tomato soup stuffed grilled cheese balls sound pretty good on a cold windy day like today, I’m pretty sure if you made me a Pabst Blue Reuben, I’d be yours forever.

A nice crowd turned out for this morning's Coffee Connection, which featured Dan Sidner of Black Shoe Hospitality.
A nice crowd turned out for this morning's Coffee Connection, which featured Dan Sidner of Black Shoe Hospitality. (Photo: East Town Association)

Wit and wisdom from a great morning with Dan Sidner of Black Shoe Hospitality

I was honored to have spent a good part of the early morning today with Dan Sidner of Black Shoe Hospitality, the restaurant group he co-owns with Chef Joe Muench that includes Maxie's, Blue's Egg and Story Hill BKC. 

We were participating in the first of three events scheduled for 2016 in the East Town Coffee Connections series. My job was to create and ask remotely intelligent questions, and Dan's job was to answer them. That part was simple enough. But what resulted from our discussion was much larger than either of us.

It was the story of a Milwaukee organization that's doing good – and aspiring to do better – while feeding the hearts and souls of its customers.

It left me educated and inspired. So, I thought I'd make an attempt to share some of what transpired so that you can feel similarly.

First, a little bit on the story behind the name "Black Shoe," which I think says a lot about where partners Dan Sidner and Chef Joe Muench are coming from. 

The story of Black Shoe

The best way to tell the story of Black Shoe Hospitality might be to simply quote what I wrote in my book, "Milwaukee Food: A History of Cream City Cuisine," published this past September.

Black Shoe Hospitality was formed in 2014, as Dan Sidner and Chef Joe Muench, the owners of Maxie’s and Blue’s Egg, moved forward to open a third restaurant, Story Hill BKC. The partners decided that it was time to put a name to the projects.

"The hope was to really form a group identity, create some esprit de corps among the team members of all three of the restaurants and make it easier to introduce ourselves at cocktail parties," Sidner says with a smile.

Choosing a name, Sidner admitted, wasn’t easy. Many seemed too uptight or condescending; others sounded too cute or overly whimsical. The group needed something that encompassed its goals and values: the provision of delicious food, stellar hospitality and dedication to supporting local causes and organizations.

"The lea…

This is a sneak peek at some of the best cookies you've ever had. Available Friday, Feb. 12.
This is a sneak peek at some of the best cookies you've ever had. Available Friday, Feb. 12. (Photo: Treat Bake Shop)

Oh, my: Treat Bake Shop launches #CookieFriday at Third Ward kitchen

You have tasted Treat Bake Shop's spiced and candied pecans, right?

If not, your first mission is to head over to the nearest retail establishment that carries them and pick up a jar. Don't hesitate at the price. And don't dilly-dally looking at other delicious items. Just get that jar to the cash register as soon as humanly possible and pay for it. Then, on the way to the car (and no sooner, that's just rude), pop that lid open and raise it to your nostrils so that you can slowly and deliberately take in the spicy, nutty aroma.

Now put your fingers into the jar and lift out one (or three) of those delectable pecans to your mouth. *Le sigh* Just thinking about it literally gives me the chills.

But, let's presume that you've already gotten to know – and love – the pecans ...

Now the big news

Every Friday (starting tomorrow, Feb. 12) Treat will be trading in their nut-making prowess, putting on their cookie-baking aprons, firing up their ovens, and baking up some of the best cookies you've ever tasted.  Then, they'll be selling them for $2 each.

This new tradition is aptly called #CookieFriday. And you probably shouldn't miss it.

After all, the cookies for Feb. 12 are going to be of the chocolate chip persuasion ... made with European butter, dark chocolate chunks and a sprinkling of sea salt.

Yeah, that's a picture of them up there at the top of the blog. YUM.

Where to find those cookies

Treat Bake Shop recently moved into snazzy new digs. They've got a brand new kitchen in Suite #212 in the Marshall Building, 207 E. Buffalo St. where they bake up batches of their delicious pecans, spiced almonds and candied walnuts. Trust me, you can pretty much smell your way up to their facility on a production day.

Doors open at 10 a.m. And cookies are available for $2 each, until they are sold out.

For updates (including announcements of the #CookieFriday flavor), follow @TreatMKE on Twitter.