Over the past couple years Sunset Drive has positioned itself as the new food-lovers destination in Waukesha. From long tenured places like Michael’s Italian-American Restaurant, Le Caffe Bistro, and Murph’s to newcomers like Pat’s Rib Place, La Estrella Bakery, The Spot, Panos Grocery Store, and Santiago’s Grilled Chicken, Sunset Drive truly has something for everyone.
I dad a chance to stop by Santiago’s Grilled Chicken this weekend. The new restaurant is located at 131 W Sunset Drive in the place formerly occupied by Big Apple Bagels. When you walk in you’ll notice the unmistakable smell of chicken being cooked over an open fire. Santiago’s menu is pretty limited. There are several chicken options ranging from 1/4 chicken plates to whole chicken meals. There are also carne asada tacos and steak burritos. I was there on a Sunday and I think there was a sign that they served Menudo soup on Sundays.
I opted for the 1/4 chicken meal and one asada taco. The chicken was very good. There was a very light spice mixture on the chicken, which was perfectly grilled resulting in a crispy skin and moist, tender meat. I didn’t specify white or dark meat so I got white. Next time I’ll be sure to ask for dark meat. Anyone can grill chicken at home for much cheaper so why would you eat it at Santiago’s? Because of the sides and sauces. The chicken is served with really good refried pinto beans, rice, and an excellent cole slaw salad with corn mixed in. The chicken is served with squeeze bottles of 3 very tasty sauces; a green chile sauce, a spicy red chile sauce made from (and I am guessing here) dried chili de arbol, and a cold southwest ranch dressing-like sauce. You can drizzle the sauce on your chicken or peel off some of the meat, place it in the warmed tortillas (served with your meal) and drizzle the sauce into it. The cool white sauce provided a nice contrast to the spicier red and green sauces.
I was a tad disappointed in the size as the carne asada taco, as it was made form a very small tortilla (maybe 3 inches across). The taco itself was pretty standard; meat, onions, and cilantro with a lime wedge. It was pretty good but didn’t differentiate itself from carne asada tacos you can get elsewhere in the City (and was not as good as the Tacos de Lomo at La Estacion). What made the size of the tortilla even more perplexing was that the tortillas served with the grilled chicken plate were the larger, standard sized corn tortillas. Not that $1.99 is expensive or anything but increasing the size of the taco would be a nice gesture.
Santiago’s limited menu and lack of Margaritas and beer (at this time) may not endear them to the typical person going out for Mexican in Waukesha but the tasty, chicken, attentive service, and casual atmosphere should suit them well.
I noticed this place (still under construction inside) on the way home from Panos the other night. It’s in the strip mall at the southwest corner of East Avenue and Sunset. Anybody have any information on what it’s all about? When they are opening? What will they be serving?
Seems like Sunset is starting to attract some more (and interesting) restaurants. From the stellar Pat’s Rib Place to the LaEstrella Bakery (also in the mall pictured above), Sunset is becoming a destination for Waukesha food lovers.
Redstone has closed. I never did make it in there. We tried going once and there was a 45 minute wait, which would lead you to believe that the restaurant was doing well. I guess not. They are kind of off the beaten path so I think its more of a challenge to get people in there (though the Rochester Deli manages to do well). I don’t know what will go in there next but a small upscale sports bar (like Fanatics in Milwaukee) would be kind of a cool thing to have downtown.
The short-lived Lumber Inn 2, which was in the former Hardees/Lucky’s space on Sunset Drive, has closed and been replaced with a new restaurant called “The Spot.” Sounds like someplace the Saved By The Bell gang would have hung out at. Local blogger and EatWaukesha contributor, Mitch Jurisch, tried their Muffaletta Panini and raves about it. He said he’ll be reviewing the place for EatWaukesha soon. I can’t wait to get over there and try one for myself.
With the smoking ban in place I am kind of excited to visit some places that I have avoided because of the smoke. Number one on the list is Fuzzy’s on Main. The smoke was never so bad for breakfast but if you wanted one of their awesome burgers for lunch of dinner you practically needed an oxygen mask. Showering after eating at Fuzzy’s will no longer be required either. I enjoyed an ice cold High Life over at the Golden Gate Chinese restaurant bar while waiting for take-out last week. This is another place that used to get really smokey. For those who have never been in the bar at Golden Gate, you should check it out. Golden Gate used to be a Supper Club and while the menu has changed to Chinese, the bar still feels like one you’d find at a Supper Club. Its filled with regulars from the surrounding neighborhood who are watching sports, chatting, and enjoying cocktails, beer, or one of their signature Tropical Drinks.
Sonia Dubielzig and Ron Stawicki, two local bicyclists and bloggers, have organized Bike To Work Day events in downtown Waukesha this Friday. Sonia and Ron both blog over at the new Bike Waukesha and Ron has his own great blog, Ronsa, which documents rides and post ride meals at Waukesha restaurants. According to the Freeman the events on Friday include free coffee and food from Cafe de Arts from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. with goodie bags and available mechanics from Cyclesmith. After work from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., there will be raffles and socializing time at Cafe de Arts. While you are downtown be sure to check out the Friday Night Live stages downtown.
It’s the weekend. You wake up in the morning, look around at the fam and ask “you guys hungry?” They are. Nobody seems to feel like cooking, though. Besides, the fridge is looking a little bare, as your weekly grocery shopping trip is scheduled for later that same afternoon. That’s when it hits you: I’ll run out for a dozen bagels! You throw on a baseball cap to hide your bedhead and hop in the car. Your local bagel establishment is only minutes away and satisfaction will soon be yours.
That is, unless you live in Waukesha. There’s no bagel shops here.
It’s true that bagels can be found at any grocery store. But those aren’t the fresh, chewy, often still-warm bagels that you get at a shop which specializes in them. And even though the local cafe might have one or two sitting in their bakery case, it’s not the same and you know it.
Since the closing of Big Apple Bagels on Sunset Drive, what we have here my fellow Waukeshonians is a bagel gap. Brookfield, New Berlin, Hales Corners and Wauwatosa all have bagel shops–sometimes more than one–and Milwaukee itself is simply stupid with them. Even Oconomowoc has a Brueger’s. It’s embarrassing.
You’d think that with all the wonderful eating opportunities brought about by the recent downtown renaissance you’d be able to get a dozen fresh-baked bagels on a Saturday morning. But no.
What’s up with that?