Thursday, June 9, 2011

Motor Bar and Cafe Racer

If you had to pick a few things that define Milwaukee what would they be? Beer, Harleys, blue collar jobs, Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley....  That’s what we came up with. This week we got in touch with Milwaukee’s roots and checked out the Harley Davidson Museum, home of Motor Bar and Café Racer.

Motor Bar

This place looks great! If you’re into Harley’s or motorcycles for that matter, you have to check this place out. The Harley logo is carved into the back of every chair, there are parts of bikes out on display, and there is even a wall that’s made out of bike parts separating the bar from the restaurant. The bathroom follows the theme with a pedal operated sink.

Even though it was a cold rainy day, we took a look at the patio. It over looks the river and I can’t wait to come back and enjoy an afternoon of day drinking in the sun. For a restaurant that is part of a museum, I was very impressed. Harley could have probably just contracted some lame cafeteria catering service to run a place for people to eat, but they didn’t. They got Levy restaurants to run this place and Levy is doing a fine job with it.

Big & Twisted Pretzels

Big ole pretzels, served with gobs of mustard sauce
and cheese dip.

May Burger of the Month
“Chicken Blue Cheese Burger”
Hand packed 8oz ground chicken burger with crispy blue cheese and granny smith apple slaw, sliced tomatoes, red onions on a corn dusted kaiser roll served with BBQ tater tots.

Deluxe Mini’s
Fresh ground chuck with Wisconsin cheddar, grilled onions,
lettuce, tomato, and a secret sauce.

May’s Wings of the Month

Chile de Arbol
One pound of fried chicken wings tossed in a spicy chile de arbol sauce with cilantro and lime.

We got to talk to Chef Travis for a bit and found out that they try to get locally sourced food whenever possible. In fact the pretzels come from a local Milwaukee bakery. A lot of time and effort goes into Motor Bar’s Menu. Each month Motor Bar features a new burger and wing special. This month I’m looking forward to trying the June feature, the Bloody Mary Burger!

Café Racer

Ok so you don’t have time to have a real sit down lunch? You can still drop in and get a sandwich and Starbucks coffee at Café Racer. It’s an order at the counter type place for people “looking for a quick place to refuel!” That’s the slogan, but what it means is “hey if you only have a 40 min lunch break come here instead of McDonald’s!” or maybe “Quit eating in your car at the taco bell parking lot you dummy!”  It’s fun and fast. It’s like a custard shop, artisan sandwich shop and a Starbucks all in one. Want to get on the fast track to a promotion and work nearby? Come to Café Racer get lunch, then bring the boss a Mocha Latte or a dish of ice cream. Bribes work.

How many times has this happened to you? You’re out to eat on what seems to be a normal Thursday until you remember that this particular Thursday is you and your special lady’s anniversary? You’re in trouble unless you are at lunch at Motor Bar or Café Racer because right next door is a gift shop where you can get her a… ok… if your girl doesn’t like bikes or Harley Davidson you are pretty much screwed. But if she does, you’re in luck!  

So that gift you got her from the gift shop worked out and she didn’t leave you for forgetting your special day. In fact, she falls for you hard and now you put a ring on it. Why not look into renting out Rumble for your wedding? No, your girl doesn’t have to be a hardcore biker chick to get married at the Harley museum. This room can be set up custom to your event. It seats up to 500.

Or if she dumped you because she never once said anything about liking Harley’s and you still got her a T shirt for your anniversary? Well this room can also be used for business. You are single now, might as well focus on your career.

All and all a great place to get a burger and throw back a few beers. You might even learn something about Milwaukee’s history with Harley. Go Eat!

Motor Bar and Cafe Racer
401 W Canal St
Milwaukee, WI 53201

As always there are more pictures on our Facebook page! search Eat MKE on Facebook or check out

Motor Bar & Restaurant (Harley-Davidson Museum) on Urbanspoon

Cafe Racer (Harley-Davidson Museum) on Urbanspoon

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