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Mazos Burgers - Milwaukee, WI


ronnie_suburban
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Earlier this week I had the good fortune to tag along on a "research" trip being made by George Motz, the man behind the mouth-watering documentary Hamburger America. He and his burger-maven associate Rick, invited me to ride up to Wisconsin with them while they did field work for Mr. Motz's latest project, which will also center on hamburgers in America.

After stops at Solly's Grille and Kopp's I was feeling pretty full but I didn't want to embarrass myself in front of the "professionals," so as we headed toward our final stop at Mazos, I did my best to prepare mentally to down yet another burger.

Now in its second location, Mazos Restaurant has been in existence since 1934. A few years back they closed for 3 weeks to renovate the dining room. Still, the old-fashioned charm comes through loud and clear -- from the Arts & Crafts-style tables and chairs to the framed paintings of famous Italian-American crooners and other assorted iconography which hangs on the walls. The folks who work at Mazos are friendly and relaxed.

At Mazos', burger meals come with 2 sides. I ordered myself a double with cheese and cooked onions, a cup of split pea soup and some fries. The soup was terrific and would have been perfect save for the fact that it contained a bit too much celery for my liking. Still it was some "Top 5" split pea soup . . . but I wasn't there to taste the soup. :wink:

The burger was absolutely glorious and was one of the best I've ever (partially) eaten. It was cooked to perfection (medium-rare, as ordered), juicy and dripping with butter (I LOVE Wisconsin!). I was somewhat surprised that my 2 big-league companions seemed to dismiss their Mazos' burgers rather quickly because, for me, Mazos' burger transcended. I can't really compare it to Solly's because a) I love Solly's and b) it was a fairly different style of burger. But still, until our trek, I'd never even heard of Mazos and yet here it was redefining my burger universe in a powerful and distinctive way.

Here's a shot of my order:

gallery_3085_1780_37688.jpg

Mazos' Double cheeseburger with cooked onions

and here's a shot of what I couldn't finish:

gallery_3085_1780_124079.jpg

3 days after the fact and I still wish I'd had room to finish this burger

I cannot recommend Mazos' highly enough. I consider it to be a "must" stop if you're anywhere in the area and most definitely worth a day trip from Chicago as well.

=R=

Mazos Restaurant

3146 S. 27th St.

Milwaukee, WI

414 671-2118

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

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ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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Ronnie, you couldn't finish that? I'm very disappointed.

*hangs head in shame*

I'd had a double and fries at Solly's and sundae at Kopp's in the 90 minutes before we hit Mazos'. I know that's no excuse, I'm just sayin' . . . :biggrin:

I'm seriously considering driving back up there for dinner tonight. It's about 90 minutes north of me but there's no question that it would be worth the drive.

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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Yup . . .

As great as that Mazos' burger was, I figured it wouldn't be even close to that good later on. Reheating it would have been a complete bastardization and toting around a medium-rare burger, without being able to keep it cold, seemed like a dead end anyway, so I wrote it off. In the end, that burger was a fleeting pleasure; a transitory moment of brilliance to be enjoyed right there and then. Hell, I'm already worried that when I do go back there, it won't be as good. :wink:

Also, I think ordering a double at that stage of the game was somewhat ambitious on my part. And, eating most of a cup of soup was just plain stupid, even though it was really good soup. :rolleyes:

And in spite of the fact that it says plainly on Mazos' menu that patties are 6 oz. each, that bit of text didn't really register with me until it was too late. So, I was prepared for a smaller sandwich and thinking -- for the sake of making a better comparison -- "double at Solly's, double at Mazos'.". Obviously, 2 x 6 oz -- even after cooking -- is a LOT of meat. And, well . . . you already know about our first two stops. Needless to say, I was uncomfortably full when I took that pic.

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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That is barbaric man, absolutely barbaric. Surely another person in your party could have finished the thing off. Poor little double cheeseburger, half eaten. A destiny unfulfilled.

So you didn't answer my question, char broiled or griddled? The fries look like pretty pedestrian, frozen crinkle cuts. Like the crappy fries they make at White Castle.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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Griddle-cooked, at both places.

And yes, the fries were nothing special although they were piping hot, fairly crispy and well-salted. But there's only "so good" foodservice krinkle-cuts are going to be.

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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Yes, leaving that half-eaten burger was a crime. More of a crime is that you wasted precious stomach space on krinkle cuts. I shouldn't even mention that you should have taken the soup, untouched, home to discover when you had the post-drive munchies; that would have traveled well.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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Talk about hanging one's head in shame, I'm doing that right now. I lived in Milwaukee for three years and had a LOT of free time to explore the city's gastronomic wonders (and there are a lot of those, BTW). Regardless, I never even heard of Mazos, let alone ate one of their burgers. I now feel incomplete and must find a way to remedy that deficiency.

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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Did you eat a Double Cheese burger at Kopp's? If you did, how did you eat at Solly's and then have room for Mazos? The doubles at Kopp's are HUGE.

Kopp's Cheeseburger are OK and after XC Skiing at Lapham Peak my buddy and I stop at Kopp's for the ice cream but are so hungry that we inevatably end up with double Cheeseburgers! Filling but not great. The custard is GREAT!

I will have to try Mazos when in the mood for a burger.

If you are in GreenBay then Kroll's is the place. http://www.krollswest.com Hard crust buns and BUTTER. There is one downtown and one directly on the west side of Lambeau Field, where the Packers beat the Bears! -Dick

Edited by budrichard (log)
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Yes, leaving that half-eaten burger was a crime.  More of a crime is that you wasted precious stomach space on krinkle cuts.  I shouldn't even mention that you should have taken the soup, untouched, home to discover when you had the post-drive munchies; that would have traveled well.

Yes, the soup would have been a perfect "to go" item. Hindsight is 20/20. Since it came before the burger, I didn't know the cost of eating it until it was too late. But, I only ate a couple of fries, so I don't think they were a factor at all.

Did you eat a Double Cheese burger at Kopp's? If you did, how did you eat at Solly's and then have room for Mazos? The doubles at Kopp's are HUGE.

Kopp's Cheeseburger are OK and after XC Skiing at Lapham Peak my buddy and I stop at Kopp's for the ice cream but are so hungry that we inevatably end up with double Cheeseburgers! Filling but not great. The custard is GREAT!

I will have to try Mazos when in the mood for a burger.

If you are in GreenBay then Kroll's is the place. http://www.krollswest.com  Hard crust buns and BUTTER. There is one downtown and one directly on the west side of Lambeau Field, where the Packers beat the Bears! -Dick

Look, my former high school team could probably beat the Bears. So please, let's not discuss that :wink::smile:. But Kroll's does sound like a "must stop" next time I'm in the GB area.

And no, I only had custard at Kopp's. The consensus among my hosts was that while their burgers are very good, they weren't worth trying on this particular jaunt. That said, I've had them before and enjoyed them immensely. And yes, they are big, although I don't know the exact stats; guessing that they are at least 4 oz per patty.

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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Earlier this week I had the good fortune to tag along on a "research" trip being made by George Motz, the man behind the mouth-watering documentary Hamburger America.  He and his burger-maven associate Rick, invited me to ride up to Wisconsin with them while they did field work for Mr. Motz's latest project, which will also center on hamburgers in America.

Mr. Kaplan, you are so the pulse of food and dining in the Heartland.

I'm seriously considering driving back up there for dinner tonight.  It's about 90 minutes north of me but there's no question that it would be worth the drive.

If you let me drive, Ron, I can get you there in 75 minutes.

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Earlier this week I had the good fortune to tag along on a "research" trip being made by George Motz, the man behind the mouth-watering documentary Hamburger America.  He and his burger-maven associate Rick, invited me to ride up to Wisconsin with them while they did field work for Mr. Motz's latest project, which will also center on hamburgers in America.

Mr. Kaplan, you are so the pulse of food and dining in the Heartland.

:laugh: LMAO! :laugh:

I'm seriously considering driving back up there for dinner tonight.  It's about 90 minutes north of me but there's no question that it would be worth the drive.

If you let me drive, Ron, I can get you there in 75 minutes.

You're on!

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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  • 2 weeks later...

On my way to apple picking this weekend, I realized that I could work another trip to Mazos into the schedule.

The burgers were as good or better than they were the first time out. This time, without the obstacle of a full stomach, I also opted for the double-cheese with cooked onion, medium rare. Man! It was so good! The meat at Mazos, which is freshly-ground on premises, is tender and flavorful. And the burger was cooked to perfection...again. The bun was immaculately fresh and the bacon on my son' cheeseburger was all-star in its own right.

My wife also thought the burgers were great and compared them to Beinlich's. And purely on the basis of style, I'll admit that the burgers are similar. But that's where the comparison ends. I was nodding but I could no longer contain myself and practically scolding her, I blurted out, "Mazos is what Charlie Beinlich's wishes it were!" And in that moment all I could think about was a bunch of angry Heartlanders chasing after me, screaming "Blasphemy! Sacrilege!!" Had I really said that out loud? :biggrin:

In any case, I'm happy to report some happier results from this trip to Mazos . . .

gallery_3085_250_15929.jpg

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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Ronnie,

I suggest you rename this thread to "Achieving Redemption at Mazos Burgers." You're certainly a case study!

Next time we drive over from Madison, we'll have to check this place out. Is Mazos even better than Dotty's in Madison?

Liam

Eat it, eat it

If it's gettin' cold, reheat it

Have a big dinner, have a light snack

If you don't like it, you can't send it back

Just eat it -- Weird Al Yankovic

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Ronnie,

I suggest you rename this thread to "Achieving Redemption at Mazos Burgers." You're certainly a case study!

Next time we drive over from Madison, we'll have to check this place out. Is Mazos even better than Dotty's in Madison?

I'll let you know (eventually) and thanks for the tip! :smile:

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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Oh Ronnie! You've done it again! I have millions of childhood memories of Mazo's! Thanks for

the pictures (both postings) I am drooling into the keyboard now and probably shorting out

the system! Lucky you! A hui hou !!!!!!!

"You can't miss with a ham 'n' egger......"

Ervin D. Williams 9/1/1921 - 6/8/2004

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  • 2 weeks later...
trying Mazos tonight on my way north.

SW,

We've been to Beinlich's together so I'll be very curious to hear your impressions of Mazos. As I posted upthread, their burgers are similar in style to Beinlich's but they actually have a lot of flavor. Sadly, I don't think either of us would say the same about Beinlich's.

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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trying Mazos tonight on my way north.

SW,

We've been to Beinlich's together so I'll be very curious to hear your impressions of Mazos. As I posted upthread, their burgers are similar in style to Beinlich's but they actually have a lot of flavor. Sadly, I don't think either of us would say the same about Beinlich's.

=R=

Yes, the burgers are grilled on a flat top grill similar to Beinlich's and they do have more flavor. Mazo’s has been around since the 30’s.

I knew I was in for a good burger when the waitress asked how I wanted it done.

Medium Rare of course, I'm so happy not to get the gray hockey puck burger!!

Got my burger on a sesame seeded kaiser which had been laid on the hot grill to crisp/toast the middle.

Burger was done to a medium rare, nice!!!

Fries were so-so, I liked the coleslaw quite a bit. Chocolate Malt was quite good and thick (but not much malt flavor)

All the above positive press does not sway me from my belief that a flat top grilled burger like Mazo's, Hackney's, Beinlich's, WILL NEVER taste better to me that one that is grilled over coals like the burger at Paradise Pup in Des Plaines.

Mazo's is closed on Sundays as Yellow Truffle found out and also Mazo's is only open until 4pm (monday through friday) Mazo's opens at 8am. I got lucky and just skirted in at 3:45pm.

"I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be"
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  • 1 year later...

Sadly, I have to completely and officially withdraw my support of Mazos. I'm not sure of all the details, but back in February of 2006, the place underwent some sort of 'grand reopening' and made some substantial changes that have just sucked the charm and the quality completely out of the place. Without knowing this, I went to Mazos today and was so shocked and disappointed to see how the place had been ruined.

Above all else, this sad text now appears in print on a large vinyl sign, which hangs on the wall as the "menu":

All burgers are cooked to medium-well

The burger I was served today looked and tasted nothing like the one shown in the pictures I posted above. Today's burger was cooked through to a near-gray color. It was dry and crumbly. The outside was slightly burnt. It was nothing like the burgers I'd had in the past. It was shameful.

A few other substantial changes:

The interior of the restaurant has been remodeled in such a way that seating has actually been reduced. A counter was installed but it takes up so much room and seats so few people, I don't understand it. No longer do you sit down, read a menu and give your order to a waitress. First, you line up at the register where, after you place your order with the cashier and pay for it, you are given a number card that stands on your table -- once you have located one for yourself -- which identifies you to the runner who delivers your food. As a party of 3, it was very frustrating for us that a bunch of parties of 2 were taking up 4-tops while at least 3 2-tops remained empty. Who needs a hostess, right?

Many side dishes are now served in disposable plastic containers and all the flatware is now plastic. Beverages are served in paper cups. Sprecher Root beer (in bottles) is no longer available. It's been replaced with Mug, on tap.

I could go on but I think I've made my point. I don't care if you go to Mazos or not. I just don't want to be on record as having recommended it.

What it once was, it is no more. And what it is now, is nothing special.

This is a harsh blow for real food. A great one is dead. I'm stunned and severely disappointed that some business "genius" got his or her hands on this place and completely destroyed it. Clueless.

=R=

Edited by ronnie_suburban (log)

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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