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The food, tunes and other info to know for Zoo A La Carte

Side-by-side photos of a lion, seal and bear eating in their habitats at a modern zoon.
Milwaukee County Zoo / Instagram
While these options are fine for zoo residents, the selection will be quite different for zoo visitors at this year's A La Carte.

As a frequent visitor to the Milwaukee County Zoo, I can’t help but wonder what the animals think of all us humans. It’s a thought exercise that gets even more fascinating from their perspective every August, when Zoo A La Carte returns to the grounds.

The 2023 event runs from this Thursday through Sunday (Aug. 17-20). That’s four days, six stages of music, and 39 different food-and-drink vendors scattered throughout the grounds. It’s a curious environment for a grizzly bear or caribou, who at the very least get bragging rights over all the other animals, considering their proximity to the event’s main stage every year.

This time around, they (and the humans) get a big helping of rock at the Miller Lite Caribou Stage, which will welcome headliners Vertical Horizon, The Record Company and Fleetwood Mac tribute band Hypnotized, as well as country tunes from the Eli Young Band. Altogether, there are more than 60 performance slots that’ll fill just about any musical appetite — except rap, which does not seem to be on the menu.

Speaking of menus, the food-and-drink aspect of A La Carte is very well populated, whether you’re a carnivore, herbivore, omnivore or dessert-ivore. Several familiar names from Milwaukee’s culinary scene will be on site, including C-Viche, Chillwaukee Pops, Roll MKE, Saz’s and Tots on the Street. The full list is below, along with the complete entertainment schedule.

If you decide the selection is to your liking, tickets are still available on the zoo’s website:

  • Adult (13+) — $18 for county residents, $19.75 for non-residents
  • Child (3-12) — $15 (residents), $16.75 (non-residents)
  • Senior (60+) — $17 (residents), $18.75 (non-residents)
  • Infant (0-2) — free

Bella Cain performing at the 2022 Zoo A La Carte.
Milwaukee County Zoo / Instagram
Bella Cain performing at the 2022 Zoo A La Carte.

Thursday, Aug. 17

Miller Lite Caribou Stage

  • 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. — Jake Williams (90s, R&B, modern, classics)
  • 3:30-5:30 p.m. — Jon Rouse (classic rock)
  • 7-8:45 p.m. — Vertical Horizon (alternative rock)

Flamingo Stage

  • 11:15 a.m.-2:15 p.m. — Driving Buddies (pop, rock, country)
  • 2:45-5:30 p.m. — Jordan and Ernie (bluegrass)
  • 6-8:45 p.m. — Andrea and The Mods (70s, 80s)

Zoofari Stage

  • 11:15 a.m.-2:15 p.m. — Geoff Landon Duo (country)
  • 2:45-5:30 p.m. — Xeno and Joe (classics)
  • 6-8:45 p.m. — Brady Lee (country)

Lakeview Stage

  • 11 a.m.-2 p.m. — Phil Norby (acoustic classics)
  • 2:30-5:30 p.m. — Sam and Cookie (folk, classic rock, bluegrass)
  • 6-8:45 p.m. — Grimm Brothers Trio (classic hits)

Mad City Windows & Baths Woody Stage

  • 11:30 a.m.-2:15 p.m. — Steve Cohen and Jim Ohlschmidt (acoustic blues)
  • 2:45-5:30 p.m. — JC Munguía (Latin music)
  • 6-8:45 p.m. — Eric Diamond (Neil Diamond tribute)

BioLife Plasma Services Giraffe Wine Tent

  • 11:30 a.m.-2:15 p.m. — Carmen and Kostia (piano pop)
  • 2:45-5:30 p.m. — Anthony Deutsch (pianist, vocalist, composer)
  • 6-8:45 p.m. — Downtown Harrison (modern song-and-dance man)

Friday, Aug. 18

Miller Lite Caribou Stage

  • Noon-2:30 p.m. — Kris and Dani Crow
  • 3-6 p.m. — Trapper Schoepp Band (singer-songwriter)
  • 7-8:30 p.m. — Eli Young Band (country)

Flamingo Stage

  • 11:15 a.m.-2:15 p.m. — Ebert and Grass (classics)
  • 2:45-5:30 p.m. — Jessie Haines (singer-songwriter)
  • 6-8:45 p.m. — Eric Barbieri and the Rockin’ Krakens (classic rock)

Zoofari Stage

  • 11:15 a.m.-2:15 p.m. — Scott E. Berendt Trio (acoustic rock/pop)
  • 2:45-5:30 p.m. — Bad Medicine (80s party rock)
  • 6-8:45 p.m. — The Playlist (Top 40 hits)

Lakeview Stage

  • 11 a.m.-2 p.m. — Hearthfire (Irish roots/rock)
  • 2:30-5:30 p.m. — Joey Gleesing (Top 40 hits)
  • 6-8:45 p.m. — Scott Hlavenka Duo (acoustic gypsy jazz)

Mad City Windows & Baths Woody Stage

  • 11:15 a.m.-2:15 p.m. — Rudy and Vee (Acoustic duo)
  • 2:45-5:30 p.m. — Michael Sean
  • 6-8:45 p.m. — Frogwater (Celtic bluegrass fusion)

BioLife Plasma Services Giraffe Wine Tent

  • 11:15 a.m.-2:15 p.m. — Keshena Armon (singer-songwriter)
  • 2:45-5:30 p.m. — Katy Ambrose (piano stylings)
  • 6-8:45 p.m. — Downtown Harrison (modern song-and-dance man)

Saturday, Aug. 19

Miller Lite Caribou Stage

  • 11 a.m.-2 p.m. — Bath (classic to modern pop/rock)
  • 3-6 p.m. — The Morrison Sessions (roots rock)
  • 7-8:30 p.m. — The Record Company (rock)

Flamingo Stage

  • 11:15 a.m.-2:15 p.m. — Tangled Lines (roots, rock, Americana)
  • 2:45-5:30 p.m. — Kitty Soft Paw (indie rock/soul)
  • 6-8:45 p.m. — V-Funk

Zoofari Stage

  • 11:15 a.m.-2:15 p.m. — Busted Mullet (rock)
  • 2:45-5:30 p.m. — Bruce Humphries and the Rockabilly Rebels
  • 6-8:45 p.m. — Our House (50s, 60s, 70s, 80s)

Lakeview Stage

  • 11 a.m.-2 p.m. — Chris Haise Duo (indie folk rock)
  • 2:30-5:30 p.m. — The Belle Weather (orchestral indie folk rock)
  • 6-8:45 p.m. — Ronnie Nyles (singer-songwriter)

Mad City Windows & Baths Woody Stage

  • 11:15 a.m.-2:15 p.m. — Patrick Van Bibber (singer-songwriter)
  • 2:45-5:45 p.m. — Jake Warne Duo (singer-songwriters)
  • 6:15-8:45 p.m.    Eric Barbieri (Classic hits)

BioLife Plasma Services Giraffe Wine Tent

  • 11:15 a.m.-2:15 p.m. — Christopher’s Project Duo (jazz, R&B, pop, swing)
  • 2:45-5:30 p.m. — Marcya Daneille (jazz, soul)
  • 6-8:45 p.m. — Downtown Harrison (modern song-and-dance man)

Sunday, Aug. 20

Miller Lite Caribou Stage

  • Noon-4 p.m. — Joe 2.0 (rock)
  • 5-7:45 p.m. — Hypnotized (Fleetwood Mac tribute)

Flamingo Stage

  • 11:15 a.m.-3 p.m. — Another One (Grateful Dead tribute)
  • 4-7:45 p.m. — Crossfire (country rock)

Zoofari Stage

  • Noon-3:30 p.m. — Shuga Blu (R&B, soul, pop)
  • 4:30-7:45 p.m. — Lovin Kind (classic rock)

Lakeview Stage

  • 11:30 a.m.-3:15 p.m. — Beautiful Collide (blues, jazz, rock)
  • 4:30-7:45 p.m. — The Lounge Dogs (acoustic hits)

Mad City Windows & Baths Woody Stage

  • 11:30 a.m.-3:15 p.m. — Ronnie Nyles (singer-songwriter)
  • 4-7:30 p.m. — Brooklynn Marti (singer-songwriter)

BioLife Plasma Services Giraffe Wine Tent

  • 11:30 a.m.-3:15 p.m. — Barbara Stephan and Peter Mac Duo (singer-songwriters)
  • 4-7:30 p.m. — Downtown Harrison (modern song-and-dance man)

Food and drink by location

Miller Lite Caribou Stage

  • West End Snacks
  • Hot Potato
  • Golden Grill
  • Saz’s
  • Thunder Bay Grille
  • Nothing Bundt Cakes
  • Caribou Beverage Bar
  • Bear Garden
  • OOZ
  • Pig Tailz

Flamingo Stage

  • Café el Sol
  • Ultimate Confections Desserts featuring Suzy’s Cream Cheesecakes
  • Saz’s
  • Wong’s Wok
  • Penguin Beverage Bar
  • Funnel Cake Factory
  • Watering Hole Root Beer Floats
  • Roll MKE

Zoofari Stage

  • The Snack Barn
  • Cedar Crest Ice Cream Parlor

Lakeview Stage

  • Catalano Corn
  • Salentini’s Pizza
  • Chillwaukee Pops
  • Shawarma House
  • Nourish 414
  • The Coop

Mad City Windows & Baths Woody Stage

  • Bubble Waffle Shoppes
  • MIL-WOK-EE
  • Scrima’s Woodfired Pizza
  • A la Crepes
  • Woody’s Custard
  • Wild Burger
  • Leinie Lodge

BioLife Plasma Services Giraffe Wine Tent

  • Giraffe Wine Bar
  • Giraffe Beverage Bar
  • Mama Bev’s Bakery
  • C-Viche
  • La Masa
  • Brew City Snowballs
  • Tots on the Street