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Milwaukee’s top food trucks and patios for summer dining

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The patios at the Bridgewater (left) and Stella Van Buren.
The Bridgewater / Stella Van Buren / Facebook
The patios at the Bridgewater (left) and Stella Van Buren.

Each week on This Bites, dining critic Ann Christenson from Milwaukee Magazine and Radio Milwaukee’s resident foodie Tarik Moody dig into the city’s culinary and restaurant culture to help you find new spots, old favorites and the best ingestibles around Milwaukee.

All the food news this week has been about the James Beard Awards. We even start this week’s episode there. But, thankfully, we live in a universe where food can still be great without winning awards. So let’s flip the order a bit and highlight something from a little later in the episode: Milwaukee’s best food trucks and summer patios.

Ann’s got us covered with two helpful lists from the latest issue of Milwaukee Magazine — its annual summer guide. On the food-truck front, she lays out a dozen mobile eateries you should seek out while moving through the Milwaukee area, including Modern Maki, Heirloom MKE, Chucho’s Red Tacos and Gumbo Valley. She also gives a general shout to Zócalo Food Truck Park, which is perfect if you’re short on time and want to find a lot of the best trucks all in one spot.

Patio-wise, the magazine came at things a little different this year, with staff members providing picks. But Ann also uses this episode of the podcast to shine the spotlight on a few newcomers to Milwaukee, including the KK River-adjacent Bridgewater, Stella Van Buren downtown, Saffron in the heart of the Third Ward, and the two-deck patio belonging to Avli, which is scheduled to open later this summer. For both full lists, pick up the latest edition of Milwaukee Magazine.

Don’t think we forgot about those of you who like eating indoors. For those inside types we have news about two impending openings: The Edison, which will debut July 5 in the Third Ward, and Spice N Rice, a new Indian restaurant joining Paper Table in just a couple weeks.

Finally, let’s bring it back to the beginning. Our long, annual James Beard journey came to an end this week with Monday night’s award ceremony in Chicago. Representatives from the Milwaukee area hung around this year’s competition for quite a while, with four entries making the semifinalist list and two moving on for final consideration: Lupi & Iris for Best New Restaurant and Gregory León of Amilinda for Best Chef: Midwest

So how did the story end? Unfortunately, the Milwaukee contingent went home empty handed, although Wisconsin did end up in the winner’s circle thanks to Itaru Nagano and Andrew Kroeger from Madison restaurant Fairchild.

We appreciate you joining us this week and every week as we bring you all the culinary news happening around the Milwaukee area. We’d appreciate it even more if you’d subscribe wherever you listen, drop a review or share us with a food-loving friend.

Director of Digital | Radio Milwaukee