When you walk into Three Brothers restaurant in Bay View, you know you’re about to experience something special. The aroma of home cooked food, prepared from precious family recipes, greets you instantly, carrying with it decades of tradition.
The restaurant has been serving traditional Serbian cuisine — at the same location in Bay View at 2414 S. St. Clair St. — for 61 years. From the burek, a baked dish made with layers of phyllo dough and savory filling, to the hand-rolled grape leaves, stuffed with rice and braised in white wine, you’re sure to experience tastes of the Mediterranean with a unique Milwaukee story.
Milunka Radicevic runs the restaurant now, carrying on the legacy of parents and grandparents. Her family continues to live in the apartment above the eatery, and just about everything else inside is the same as it been for the last several decades.
Original wooden chairs surround each table, gracefully showing their wear, while formica tables and mismatched china reinforce the charming family aesthetic. Behind the bar, an original photographic mural remains — just as it did when the bar was a Schlitz tied house — while a still-working, revolving Schlitz globe light fixture hangs from the ceiling.
On this week’s episode of Urban Spelunking, OnMilwaukee’s Bobby Tanzilo and I share a meal with Radicevic. She shares more history from inside the space, including a beautiful story about how she preserved her grandmother’s original butcher block after her passing.
She also tells us about her family’s reaction to winning a coveted James Beard Award in 2002, made even more special as a family of immigrants.
Be sure to read Bobby’s complete story at OnMilwaukee.