Maxie's Southern Comfort mixes down-home food and hospitality
When you think New Orleans cuisine, intuition may not lead you down 68th St., but if local owner Dan Sidner and his partner in Ithaca, N.Y., Chick Evans, have any say, Milwaukeeans will find their favorite New Orleans and Southern-influenced seafood and supper at Maxie's Southern Comfort, 6732 W. Fairview Ave., just a block and a half north off Interstate 94 on 68th St.
A sister restaurant to Evans' restaurant in Ithaca, Milwaukee's Maxie's borrows much of what made its elder sibling successful, including menu items and music, but the real selling point here is the interior design. Sidner and his team spared no expense in converting the former Gerry O'Brien's butcher shop into a breathtakingly gorgeous restaurant where Southern brothel meets uptown elegance.
Scarlet O'Hara would be proud.
Chandeliers, staircases and blood red walls coupled with violet and black ceiling beams make the 172-seat Maxie's the perfect meld between romance and fun.
Maxie's menu features dinner options with an intermingled Southern and N'awlins spin, all for less than $25 an entrée. With Joe Muench, formerly of Grenadier's, Eddie Martini's, and Sticks & Stones heading up the kitchen, the menu is simple, yet refined.
Many of the items are directly from the Ithaca establishment, and others have been spun Milwaukee style. Diners can expect to see classics like chicken fried chicken, jambalaya, gumbo, ribs, and shrimp and grits for dinner, and for "blunch" -- too late for breakfast, too early for lunch -- Maxie's will offer some egg-based dishes in addition to soups, po' boys, and light entrees.
Perhaps the best part of the new Maxie's is the raw bar. Daily from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., patrons can enjoy half-priced oysters ($1.15 each) and peel and eat shrimp (1/4 lb $5.95, 1/2 lb $9.95). Maxie's offers a great wine and champagne list to balance the seafood. If wine is not your thing, the cocktail menu includes classics like sazeracs, mojitos, maxie-ritas, and of course, real oyster shooters.
Sidner and crew have also made accommodations for vegetarians and vegans who can choose from delicacies including a vegetarian jambalaya and a dry rubbed and smoked tofu that will make even the staunchest of meat eaters salivate.
Maxie's also captured many other small details that make this place a winner -- the restaurant features an elevator to the second floor for people with disabilities, there is separate parking for dine-in and carry-out patrons, and seafood is flown in five times a week strictly from Boston purveyor Steve Connolly Seafood.
Manager Sal Anschuetz says the aim is to have "the best seafood in Milwaukee." And if that sounds like serious business to you, you're right. The staff here seems ready for the challenge. Service is prompt, courteous, and friendly, exuding a classic Southern hospitality.
Yes, they'll even open the door for you.
Incredible fried oysters! We went on a Friday night - Maxie's was busy but not overwhelmingly so. Ordered the oyster Po'Boy even though this is a month that doesn't have an "r" in it. The oysters were better than I've had in New Orleans and DC. Needed extra sauce and the waffle fries were OK. The pulled pork was very good - although it would have been nice to have had a Kansas City style sauce on the side available. Cornbread was better than mama's. It's nice to have this kind of restaurant on the near west side. Will be going back tomorrow for smothered chicken!
Maxie's is worth the effort to find it, we had lunch there yesterday and everything was perfect! Corn-bread, Gumbo, Sweet-potato Fries, and the Burgers were the best. The service was well worth a mention too, very attentive. I'll be back, Lars
Got take out on Friday night. Food was good. The gumbo needs more seafood. The pulled pork was good but they put cole slaw on top and I asked that they didn't. The fish fry was marginal. However, this place will be good. The fries were good and my kids liked them.
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