Downtown Waukesha is undergoing a dining and nightlife renaissance and people are starting to take notice. The Journal just gave Generations at 5 Points 3 stars and the Black Trumpet (at the Clarke Hotel) 2.5 (food was 3 stars). Since the Journal hasn’t reviewed Taylor’s Peoples Park, I figured they should get their due.
Taylor’s has been a name synonymous with Milwaukee nightlife for years with their Jefferson Street bar “Taylor’s,” which after numerous years, is still the place to see and be seen in Milwaukee. On any given night you may run into a Milwaukee Brewer or Buck, a local news personality, or a player from a visiting sports team. In the time they have been located on Jefferson street I would guess that over 50 nightclubs trying to emulate their success have come and gone.
Taylor’s Peoples Park has a different vibe than Taylor’s downtown, which is a good thing given the completely different demographic in Waukesha. Its more of a casual modern neighborhood bar feeling which also serves food, also unlike downtown.
Taylors is a small intimate space which is the norm in Waukesha’s historic downtown. They feature a rotating variety of art on the walls and the showcase, which I assume isn’t for sale, is a huge mural of dolls, toys and other figurines that hangs above the bar. I probably spent 20 minutes staring at it the first time I was at Taylor’s.
To help create their menu, Taylor’s enlisted April Kelly, who had previously worked at Heaven City, to create their menu and the move has proven to be brilliant. With exciting appetizers, and delicious sandwiches, Taylor’s has already become one of the hottest downtown destinations in Waukesha, so much so that Taylor’s is already discussing an expansion into an adjacent building.
I have been clamoring for a great place to grab a pub burger in Waukesha (Fuzzy’s has one of the best in the area but the smokiness there is usually too much to take) and Taylor’s hit the spot. There are four burgers you can chose from: The Classic (Romaine Lettuce, Tomato, Red Onion and your choice of cheese), the Central Park with an addictive combination of sautéed onions, mushrooms, and a Gorgonzola-goat cheese remoulade sauce, the Valley Burger (Romaine, tomato, onion, bacon, avocado, cheddar and lime cilantro aioli) and the Bleu Cheese (bleu cheese and Sweet Vermouth sautéed onions). I have tried the Valley Burger and the Central Park. They are both excellent but the edge goes to the Central Park if only for the Gorgonzola & goat cheese remoulade which gives the burger such an amazing flavor. Unlike many places they will cook your burger to your desired level of doneness. On each visit the burgers came out a perfect medium-rare.
Another good sandwich is the Tilapia sandwich which is marinated in chili and lime, broiled in the oven, and topped with Romaine, tomato, onion and a nice spicy mayo. The first time I tasted the sandwich it was perfect. The second time it was just a tad fishy tasting, a complaint that was echoed by someone else I talked to who also noticed the change.
Taylors also has pork chop sandwiches, a ribeye steak sandwich, grilled cheese, and and some really great looking chicken sandwiches including a chipotle grilled chicken with avocado and a pest chicken with asiago and provolone cheeses. Every sandwich is served with some of the best tasting fries around. If you just want to try the fries, they offer an appetizer sized order or regular fries with truffle oil and Parmesan cheese or some delicious sweet potato fries with chipotle mayonnaise.
Speaking of appetizers, you will find Taylor’s menu to have more upscale versions of bar favorites like artichoke red pepper dip, chicken wings and mozzarella sticks wrapped in wonton and deep fried with some marinara sauce, you will also find more interesting items like pot stickers filled with pork, bruschetta with prosciutto, crab cakes, Thai chicken skewers, and crab stuffed spring rolls. The spring rolls were very good by themselves but were kind of overwhelmed by the sauce, which seems more suited to heartier fillings like pork or chicken. I think some of their spicy remoulade would be a better accompaniment and I am certain they would give you a side of it if you asked because everyone there is very attentive and friendly and seems to really want everyone to have a good time. In fact on an early visit one of the owners asked for our feedback on our food.
There is a lot to like about Taylor’s Peoples Park. The food is very good and only one dish on the whole menu crosses the $10 threshold (the Ribeye Steak Sandwich at $10.95), so it is very affordable. The space is intimate and friendly and even more exciting when the windows open onto Clinton & Main Streets. They have just added outdoor seating too. The great tap beer selection (second only to House of Guinness in Waukesha) offers a nice mix of micros, imports, and domestics. The fact that they are 100 percent non-smoking makes it even better.
Taylor’s Peoples Park is open 7 days a week, food is served 10:30am-11:00pm. The bar is open until 2:00am (2:30 Fridays and Saturdays) They are located at the corner of Clinton & Main (337 W Main St.) in Waukesha, WI 53186 Phone: 262-522-6868