Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely baby daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.
This weekend, I picked up my brother and his wife at the airport on their return home from a Naples, Florida vacation. My sister-in-law made me think of this week’s Culinary no-no when she mentioned eating at all sorts of wonderful waterside restaurants in Florida.
Our conversation made me recall a former girlfriend. I was19, she was 23. I suggested we go to dinner one Friday night at Pieces of Eight. Located at 550 N. Harbor Drive, Pieces of Eight was Milwaukee‘s only restaurant on the shores of Lake Michigan. My girlfriend at the time had been to Pieces of Eight (I had not) and reluctantly agreed. We had a good time, even though the less than glowing review she warned me about turned out to be correct.
And that reputation hounded the restaurant for decades. Pieces of Eight was a great date place, until the entrée arrived. A new owner recently re-decorated the inside and the quality of the food did improve immensely. Then a Pieces of Eight became Harbor 550. Now, who knows what’s next in store for that site.
Milwaukee’s lakefront is considered sacred. When someone foolishly suggested putting up a McDonald’s near the site of that putrid snack bar at Bradford Beach, it was like tugging on Superman’s cape, spitting in the wind, pulling the mask off the ol’ Lone Ranger. There seems to be, on the part of many, a mindset, that absolutely nothing should ever be done to or on Milwaukee’s lakefront beyond what we already have in the Henry Maier Festival grounds (Summerfest). I point out that there was a certain entity that ridiculed and chastised the late Milwaukee Mayor Henry Maier and his vision of Summerfest. It would never work, this oh-so-wise group argued because the idea was utterly ridiculous. Yep, that was yet another brainstorm from those geniuses who wrote editorials for, at that time, the Milwaukee Journal.
The restaurant that occupies the old Pieces of Eight is set to close this week. Milwaukee’s fabulous lakefront would be the perfect site for a high quality restaurant that matches that incredible view. The problem is, no one has that vision. No one wants to plop a 4-star dining establishment on that pristine piece of real estate, especially picky, finicky environmentalists.
So Milwaukee wastes a wonderful chance. Visit other cities, towns, villages adjacent to scenic waterways and you’ll find terrific restaurants taking full advantage. Not here. But we can have cigarette butts, broken glass, and a dilapidated snack bar, and that’s ok. Suggest, as I am here, a restaurant on Lake Michigan and the tar and feather brigade calls an emergency meeting.
Again, here is what might be in store to replace the old Pieces of Eight.
There’s nothing wrong with that, but how incredibly unexciting, and what a lost opportunity, truly a Culinary no-no.