Skip to main content

A lil' bit of Milwaukee Soul, Part 4: Parkview Cafe

Fried Chicken
Fried Chicken
C. Logarakis

Pulling up to the tiny Parkview Cafe across from Lincoln Park gives one the feeling that they've suddenly left Milwaukee and have been magically transported to a small roadside cafe in a sleepy Southern Mississippi town; a notion reinforced once you pass through the doors and into the cafe.

The small, clean room is dominated by a horseshoe-shaped counter, with round, backless diner seats spaced around it. There are two booths along the far wall. An old TV set plays re-runs of classic television shows - Dragnet, The Jack Benny Program, and others. The counter and tables are adorned with bottles of hot sauce, maple syrup, and Trappey's hot peppers.

Although there are a few standards, the menu here changes daily, and even hourly, as breakfast gives way to lunch, and then to dinner. There is no printed menu - it's all hand-written on a whiteboard on the wall above the booths. On any given day, it might boast smothered chicken, Catfish, roast beef, pork hocks, black eyed peas, fried okra, short ribs, pancakes, country ham, ox-tails, peach cobbler, neck bones, BBQ chicken, and many other specialties.

There's a reason Parkview Cafe has been around for over 35 years, and, as good as all their selections are, it's probably at least partially due to the fried chicken. It's top-notch, and not only is it the best in the city, it's no exaggeration to state that, although unrated (as of yet), it's among the best in the country. The crispy, crunchy batter is not too thick, but it clings to the chicken pieces and keeps the meat moist and tender. It's perfectly fried to a light golden color, and piled high on a plate. It's not overly greasy, and not particularly spicy, but it is flavorful. Buttermilk is suspected, but has not been confirmed.

The gravy served with the smothered pork chops is rich and flavorful, and the pork chops are hammered to a tenderness that needs no knife to cut them. Dip the fried chicken in the gravy, and add a dash of hot sauce for a extra tasty concoction.

There is a choice of three sides with every entree, and the greens are highly recommended. They are not too bitter, and go well with the moist cornbread that also accompanies every meal. Add some of the vinegar from the bottle of Trappey's, along with a few hot peppers. Other sides include potato salad, boiled okra, sweet peas, green beans, spaghetti, and yams. The yams, if they are ordered, should be savored last, as they are sweet enough to qualify for dessert.

The prices here are reasonable, especially considering most people take home leftovers. The service is very friendly, but do not go here if you are in a hurry, as there is one chef in the kitchen, and everything is made to order. It's worth the wait, though. The atmosphere is relaxed, with regulars talking and joking to each other across the room, and occasionally yelling into the kitchen at the more-than-patient cook.

If you like fried chicken and Soul food, the Parkview Cafe should be at the top of your list.

For More Information:

Parkview Cafe

4871 N. Green Bay Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53209

Phone: 414.265.1511

Hours: 6 AM - 10 PM 7 days/week

Dine-In: Yes

Carry-out: Yes

Delivery: No

Smoking: No

Alcohol: No

Parking: Small lot, and street (free)

Celiac-friendly items: Yes

Vegetarian dishes: Yes

Low-carb options: Yes

Handicapped accessible: Yes

Reservations: No

Website: No

Twitter: No

Facebook: No

Comments

  • Kim 4 years ago

    You made me really hungry...

  • ChuckL 4 years ago

    I'm putting this spot on my list of lunch options now. Thanks!

  • MARY 4 years ago

    WOW!
    This place sounds great!!!!
    I LOVE fried chicken. Kind of a scary neighborhood, but I bet it's okay in the daytime, right??? Obvously you weren't afraid to go there!

  • Horsielover 4 years ago

    My friend John has been there for breakfast and told me he's ready to try their dinners. My son Jim has also been there a number of times for breakfast and he too is looking forward to trying the rest of the menu. Hard to believe it but over 50 years ago this diner location served some unusual French specialities. Good know that good food is still dished up here.

  • Horsielover 4 years ago

    My friend John has been there for breakfast and told me he's ready to try their dinners. My son Jim has also been there a number of times for breakfast and he too is looking forward to trying the rest of the menu. Hard to believe it but over 50 years ago this diner location served some unusual French specialities. Good know that good food is still dished up here.

  • cjucoder 4 years ago

    I need to take my dad and his wife here. Sounds like a gem.

  • MKEethnicRestaurants 4 years ago

    Mary -

    While it was light out when I went there (Yay, summer!), and my companions and I were the only white faces in the place, I had no qualms about being there. No one stared, whispered, badmouthed us, or treated us any differently.
    No alcohol is served there, which eliminates a lot of problems, IMO. There's also not much around there, because the park is there. The street in that section of town was pretty quiet.
    Unfortunately, Milwaukee is one of the most racially segregated cities in the U.S., and just asking that question reinforces that. People need to get over it.
    Bonding over terrific food - I can think of no better way to cross barriers. :)

  • susanews 4 years ago

    I wish I could go right now! It sounds great!

  • Milwaukee Visitor 3 years ago

    I pride myself in finding local gems when I am away on business. Great place, big servings. The cobbler was great although a little to sweet. fried chicken was GREAT. The place looks like a dive, and is well worn, torn stools etc. These are exactly the kind of places I love to find! In tems of the neighborhood - a little on the seedy side, but no worse then then where Bungalow or Speed Queen is -two other GREAT places for soul food. Speed Queen is incredible for BBQ! I always like to try places that I cannot get at home!