BY SARAH C. LANGE | PHOTO BY DAVID SZYMANSKI
Steps away from the Ozaukee Interurban Trail, the Stilt House beckons bicyclists, tourists and locals alike with its cozy charm, unpretentious menu and 31 rotating beers on tap. Many of its offerings, such as the excellent grilled romaine salad, feature just a few ingredients prepared simply but expertly. Visit the Cedarburg gastropub, and the welcoming staff will tell you the story of its unique name: How Nick Schuh bypassed a rule in the early 1900s preventing him from adding a second floor to his tavern by raising the building on stilts to add a new first floor. “It’s American ingenuity at its best,” says Gordon Goggin, owner of the Stilt House.
The restaurant changes its menu quarterly and tests out daily specials, such as the bacon brie burger. When regular patrons routinely asked for it, that solidified its place on the menu. The Stilt House tops its 1/3-pound Angus beef patty with sweet maple bacon jam and house-made ale-braised onions. Then it layers on salty, crisp bacon and melted brie. “It’s not overly pungent, but it’s not super creamy,” Goggin says. “We want that cheese to be nice and gooey. You’ve got to get that cheese oozing out on all sides.”
Served on a soft pretzel bun from Miller Bakery in Milwaukee, this substantial sandwich pairs well with a malty beer, such as Wisconsin Brewing Co.’s Badger Club Amber, according to General Manager Chris Haywood. “That would accentuate the pretzel bun and the burger itself,” Goggin agrees.
Earlier this year, the Stilt House received a liquor license, so now in addition to its impressive beer and wine options, you can find craft cocktails there too. W62 N630 Washington Ave., Cedarburg, (262) 618-4889, stilthousegastrobar.com