Motor Bar & Restaurant: A Harley-Davidson Moto-Foodie Experience

31 Jul

The bar is graced by a replica board track racer.

The bar is graced by a replica board track racer.

Three days of riding and dining got us here.  We arrived on different flights, picked up our Harleys and met at the Kansas City Speedway Best Western Premier hotel.  Three days of riding and scrumptious dining as we crossed Missouri and rode north through Illinois.  However, all things must come to an end and, in the parking lot behind the Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Museum, the Motor Company reclaimed the bikes.  However, before we went our separate ways there was still one more dining experience to savor: the Motor Bar & Restaurant.

As part of the museum complex, this restaurant naturally has a Harley-Davidson theme and roadhouse-inspired menu. A replica board-track racer graces the top of the bar and painted gas tanks rest on various shelves.  A welded steel lattice screen adorned with drive-train gears separates the bar area from the dining room where highly chromed Harley-Davidson engines are featured like museum sculptures.  Numerous leather jackets were hung from a coat rack behind the hostess’ podium.  There’s even was a current H-D motorcycle in the reception area that is securely propped to allow restaurant clients to mount up for photo ops—obviously not every who comes here is a rider.

Those who don't ride to the restaurant have the opportunity to pose for photos on a Harley positioned in the reception area.

Those who don’t ride to the restaurant have the opportunity to pose for photos on a Harley positioned in the reception area.

Graceful as sculpture, motorcycle drive trains are displayed in the dining area.

Graceful as sculpture, motorcycle drive trains are displayed in the dining area.

Sitting down and ordering a round of the locally famous Sprecher Root Beer (really) we order an array of appetizers including BBQ and Buffalo-style chicken wings and onion rings made with beer batter.  There’s a lot to choose from on this menu.

Graeme promoting gourmet Sprecher Root Beer.

Graeme promoting gourmet Sprecher Root Beer.

Several offerings caught my eye.  Fish tacos ($11.95), two soft tacos filled with crisp-fried cod, Napa cabbage, qesco fresco, a chipolte cream and Pico de gallo dressing looked interesting.  The Road House Chili ($6.95) made with Wisconsin cheddar, red onions, and served with sour cream was probably a good bet.  I finally decided on Pig Skins ($7.95), in-house smoked pulled BBQ pork with Wisconsin cheddar cheese, jalapenos, and sour cream.

Pigskins.

Pigskins.

Graeme opted for the Stuffed Motor Burger ($12.95), bacon and cheddar cheese stuffed in a ground-chuck burger, topped with the restaurants signature in-house BBQ sauce and served with fries.  A person can also build their own or enjoy the burger-of-the-month, such as Truffle Brie Burger ($13.95):  a burger on a bun with truffle oil tossed spinach, grilled Portobello mushroom, brie, and a herb-aioli dressing.  A Crispy Buttermilk Fried Chicken Sandwich ($9.95) and an open-faced Bagger Brat Reuben ($9.95) were also placed on our order.

Joe decides to go for the last chicken wing while Graeme contemplates his Stuffed Motor Burger.

Joe decides to go for the last chicken wing while Graeme contemplates his Stuffed Motor Burger.

 

Clean Dean attacks his Bagger Brat Reuben sandwich.

Clean Dean attacks his Bagger Brat Reuben sandwich.

I was a little surprised by the Mac & Cheese, a pasta bowl of elbow macaroni with a house-made, sharp cheddar cheese topped with Panko breadcrumbs.  It turns out that this is the unofficial state dish of Wisconsin or something, and almost every restaurant offers it.  This isn’t like the stuff one buys in the box—or pops in the microwave—but homemade macaroni and cheese was a staple during my childhood, so I passed.

Mac & Cheese seems to be an unofficial Wisconsin  state dish.

Mac & Cheese seems to be an unofficial Wisconsin state dish.

Everything sampled was good, but not inspired.  The steak fries were a frozen-food special that was a disservice to the in-house creations they accompanied.  To be fair, I must point out that the food scene in Milwaukee is extremely creative and of very high caliber.  Try as they might, the Motor Bar & Restaurant just can’t compete with the burgers at Sobelman’s Pub & Grill, the appetizers at Chef David Swanson’s Braise Restaurant & Culinary School, sandwiches in the Café At The Plaza, or the authentic, but funky ambiance of Buck Bradley’s.  Regardless, any foodie who rides their motorcycle into Milwaukee should take the opportunity to dine at Harley-Davidson’s own restaurant.

Even as the Motor Bar & Restaurant marked the end of our riding adventure, it also was the starting point for my four-day foodie tour of Milwaukee.  It was a good beginning.

Motor Bar & Restaurant   400 West Canal St., Milwaukee, WI  53201  877-436-8738  www.h-dmuseum.com

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: