By Helina G. at 2016-09-21
Dare I say it? This may be the best soul food spot in Milwaukee. (**Disclaimer** Might be the only soul food spot in Milwaukee... but still absolutely delicious!)
I'm a Milwaukee native now living in Dallas and was craving some Southern cuisine during my last visit home. My cousin took me to this new Cafe in the heart of downtown, since it was close to where we were headed for the evening. Unfortunately for us, despite being open until 2AM, their kitchen closed much earlier than we anticipated. I believe it was 10 or 11PM. In any case, I asked/ begged the owner to make an exception for me, since I was starving. Thankfully, he kindly and generously obliged, and I'm so happy that he did because my meal was finger-licking good.
Hot water cornbread, candied yams, greens, mac n' cheese and fried chicken that was made to order, and tasted just like someone's grandmother's home cooking. The price was fairly cheap, and I remember thinking that I would have happily paid more for the meal.
The management and staff were down-to earth and friendly, and the drinks are stiff. Come for the food, and if it's your scene, stay for the live music. We had a blast at this low-key spot on a Saturday summer night!
By Diaz M. at 2016-08-29
I am a fan! They have fresh food and ingredients cook to order. Some may not be a fan of this, but let me tell you, there is a HUGE difference when the food is prepared fresh and hot per order, verses sitting out for hours and reheating it!
My experience here was a delightful one.
My wife and new born baby were with me when we came to Chic, and we were greeted by the nicest and lady who turned out to be the owner. They were closed for a couple of hours because they were setting up for the new jazz lounge, which is totally understandable, however, she wanted us to feel like we were at home. She said, I can still serve you, she ran off what she had available in the kitchen, and we ordered!
I had baked chicken with this AWESOME season/rub with some herbs and spices that made my mouth sizzle and happy. Then I had the savory mustard/turnip greens with smoked turkey, it was cooked perfectly, to compliment that I had candied yams that had the most flavorful vanilla bean sauce with cinnamon. OH and BTW, the cornbread is made from Scratch, just like my mother used to make. My pallet was complete as I was very content with this delicious food. This restaurant sent me back to my childhood of having fresh cooked soul food.
Rita the owner, also sat and talked with us for a while, and that was very nice as she showed the best hospitality and customer service.
Rita and her husband, you get 5 stars from a former Chef!
I highly recommend this place, please don't deprive yourself of good cultured people and savory food.
By Tilaina T. at 2016-08-28
I'm actually gonna review the the lounge not the small cafe:
The ambiance of the place is wonderful. It's so chill and laid back. My type of place to go have drinks. The drinks were very strong and generous. The food was surprisingly really good.
The service although very pleasant is EXTRA slow. The waitress steal each other's orders...which caused one person in my party to get her food 30 minutes after the rest of us were done eating. If you go to this place please be patient.
The DJ is amazing...the only problem is that there wasn't even supposed to be a DJ on Friday night. There was supposed to be a live jazz band. Which was our initial reason for going to this place.
Inspite of all of their problems my family and I know how to have a good time anyway...and we did.
If they fix the speed of service this place would get 5 stars with no problem.
By Julie B. at 2016-12-23
Wonderful fried green tomatoes. Butterfield Klein butterfly shrimp was delicious. Friend had jambalaya and catfish/shrimp/wings/fries that was great also. Started the night with a marvelous jazz quartet. DJ was too loud after 10 pm. Check this out!!
By Kelly L. at 2016-04-21
First time EVER having Shrimp and Grits and I really enjoyed it.
This place is not a fancy restaurant, but BaBBBBY, the food is Everything.
I will be going back next week sometime to try some other dishes.
Please follow me on youtube and view my review on the Chic Cafe and other places I review through WDIVA TV: https://youtu.be/uMUU3XwRhFQ
By Melissa G. at 2016-05-13
I have had po boys, fried chicken and eggs from Chic Cafe and they are always spot on. Sandwiches, eggs, fries, etc. are all made fresh when you order (so call your order ahead if you are in a hurry) and everything is thoughtfully seasoned. Grits are neither bland nor too sweet, cornmeal breading will be light and crunchy in your po boy and omelets will pair bell peppers with a hint of Louisiana spice.
Service is always above and beyond.
They are also open for breakfast if you work in the area and need good coffee.
IMHO I think it is funny when people eat overpriced, sloppy French Creole/Cajun food at Bastille days when the real stuff is just a block away, year round... Just sayin.
By Abdul Hamid R. at 2016-05-02
Are you in the Downtown area of Milwaukee? Have a taste for some good ole Mississippi Souldfood? Chic Cafe is the place. Great service at a good price. Fried chicken, biscuits, grits...delicious!
By Rick R. at 2014-09-03
Met a cousin for lunch today. He was set on chicken, so I suggested Chic Cafe. When we arrived, we noticed meat glistening in a broth. It was BBQ pork tenderloin.
The $9 lunch combo included the pork tenderloin, 2 sides and cornbread.
I selected a sage cornbread dressing, which was moist and full of flavor, and red beans and rice which was equally good.
The dressing was an item I haven't seen before and the cornbread was made into a thick pancake instead of the "cake-like" square on my last visit. The cornbread pancake was still good, but I think I would add butter or honey next time.
The pork was extremely tender and the BBQ sauce, while not a "traditional" BBQ sauce, provided a nice flavor.
I also noticed a dedicated area added for making waffles for their chicken and waffles, I presume.
I also noticed new $5 lunch specials including gumbo, catfish, and po boys.
I appreciate when a business continues to tweak and fine tune, looking to improve in any way. That's the kind of business I want to support.
I'll certainly return.
By Jessika B. at 2016-04-08
Food is good. I had the catfish poboy and also another individual in my party had the all you can eat fish. The seasoning on the cod was okay. But overall the food was good. I will recommend the catfish poboy.
The only reason why I gave this a 3 star is due to the slow speed of service. There's only 2 young ladies working today and they had a couple of tables but I suggest you put your refill order of fish in right away.
This is a nice spot to hang out and to relax, just don't come really hungry!
By Joe P. at 2013-12-24
Descriptive phrase: simple southern comfort food, to-go.
I heard a new breakfast and lunch place opened up in the basement of the odd 770 Jefferson St building next to another downtown-lunchtime favorite and I had to check it out. On Christmas Eve at lunchtime, the other place is closed but Chic Cafe not only is open and smelling delicious but has gathered a small yet enthusiastic crowd.
The owners have transformed the space beautifully. The seating is still the odd basement cafeteria, but the restaurant area has been remodeled to use bright lights to show off the gleaming food area, counter space, and wall cut-out to the kitchen. The chef and line servers were all dressed-to-impress and look better suited for a nice sit-down than a cafeteria take-out. They also made you feel right at home, welcoming me in and offering me up a sample of "the best mac'n'cheese in Milwaukee." I'll admit, it was good.
I was drawn in by the food on display. There are three large flat-screen TVs showing a relatively extensive menu, but you're better off talking with the guys there or looking at the food itself. This day they offered a lunch special consisting of sliced turkey breast and gravy, and with side options such as mashed sweet potatoes, cheesy grits, collard greens with turkey, and the mac'n'cheese. They also had fresh-made jalapeño cornbread. Chic Cafe, with its Southern flair, brings a unique style of food to the area, which is always a good thing.
While I was browsing the chef told me he also could make me a grilled Cajun-chicken sandwich not shown ($8.45). I jumped at it. He went right in back and grilled me up one fresh; I could see him through the wall cut-out. I took it to go back home, and it was worth the wait once I finally opened the container.
Next to a sizable portion of thick-cut fries was the sandwich, open-face at this point. One half had the chicken breast and a few pieces of crisp bacon, the other half had fresh tomato slices, cheddar cheese, lettuce, and a tangy Cajun sauce. I slapped those two halves together and enjoyed the well-cooked and thick chicken sandwich. Even with so many ingredients I didn't feel overwhelmed and all of the flavors bled through. The fries were also crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, very good if in need of a bit of salt.
For just opening up, Chic Cafe appears to already have a lot of the kinks worked out; at least in the food department. I greatly enjoyed my chicken sandwich, and felt the atmosphere was warm and inviting. Add Chic Cafe to the list of quick-lunch downtown eateries worth visiting.
By Carrie G. at 2014-11-22
If you aren't looking for this Cafe, it would be easy to pass it by. Located below street level in a Jefferson Street Office Building there no signage on the front of the building to provide any clues.
But GPS the address, enter the office building, and proceed through the open atrium to the lower level. You'll encounter a mini-food court with a maximum of three counter service restaurants.
Chic is at the far left and you'll likely smell the delectable fried chicken before you see it. So follow your nose, your eyes and anything else that will put you in front of their hot case of food.
The fried chicken and fish are made to order and the mac and cheese, greens, spaghetti, sweet potatoes and various other delights are in pans behind the glass.
Menu items are all available ala carte. Or you may choose a dinner with a entree, two sides and cornbread.
Since it was a Friday I opted for the Catfish Lunch basket ($9.50) which came with two sides and cornbread. I choose the country style garlic butter mashed potatoes and the mac and cheese, carb overload FTW!
But this lunch was worth the extra workouts. The catfish was thinly breaded and then flash fried expertly to create a perfect crispy coating that sealed in all the moisture and flavor of the fish. A little southern seasoning (I didn't ask what was in it because no doubt it's a secret family recipe) and each bite was delish!
The potatoes were also tasty. They were so well seasoned with garlic and butter there was no need to add anything. Creamy with just the perfect amount of texture to verify they were home made that morning.
And then there's the mac and cheese. Not only is this my favorite comfort food, I find the multitude of variations so interesting that I created a Pinterest board dedicated to collecting them. But I'm pretty sure this is another dish derived from a secret family recipe, because that's how it tastes - so good it must be a secret. Creamy but not soupy, perfectly cooked but no where near over-cooked macaroni and a whole lotta love. If you ever find yourself needing a meal that will give you a comforting hug build it around this mac and cheese!
And no Southern meal would be complete without Sweet Tea. And Chic's hits the mark with just a hint of sweetness in theirs. The perfect balance of pure tea with a tiny hint of lemon and sugar does wonders to offset a bit of the richness of the meal.
I did see some of the Southern Fried Chicken being made while I waited for my order and the smell alone was enough to convince me to return for a taste.
By James M. at 2016-05-09
The wait staff was friendly and nice, I can say that much. My problem is that this was supposed to be a quick meal before we headed somewhere else, and thinking this is just a cafe and not remotely busy at the time, it shouldn't take too long. Boy we were wrong, it took almost an hour to get my food, which ended up being very dry, overcooked, flavorless salmon croquettes. Highly underwhelmed. And it's not that the prices are particularly expensive but they aren't really cheap enough to justify the lousy experience. I will not be returning. I can make better food at home, in a fraction of the time.
By Blern S. at 2015-05-09
Would be 5 stars with better service. The food is amazing but you have to wait for it when they do table service. Go for lunch during the weekdays and go to the counter.
Fantastic food though!
By Volodymyr N. at 2016-01-09
Horrible service for the price. 15 dollars for bad cooked chicken and horrible sides. Poor customer service. Would never recommend.
By Eric S. at 2015-11-16
Good Food! Had the Chicken and Waffle! Waffle was Delicious but the Wings were kind of Skimpy! Will Definitely be back to try Something Different! Menu looks pretty Good!
By Jeff G. at 2015-09-01
BBQ chicken, red beans and rice, collard greens and sweet potato pie. Doesn't get much better!
By Andy K. at 2014-01-28
Lots of choices!
I had to run out for lunch and thought Chic would be a great place to try on a freezing day. First off, the menu is pretty substantial for such an odd location. The easiest way to order was just by getting the lunch special for $8: one entree, choice of two sides and cornbread. Honestly, I don't know what all of the entree choices were but I picked the fried chicken which I had zero'd in on. The chicken was perfectly seasoned and crispy however given the option, I'd have preferred a breast over the provided thigh and wing. I was impressed by the Mac and Cheese - it's a little institutional but had a nice cheesy crust and creamy sauce. The collard greens were perfect other than some hardened pieces of pulled pork. The cornbread was light and fluffy and stood well on it's own.
Chic needs a selection of hot sauces. Something other than Chef's Quality please.
I picked up to-go orders for my coworkers and they had no complaints about their chicken or sides. Once it warms up it will be well worth the walk for some comfort food!
By Benjamin C. at 2015-09-13
Delicious home style southern food with a nice wide selection and fantastic service. Sounds like they're planning on expanding soon which would be fantastic. Make sure you don't miss this lovely hidden spot.
By Mish A. at 2015-09-13
Amazing soul food with fantastic service. Great selection of fresh cooked food. Love the Jazz and r&b ambience. Look forward to the upcoming live jazz improvements.
By Bathilda H. at 2014-08-07
I'm Yelping based on the average of the last four visits. I will have to take a photo of my meal next time.
With that said, yes, the dudes are very nice and friendly. However, their pricing and portions fluctuates slightly every time I go.
What do I mean?
The catfish basket I purchased was $8.50 without a side. I was told it came with a side - but then I was charged an extra $1.50 for fries. This most recent time, they actually didn't charge me for the fries when I asked about the price fluctuation. I guess that's cool--but what about next time?
The portions fluctuate too! Sometimes I get four pieces, sometimes I get six. Sometimes they're big (like the photo someone else provided), sometimes they're little strips. I guess it just depends on when you go.
The food itself is good. I always have the same thing - catfish basket with fries. I've had it breaded and non-breaded. Breaded holds the seasoning better, otherwise it's too seasoned!
I've never tried the actual soul food - collards are not my thing. But fish fry, totally.
Also - if they deliver, make sure you let them know you're paying cash! The delivery guy didn't even bring enough change for $20...