Let’s face it, there is nothing enjoyable about touring one of the great cities in America on an empty stomach, so it’s been a relief to see “food tours” popping up all over the country. Metro areas like New York, Philadelphia and San Francisco off these culinary excursions to give a little flavor and taste of the city one may be visiting, but the best “food tour” in America may reside in one of the most underrated food cities in the U.S., that would be Milwaukee.
If you put all those Happy Days and Laverne and Shirley jokes aside for a minute, a food tour of Milwaukee is educational, enlightening and delicious. Tour goers will board a comfortable bus and be whisked around the city to eat, learn and be entertained.
Therea Nemetz is the founder of Milwaukee City & Food Tours and while this is a small business that employs 15 people, Nemetz also realizes that this is a way she can give back to her hometown. The food tour is growing every year.
“Last year, the company bought its first bus to take visitors and locals alike around the area,” explained Nemetz. “It (now) employs 15 tour guides. It was really our hobby turned wild.”
Once you board the bus, you will be in for a wild ride when it comes to food. Wisconsin and cheese are synonymous and you will get your fill of cheese, but the tour goes deeper than that as you learn about one of the great food success stories in America, the Usinger’s. Back in 1880, German immigrant, Frederick Usinger bought the butcher shop where he worked, and he stared selling his sausage locally. The business grew, and son Frederick Usinger, Jr. took over in 1930. The growing business is still being run by the Usinger family with Fritz Usinger at the helm.
It’s stories like this that you will hear as you tour Brady Street, the Historic Third Ward, Riverwalk and Old World Third Street, Village of Wauwatosa and on themed tours like the popular Bloody Mary Brunch Tour, the upcoming holiday tours and the famous Pizza Bus Tour.
“Milwaukee offers so much when it comes to food and we are just really showing a small sample of what is out there,” adds Nemetz, who says she was inspired to start the company by her great-grandparents, Rosa and Guiseppi, who came to Milwaukee from Sicily. “The best way to experience Milwaukee is to get out there and explore and our tours help locals and visitors do just that.”
Like an successful small business, Nemetz and Milwaukee Food & City Tours survives with the help of partnerships. Nemetz and her tours have infused over $1 million in the local economy as her patrons eat at and buy food items from spots along the tours. Ask anyone getting off one of Nemetz’s tours not only will they have had a taste of what Milwaukee has off offer in terms of culinary offerings and libations, but an understanding that it’s hardworking people and pride that make this city great. Nemetz should sleep well at night knowing her food and city tour matches up with or exceeds any similar operation in the country.
Nemetz does a great job showing what you might experience on a tour with her social media posts on Facebook. For more information on the specific tours or to buy your tickets you can go here.