The industrial landscape that stretches down the Milwaukee/Ohio corridor hardly seems the place to launch a modish eatery, but don't let that stop you from eating here. De-Lux, the bar and cafe that set up shop in the old Dinky's spot, is helping to transform an otherwise banal slice of the city into one of the hottest tickets in town.
In a nod to social harmony, both the uber-hip club-hopping crowd and the neighborhood sports fans who gather in De-Lux's cavernous dining room, mesh without a whiff of conflict, opting instead to talk pleasantly from across the finished bar. Warm, copper hues and unconventional wallpapering meld behind several well-placed TV screens, delivering a feeling of elegance not seen in Dinky's post-apocalyptic decor. Music raised to normal pub-levels can be changed courtesy of a swanky digital jukebox.
The harmonious motif continues into the menu, where staid barroom favorites fuse with creative eats. If you're feeling adventurous, skip the cheese quesadillas and give the pear and Gorgonzola salad a try (although at $7.50, some appetizers may not lend themselves toward too much experimentation).
Should you grow weary of the usual barrage of beer, burger and buns, try the Tequila 'Tini, a sharp, veggie masterpiece with rotini pasta, mushrooms and a light tomato tequila sauce. The tender Athenian chicken with a side of teriyaki mushrooms works well with a cool Bass Ale from the tap. Interestingly enough, De-Lux boasts a kids' menu that showcases juvenile faves like chicken tenders and grilled cheese. Make no mistake though, De-Lux has all the trappings of an urban watering hole, so it's probably not the place to take the triplets after the sitter cancels.
Fun desserts like root beer floats and peanut butter and banana sandwiches are available for four bucks each, but a dollar more gets you one of the gooiest chocolate chip cookies available anywhere. Sizzling and served in a pan with vanilla bean ice cream, this sugary symphony of morsels and cream is much greater than the sum of its parts.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Adam White