Fuel Cafe Walker's Point – 630 S. 5th St., Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Open 7am weekdays / 8am weekends

The Fuel Cafe (on Center Street) is one of the first coffee shops I remember from my earliest visits to Milwaukee, in the 1990s. This relatively new version in Milwaukee's most up-and-coming (whether that's true and/or desirable is debatable) neighborhood, Walker's Point, barely resembles the Riverwest version, as far as clientele, menu, and decor—except for the motorcycle stuff. If you're really into motorcycles, this is your place, but even if you're not, it's fun to see a theme so excessively executed, with MC decor (which would be: motorcycles) and MC movies and races on the big screen TVs (I'm never crazy about the big-screen TVs, but it's much nicer to have a theme than a half-assed whatever playing on them). I had a few MC comic books when I was young, and they really fascinated me; I should dig them up, because I remember that they were pretty detailed, as in discussing the different manufacturers and different kinds of racing. We built trails through the woods behind my neighborhood growing up, a some of my friends had motorcycles (I didn't) and even raced motocross pretty seriously.

What I'm serious about is breakfast, and on their website I spotted a sentence that is music to my ears: “Breakfast served all day.” The various times and menus are too complicated for me to go into here (their website is good), as this location is both a cafe/coffee shop in front, and a restaurant/bar in back. I'm not sure if they're renting rooms, but it might not be a bad idea. On a brunch Sunday, I spotted something very interesting: Johnny Cakes. The menu clearly indicates gluten-free items, and the employees actually know what that means (you'd think everyone would by now, but not always). Johnny Cakes are one of the old, old traditional American foods, as they are corn based. Most recipes you see include flour as well (it's just easier to make everything with flour) but these are either always GF or can be made that way. As a Celiac, you probably always want to make it clear that the kitchen knows it's a dire concern. This breakfast, with a combination of the slightly sweet corn cakes, and the too-healthy kale, poached eggs (my favorite egg preparation) and the Mexican flavored condiments—it was like the perfect breakfast for me. Plus, I just love the name. Everyone knows someone named “Johnny Cakes,” right? Usually a guy with one foot in some criminal activity, but someone who lives by some kind of code (even if it makes sense only to him)—so you can depend on him—if only to screw up—but to do it in some semi-predictable but always colorful way.

Richard Skiller 12.5.17