Ma Fischer's – 2214 N. Farwell Ave., Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Open 24 hours.

During my first extended stay in Milwaukee I was encamped less than a block from Ma Fischer's, so it was kind of my home away from home for a while, and I'll always have a warm spot in my heart for it thus. The internet says it's been around since 1947, which not only means pre-Happy Days, but pre-fictional-Happy Days. It's one of those places that doesn't technically need a door lock—never closes—and also boasts the best three word phrase in the English language: “Breakfast All Day.” I call it my regular diner. Depending on your definition of diner—which is justifiably debatable—either it's a diner or Milwaukee has no diners. It's not my dream diner, though: it's pretty much “family restaurant” in style. It's too expensive, the food is good but not great, and it's a little colder than it should be—I mean the overall vibe—and I can't put my finger on why. As many times as I've darkened its door, I don't ever feel particularly welcomed back. But maybe that's just part of that urban Midwest misguided idea of authenticity (“Have it our way or get the fuck out”). Still, it's a good place to sit and write in your notebook (paper and pen) and not get arrested. It's pretty much always bustling, but you can always get a seat (that's a very good combination). It's in the same block as the Oriental Theatre (one of Milwaukee's best things). And it pretty much doesn't change too much (also, as far as I'm concerned, a huge positive) year after year after year.

Richard Skiller 5.4.18