pilot project milwaukee burger

Restaurant of the Week: Pilot Project

Welcome to Milwaukee, Pilot Project! Pilot Project, the new kid on the Milwaukee brewery block, is already making waves with its unique space, variety of beers, flavorful menu and knowledgeable and friendly staff.

Pilot Project, located in the former Milwaukee Brewing Co. facility in the Brewery District, at first may appear a bit out of place with its modern façade among the historic Cream City brick buildings, but don’t let that fool you. Once inside, the large open space is softened by fun and unique pockets of seating with cozy chairs and couches, tons of natural light, neutral tones and airy plants and greenery that bring the large space to life. The staff at Pilot Project makes you feel right at home with their knowledge, friendly service and overall up-beat attitude; you can tell they love what they do and where they do it. All combine to make this huge space, cozy and uber-welcoming.

Pilot Project is a launching pad and collaborative space for brewers looking to take their product to the next level–whether it is a home brewer wanting to elevate their creations to a professional level or an established brewery looking to experiment and everyone in between. Pilot Project offers six-month contacts for brewers to expand their offerings, try new things, learn from other brewers and, most importantly, offers the space to do it.  

pilot project milwaukee interior

Open since mid-November of 2022, Pilot Project is the brainchild of lifelong friends Dan Abel and Jordan Radke. Abel and Radke also own Pilot Project Chicago, a similar beer incubator that started in 2019 and has since help launch 13 startup breweries.

The Milwaukee location boasts an impressive 24 taps of everything from ambers and lagers to IPAs, sours and nitros. Check out the selection of non-alcoholic Beers as well as delicious hard kombucha with flavors like hibiscus-berry or blackberry-lime. Guests are sure to find something unique and a little fun and funky – they are experimenting, after all.

Beer isn’t the only star of the show at Pilot Project; the Brewer’s Kitchen menu is a complex mashup of flavors that hit the palate just right. Whether you are having a couple of sharable appetizers, one of the savory salads or the main event, there’s something for everyone’s taste buds. We love the traditional offerings with fun twists like Wisconsin cheese curds with polenta beer batter, chicken wings or the slider trio that deviates with meatball, chicken Milanese and caprese. Smoked trout deviled eggs, pretzel bites with French onion fondue (made with Milwaukee’s Clock Shadow Creamery fontina) and glazed port ribs round out the starters.

Lighter fare options includes a collection of salads like the beet and avocado or burrata and crispy Brussels leaves, as well as toasts including prosciutto and ricotta or the Wagyu tartare toast. Chef Ryan Gill’s main courses also include a handful of flatbreads and sandwiches. Try the Pilot Smash Burger, Chef’s 50/50 Wagyu beef and short rib blend, topped with thick-cut candied bacon and a side of fresh hand-cut rosemary French fries. Don’t forget the six-piece Friday Fish Fry made with Lake Winnebago walleye, Northern Lakes bluegill and saltwater cod. Pilot Project also offers a kids’ menu. The kitchen is open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

pilot project milwaukee interior

Pilot Project’s space offers options for any type of event. In fact, there are seven unique areas equipped to host large weddings, bridal showers, fantasy football drafts or family birthday parties. We love the flexibility to block off areas for parties all while keeping the brewery and restaurant running as normal. During warmer weather days, guests can enjoy the front, dog-friendly patio or the upstairs rooftop deck with a standing capacity of 100 and views of Fiserv Forum. Speaking of, Pilot Project is a great pre- or post-game spot away from the bustle of Water Street or the perfect space to set up camp for the day and watch your hometown team on their numerous large TV’s.  

Tours are available on Fridays and Saturdays for a nominal fee, which includes five 5-oz. tasters, souvenir glass, tour and coupons. Reservations are available online here.

Pilot Project hours are Monday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to midnight; and, Sunday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more information on Pilot Project, visit www.pilotprojectbrewing.com

1128 N. 9th St.
Milwaukee, WI 53233

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