Milwaukee Record launched on April 7, 2014. Since then, we’ve published nearly 6,000 stories, reached millions upon millions of internet-weary eyeballs (we’re currently in the midst of a record-breaking year), and concocted all sorts of wonderful and ridiculous stuff. Now, as our fifth full year of existence comes to a close, we’ve rounded up some of the best stories we published in 2019. A huge thanks, as always, to our incredible ad partners and sponsors, our ridiculously talented writers, and our loyal readers. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

March 5
A Bay View bar is pulling Budweiser from shelves and “pouring it down the drain” in response to anti-Miller billboards
“‘I’m not pushing anyone to drink Miller products, but they do still employ more than a thousand people in Milwaukee. Some of them are my friends and customers, so that seems pretty local to me,’ Foltz says. ‘The brewing industry in Milwaukee employs thousands more, so if you’re not interested in Miller products, there are plenty of other local brews in town to tip back.'” [Tyler Maas]

March 22
My First Band: Kyle Kinane (comedy, The Grand Marquis)

March 28
Opening Day and Back Again: Scenes from Opening Day 2018
“There’s another strain of pride at work here: tailgating pride. The Gantner Lot is the park’s smallest—a mere 49,950 square feet and 139 stalls—but its ambitions are enough to fill the Yount and Molitor Lots ten times over. It’s absolutely loaded with people, and its shish-kebab-choked rows and aisles have formed a crude sharing economy; no man, woman, or fan still wearing a J. J. Hardy jersey is wanting for ketchup, mustard, or a Pretzilla soft pretzel bun. ‘This is the place to be!’ screams a woman over the din of 69 Boyz’ ‘Tootsee Roll.’ She takes a bite of a burger and cackles wildly.” [Matt Wild]

April 8
From 15 to 60 wins: Watching the Bucks complete a 5-year turnaround
“Sixty wins is rarified air in the NBA. Usually, only one or two teams will reach the number in a season. The Milwaukee Bucks will be the only team to do so this year. It’s a monumental achievement for the franchise. It’s also a stunning, surreal capstone on a season that’s been so mesmerizingly unbelievable that I have to keep reminding myself that this is all real and this is all happening.” [Dan Shafer]

April 25
I ate a CBD-infused brat and then I sat in a park and looked at stuff
“It was pretty early, so I was the only customer in the Brat House. A guy and a girl were working behind the bar and listening to music. ‘Um, how long is this song?’ asked the guy 10 minutes into the 8,000-minute version of ‘Rapper’s Delight.’ Also, the CBD-infused brat was $14.95!” [Matt Wild]

April 28
The Bucks lost and Brother Ron got his car towed
“So I leave, we all left, to trek up Water Street, where there’s time to kill before the next bus. Stop into the busy downtown market—a cucumber and tomato will erase all cheap beer damage, yes?—amid busy aisles of wherever people. Remember they also sell beer. Then remember to pile on the vegetables and nightshades with tonight’s dinner. Pay and step back out the sidewalk, where, vaingloriously, there is Brother Ron’s puritanical itasha whip on the back of a tow truck, stopped at Water Street and St. Paul.” [Justin Kern]

May 8
I went fishing and I caught…something
“I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced three grown adults staring at something in complete, horrified silence, but that’s what happened here. We just…looked at it. How long, I couldn’t say. It could have been 10 seconds or it could have been 30 minutes. We stared at it as it dangled from my line. It looked like it was moving.” [Matt Wild]

May 14
What’s up with this weird rock/log thing in the woods along Lincoln Memorial Drive?
“Anyway, there’s a long staircase on the south end of the park that leads through the woods and down to the lake. Well, it leads through the woods and down to the open green space on the west side of Lincoln Memorial Drive, to be exact. Is it still Back Bay Park? Is it another park? Only John Gurda knows for sure.” [Matt Wild]

June 10
Watch Macaulay Culkin point at a bunch of stuff in Milwaukee
“Before the short video is through, Culkin and Stoklasa drop by the Bobblehead Hall Of Fame, which features a few Home Alone pieces in its collection. If you watch one video of Macaulay Culkin pointing at Milwaukee landmarks today, make it this one.” [Tyler Maas]

June 17
I went to Kopp’s on Father’s Day and ate “Nuts For Daddy”: A minute-by-minute report
“Leading up to the big day, I knew that I would heed the siren call of ‘Nuts For Daddy.’ (You see, I’m a dad myself—whether or not I’m a ‘daddy’ is debatable.) I knew that I would go to Kopp’s. I knew that I would look the high school kid working the counter in the eye and say, ‘I’ll have “Nuts For Daddy,” please.’ I knew that I would eat it, and I knew that I would write about it. Mostly because I knew that I didn’t have anything else to write for Monday morning.” [Matt Wild]

June 18
Our return trip to Blue Ox Music Festival sure was something
“The heaviest of the wind and rain slows after a few minutes, but the damage has been done. We can already see a few trees that have fallen and the dirt road that runs right in front of these particular restrooms is now a shin-deep river. We check with our neighbors to make sure everyone’s okay. They are, but some tents are mangled and everything is wet and/or muddy. The notes in our stenographer’s pants pocket are completely soaked and ruined, as are most of our remaining sandwiches, and our couch cushions. The whiskey is just fine, though.” [Josh Hoppert]

June 18
The probability of Ixonia (and beyond)
“Way back in 1846, a town in the Rock River valley—then called ‘Union’—was divided into two separate municipalities. One half would be called Concord, but residents of the other town had trouble agreeing on a name. Legend has it this unnamed locale solved its issue of identification by having a young woman select letters written on slips of paper from a hat at random. Based purely on chance, ‘Ixonia’ was drawn from the hat and the rest was history.” [Tyler Maas]

June 27
Review: Nothing (formerly known as “Taped Music” and “Pre-Recorded Music”) at JoJo’s Martini Lounge
“No longer in search of a brutal button to help tie together my hour of self-imposed dissatisfaction, I just walked out of the tent at as the clock struck one. Usually, I’d make a B-line back to my car so I could go home and type this all out while the wound was still fresh in my mind. This time, though, I stayed and walked around Summerfest for a while longer. After all, it was a beautiful day and things could’ve been much worse. For so many people struggling to make it in the increasingly cruel world outside the festival gates, it is much worse.” [Tyler Maas]

July 3
We paired Taking Back Sunday lyrics with Milwaukee photos

“This all was only wishful thinking.”

July 16
I got married at Pizza Shuttle
“So the time came to plan our wedding. We both only ever talked of having a courthouse wedding. Seemed fast, easy, and would get the job done. As I was putting more thought into it, however, it started to not feel it was the right fit for us. I’d rather have a wedding officiant meet us wherever we wanted. I was back at square one. Where the heck could we get married at on a Thursday only three months away? I was scrambling and scrambling in my mind and, like an epiphany, I thought Pizza Shuttle. Yeah, you heard that right. Pizza Shuttle.” [MaryGrace Genova Borenstein]

July 24
Dr. Evermor’s Art Park is a scrap-metal mecca in the town of Sumpter
“Meander around the grounds surrounding the Forevertron and you’ll be whisked into another world. Googly eyes and wide-mouthed smiles beam from creatures made of carburetors and bedsprings. Cheshire cats grin as they prance along the landscape, and a 70-piece bird band—yes, 70 scrap-metal birds wielding their individual musical instruments, complete with a 10-foot-tall wild-eyed conductor—infuse the park with artful magic. Everywhere you turn, there’s another mechanical friend to meet, another inventive sculpture to ponder.” [Rachel Seis]

July 24
The drive-in lives on at Highway 18 Outdoor Theatre in Jefferson
“The movies, however, are perhaps the least interesting thing about Highway 18. It’s the outdoor theater’s slightly overgrown ambiance, its slightly overgrown grass lot, and its slightly dinged-up (but fully stocked) concession stand that really shine. Adults smoke on lawn chairs or in the backs of their pickup trucks while kids horse around on old-school playground equipment directly under the screen. Frazzled teenage employees serve hot buttered popcorn and licorice ropes to frazzled families. (Sorry folks, no carry-ins.) Most people park their vehicles in optimal spots near the front and the middle, but there are a few who park in the back—the way back. The mind reels. It’s pure magic.” [Matt Wild]

July 26
One of the last remaining Kewpee Hamburgers locations still flourishes in downtown Racine
“The plain text displayed both above and below a painted silhouette of a butt-naked baby doll that’s encased a sun-washed blue circle simply reads ‘Kewpee Hamburgers.’ Below that sign, plastered beside the entrance, a far more modern piece of signage bluntly instructs potential customers to ‘STEP UP.’ Each and every day, throngs of loyal locals and voracious visitors alike do just that. They line up for their turn in this tastiest of time machines.” [Tyler Maas]

August 21
We went to western Wisconsin to stroll through a graveyard for fiberglass molds
“The next time you strike pose in front of a gigantic block of cheese, gawk at a life-sized dinosaur, or point out the fiberglass visage of Paul Bunyan, take a moment to think about where it came from. Chances are, the roadside attraction or unorthodox marketing tool was made in the little town of Sparta, and its inverse is on display for anyone who cares to visit and pay their respects in the kitschy fiberglass graveyard. It’s a place you could pass a hundred times without noticing. But once you see it in person, you’ll never forget you were there.” [Tyler Maas]

August 21
My flight was delayed, so I wandered around Mitchell Airport listening to the new Bon Iver album
“‘We,’ the album’s third track, begins with a heavy bass line and a deep voice doing what sounds like Native American chanting. It makes me think of Iron Boy, the indigenous group made up of Dakota, Lakota, and Ojibwe singers who have performed at Eaux Claires, sometimes alongside Vernon. The track employs various sound effects, vocal shouts, sax flourishes, and other pieces of sonic madness, but manages to tie them together through simple guitar strumming and Vernon’s singular voice. During the song I wander over to gates D54-D56, which are operated by American Airlines. This prompts a flashback to being nine years old and awaiting my first flight, which was to Los Angeles to visit family and, invariably, Disneyland.” [Joey Grihalva]

August 22
The Wizards of Southeastern Wisconsin: 8 local inventors that changed the world
“Very recently, you may have heard about the best thing to happen to bathrooms since the invention of the toilet itself. Local inventor Tyeshia Coopwood created her odor-masking, discreet, and TSA-approved ‘Potty Pearls’ in 2016. In the future, we predict everyone will use these. Or, at least we hope.” [Josh Hoppert]

September 23
Celebrate International Day of Sign Languages by learning to sign some Milwaukee (and Wisconsin) terms

October 9
LiveSCREAM Theater: Watch Attack Of The Giant Leeches with guests Jack Packard and Maggie Iken

October 18
I dug up the free George Webb burger I buried in the woods one year ago and it was gross
“Before I go any further, I have a confession to make. My original 2018 task/stunt had been carried out alone. But in 2019, I knew I would need a second pair of hands. With time running out and no friends willing to accompany me, I turned to the one person in the world I knew would do me a solid. After picking up my 5-year-old daughter from daycare and loading her into the car, I turned to her. ‘How would you like to help dad on an adventure?’ I asked. ‘YES!’ she replied. Rotten hamburger buried in a shallow grave, here we come!” [Matt Wild]

October 25
303 Friday fish frys and counting: Cue Club of Wisconsin (Waukesha)
“I rack up the balls, and then try the cod as Becky shoots. The fish is covered with a thin breading that can easily be cut through, but it still holds together well. The breading has an exceptionally satisfying flavor to it, which stems from a healthy mix of seasonings and a hint of beer. The pieces of fish are of high quality, being thick and flaky. This fish swims with the best of them on its own, but when the tartar sauce is added it takes it to an even higher level. The tartar is tangy and sweet and is a perfect match to the fish. Becky hits in a stripe but scratches.” [Caleb Westphal]

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