Opened in 1993, Landmark Family Restaurant has been (and still remains) a bastion of breakfast food and lunch fare on Kinnickinnic Ave. in Milwaukee’s Fernwood neighborhood. As many of the diner’s contemporaries have closed amid changing tastes, rising rents, and the proliferation of brunch culture, this restaurant has sustained through continually offering no-frills daytime dining favorites that are both well-executed and affordable. As the saying goes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

While not much has changed with Landmark Family Restaurant over the last three decades, one sizable development took shape last fall. Back in October, Humberto Santacruz—an employee at Landmark since 1994 and the owner’s son—took the restaurant’s name beyond Milwaukee’s border and opened an affiliated eatery in nearby Cudahy. With more than 30 years of experience amassed over thousands upon thousands of mornings in a place a few miles to the north, Landmark By The Lake Restaurant (4671 S. Lake Dr., 414-455-3035) quickly joins relative newcomer La Crema and veteran egg-slingers like Cudahy Pancake House and Filis Cafe in making Cudahy an unexpectedly great breakfast destination. We reached this lofty-yet-accurate conclusion when we finally made our way to Landmark By The Lake last week.

The last time we were inside the property at 4671 S. Lake Dr., it was home to Lakeside Pub & Grill. After that bar and restaurant migrated a few blocks down Layton Ave., Love’s Sports Bar moved in and out before we could get there. However, the interior changes between the Lakeside era and the present day are noticeable. A row of booths and other tables have been added, a fresh coat of paint works in tandem with the building’s numerous windows to brighten up the space. Beyond that, a few TVs give those seated at the bar and bar-adjacent pub tables something to look at while they eat. The rest of the decor is kept simple: pictures of coffee mugs and food, white boards detailing current off-menu specials, and the like.

Similar to the other location bearing the Landmark name, Landmark By The Lake specializes in an array of standard breakfast and lunch offerings such as omelets, skillets, a bunch of “two eggs with…” combos, pancakes and waffles, sandwiches and wraps, burgers, and various breakfast or lunch add-ons. Prices top out at $18 (which is the cost of an 8 oz. New York strip steak served with two eggs, potatoes, and toast), but the vast majority of the menu items land in the $10 to $12 range.

We opted for one of the three “Mexican Breakfast” choices, bypassing the breakfast burrito and chilaquiles in favor of the Eggs And Chorizo combo ($11). The confluence of fried eggs and ground chorizo came with a choice of toast and potatoes or an accompaniment of rice, beans, and corn tortillas. We picked the latter, and were very pleased with the piping hot quartet of soft tortillas, the fluffy and flavorful rice, the hearty refried beans, and the savory eggs…especially when they were all combined and topped with squirts of homemade salsa.

Wanting to try some of the restaurant’s more expected breakfast options and, yeah, because the price was right, we added on two pancakes ($7) that we found to be pillow-y soft inside and perfectly browned on the outside. With an eyeballed diameter of about eight or nine inches apiece, they’d honestly work as a standalone meal. Between bites of the tasty cakes, we had sips of the type of coffee that’s really only served at (and is somehow only good at) diners. Our brown ceramic mug was repeatedly replenished for the duration of the visit. It’s also worth noting that, unlike its big brother, Landmark By The Lake serves alcohol. During lent, fish fry is also available on Fridays.

While it’s in its own building, is in another city, has a slightly different name, and showcases some minor menu modifications, Landmark By The Lake Restaurant is essentially an extension of Landmark Family Restaurant. In that sense, it’s quite literally more of the same. And that’s high praise when comparing it to one of Milwaukee’s best diners and a place that’s been kicking for more than 30 years. Like we said, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” In opening Landmark By The Lake, the Santacruz family took what they do best to a building down the road and bolstered Cudahy’s reputation as a low-key breakfast destination in the process.

About The Author

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Co-Founder and Editor

Before co-founding Milwaukee Record, Tyler Maas wrote for virtually every Milwaukee publication (except Wassup! Magazine). He lives in Bay View and enjoys both stuff and things.