Last weekend, Milwaukee dining was dealt a massive blow with the surprising announcement that Karl Ratzsch Restaurant had closed. The German mainstay had been a point of local pride since it opened in 1904, and it recently experienced exciting revival when chef Thomas Hauck (c.1880) took the reins last year. The tragic news served as a cautionary tale for consumers to remember to strike a balance between beloved stalwarts and buzzed-about new establishments. The century-old restaurant’s sudden end also indirectly turned attention to another 110-year-old German restaurant in downtown Milwaukee.

Mader’s predates the opening of Ratzsch’s by two years. As the restaurant’s website mentions, its existence also precedes flight and Ford’s Model T. In its 115 years in business, Mader’s has survived Prohibition, two World Wars, and The Chevy Chase Show, and they’ve served innumerable patrons along the way. Being a venerable downtown restaurant, it’s only natural for a portion of Mader’s clientele to be famous people. Yet with more than 100 years in business, who could possibly count how many stars have dined at Mader’s over the decades? Mader’s can, apparently. Seventy-four.

A reader recently tipped us off to a list of “celebrity guests” on Mader’s website. The list features noted musicians, accomplished actors, prominent politicians, and legendary sports figures who have allegedly dined at the restaurant (or had events Mader’s catered, which is kind of bullshit but whatever). To help draw your attention to Milwaukee’s oldest German restaurant—now by a wide margin—in hopes you keep its story going, here’s Milwaukee Record‘s definitive ranking of Mader’s celebrity customers.

74. Kid Rock
73. Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson
72. Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra
71. Big Time Rush
70. Milwaukee Mayor Henry Maier
69. Tiesto
68. Tony Curtis
67. Stephanie Powers
66. Tim McGraw
65. Robert Wagner
64. Lady Antebellum
63. New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia
62. Lynyrd Skynyrd
61. Keith Urban
60. Train
59. George Karl
58. Mickey Rooney
57. Counting Crows
56. ZZ Top
55. Steve Miller Band
54. Anne Meara
53. Brooks & Dunn
52. Santana (lost points for not featuring Rob Thomas)
51. Def Leppard
50. Justin Bieber
49. Wisconsin Senator and former Milwaukee Bucks owner Herb Kohl
48. Aerosmith
47. Steve Winwood
46. Kid Cudi
45. Beach Boys
44. Brooklyn Dodgers (entire team)
43. Eric Clapton
42. The Crusher
41. Britney Spears
40. Iron Maiden
39. Liberace
38. Carrie Underwood
37. Greg Norman
36. Boris Karloff
35. Howard Cosell
34. John Cleese
33. Nat King Cole
32. President Gerald Ford
31. Foo Fighters
30. Red Skelton
29. Peter Gabriel
28. Cary Grant
27. Jack Benny
26. William Shatner
25. John Wayne
24. Robert Kennedy
23. Warren Spahn
22. Kanye West
21. Clark Gable
20. President Ronald Reagan
19. Will Ferrell
18. Ray Nitschke
17. Laurel And Hardy
16. Paul Molitor
15. Bob Hope
14. Usher
13. Ron Howard
12. Audrey Hepburn
11. John Belushi
10. The Three Stooges
9. Alfred Hitchcock
8. Chris Farley
7. Katy Perry
6. Jerry Stiller
5. Frank Sinatra
4. Paul Newman
3. John Candy
2. President John F. Kennedy
1. Vince Lombardi

About The Author

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.