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. Eric Clapton
73. Kid Rock
72. Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson
71. Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra
70. Big Time Rush
69. Milwaukee Mayor Henry Maier
68. Tiesto
67. Tony Curtis
66. Stephanie Powers
65. Tim McGraw
64. Robert Wagner
63. Lady A
62. New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia
61. Lynyrd Skynyrd
60. Keith Urban
59. Train
58. George Karl
57. Mickey Rooney
56. Counting Crows
55. ZZ Top
54. Steve Miller Band
53. Anne Meara
52. Brooks & Dunn
51. Santana (lost points for not featuring Rob Thomas)
50. Def Leppard
49. Justin Bieber
48. Wisconsin Senator and former Milwaukee Bucks owner Herb Kohl
47. Aerosmith
46. Steve Winwood
45. Kid Cudi
44. Beach Boys
43. Brooklyn Dodgers (entire team)
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. President Ronald Reagan
32. Kanye West
31. President Gerald Ford
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. Nat King Cole
21. Clark Gable
20. Foo Fighters
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

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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.

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