Oh, what a strange and tasty year it has been! In addition to the traditional food- and drink-related coverage we’ve published this year, we’ve also found plenty of time to put some unconventional dining tidbits on Milwaukee Record in 2023. From gas station pizza reviews and mini sandwiches to bubble tea proximity and sign-related mysteries, this is our year in weird food articles.

Until we meat again: Scenes from a soon-to-close sausage factory outlet store
“With the end of the Klement’s Factory Outlet Store in sight, we decided to pay one last visit to the place we know and love in order to document the waning days of this incomparable Milwaukee shop…and, yes, to stock up on some meat products one last time in the process.”

Gas station pizza, ranked
“You might find yourself eyeing up highway exit signs in search of passable gas station pizza options in Wisconsin. If you do, you can rest easy knowing Milwaukee Record put in the necessary miles and caloric intake to visit five gas station pizza brands YOU’LL OFTEN ENCOUNTER IN WISCONSIN, eat them, and weigh in with our definitive gas station pizza rankings.”

Those two Cousins Subs locations on Exit 64: The Milwaukee Record Review
“The Cousins restaurants were separated by a mere 4.6 miles. They’re ‘Kissing Cousins,’ if you will! For reference, that’s about a six- or seven-minute drive—the length of a Tool song or the amount of time it takes to empty the dishwasher—on a smooth county causeway with few stoplights between points A and B. So with that proximity in mind, we decided to visit both locations on the same day, order the same thing, dine in, and review BOTH Cousins Subs off Exit 64.”

I created a tiny version of Fuel Cafe’s “Buttafuoco” sandwich for some reason
“Seriously, look at how tiny this little sandwich is! Though I don’t exactly know why I was so fixated on making “The Bittyfuoco” happen, I’m glad I was able to make this strange and very stupid idea to miniaturize one of my favorite sandwiches a reality. Take it from me, people: If you work hard, believe in yourself, visit three different grocery stores, and remember to steal a mayo packet from a regional sub chain weeks earlier, your littlest edible aspirations can also come true. Dream small and anything is possible!”

We tried 8 new food items at Summerfest (2023 edition)
“The outsides of the balls were hard as a rock, the insides were soggy, and the marinara that typically shines as part of mozzarella stick orders was more of a sloppy distraction than an asset here. The beef and giardiniera were predictably good, but still couldn’t bail out this rare miss from the King of Summerfest Food Vendors.”

Comparing Leon’s Frozen Custard in Milwaukee and Leon’s Frozen Custard in Oshkosh
“Of course anybody living in Milwaukee is probably well aware of Leon’s Frozen Custard. Open and thriving since 1942, that Leon’s—located at 3131 S. 27th St.—is nothing short of a Milwaukee icon and is in the holy trinity of Cream City custard purveyors. What local readers with limited Oshkosh awareness might not know is there’s another Leon’s Frozen Custard about 84 minutes north on Highway 41 that’s been around almost as long that’s also a certified legend in its own right.”

We ate all of Wisconsin State Fair’s 2023 Sporkies and Drinkies finalists
“In addition to the State Fair’s annual food-stand staples, this year’s fairground festivities also feature eight intriguing indulgences and four baffling beverages that were named 2023 Sporkies and Drinkies finalists. We wasted little time before heading to West Allis with empty stomachs and open minds to try the 12 total finalists during the State Fair’s opening day.”

I came in for “The Craic”
“I anxiously stumbled and searched for my words, knowing full well I was about to make an awkward request. Eventually, something close to “Your sign says to come in for The Craic. Can I please have whatever that is?” escaped from my lips. One of the bartenders smiled and (understandably) laughed a little before giving me the answer I had been wanting to know on and off for much of 2023.”

Burrito Sandwich: An Investigation
“I didn’t want to do it, but the steady stream of asks and, more so, the curiosity gnawing at me finally caused me to cave in yesterday. Shortly after its 11 a.m. opening time, I drove to The Gyros Stand (which was still promoting the fabled Burrito Sandwich), parked in its empty lot, walked into the business, and acted like I was examining the menu even though I was actually just mustering the courage to ask the question Milwaukee as a whole was too afraid to ask.”

We created $78 combo meals for some Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport restaurants
“Since the internet is bound to move to the next thing before the end of the weekend, we figured we’d give the funny online happening of the week a local angle by creating some $78 meal combinations are restaurants in the Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport. The next time you find yourself at the airport with a powerful hunger and your company’s card, consider enjoying one of these $78—before tax and tip!—combo meals we created for a few airport restaurants.”

‘Holy Food’ isn’t a typical cookbook, but this sandwich recipe is divine as hell

“We reiterate: Holy Food is not a traditional cookbook. That being said, among the thorough explorations and explanations of the power religion plays on society and the unexpected power it has on America’s collective diet, there are some recipes in Holy Food. And even though the group from which it was created seems not at all great, at least one of those recipes is divine as hell.”

I went to the last Blimpie Subs in Wisconsin
“Today, just over 150 Blimpie Subs locations remain. As mentioned above, only one of them is here in Wisconsin. The last store standing is in Oshkosh. Originally opened at 200 City Center downtown in 2007, that Blimpie moved a few miles west to its current home at 2208 Jackson St. somewhat recently. Prior to the relocation, it became the state’s sole Blimpie in existence by outlasting shops in Portage and Mineral Point to earn the unsavory honor of last one standing…in Wisconsin, at least.”

I built my dream Mexican fast food meal on Layton Avenue (and you can too!)
“I wanted to set out to build a “dream meal” entirely composed of Mexican-style food (yeah, yeah, I know it’s all Americanized versions of Mexican food) sourced entirely from restaurants located in a four-block stretch of Layton. Tuesday morning, about 12 hours after learning metro Milwaukee’s latest Taco John’s had opened, I did just that.”

Bubble tea place coming to old Hotel Foster/Globe space, 132 steps from other bubble tea place
“Wouldn’t you know it, the future Thaichi Bubble Tea is located a mere 132 steps from another bubble tea place, Tsaocaa. You know, that bubble tea place that opened this past summer at 2224 N. Farwell Ave. You know, in the old Pita Pit space between the Oriental Theatre and Landmark Lanes. You know, right around the corner from the future Thaichi Bubble Tea. And yes, we counted the steps.”