Thistle & Shamrock, a popular restaurant, pub, and fish fry destination on 84th and Lisbon (3430 N. 84th St.), announced Wednesday night that it will close its doors and serve its final fish fry on May 17. The business cited road construction, rising food costs, and a higher sales tax as reasons for the closure.

“After 11 wonderful years of serving the community, the Thistle and Shamrock will serve its last fish fry on Friday, May 17,” a message posted to social media read. “The decision to close our doors has been very difficult. We feel it is best to go out on top. The upcoming challenges with at least two years of road construction on Lisbon Ave., as well as rising food costs and higher sales tax, we don’t see a scenario that the Thistle and Shamrock can continue to operate. We are overwhelmed and humbled by the love and support of our neighbors, customers, friends, and especially our employees.”

Milwaukee Alderman Lamont Westmoreland, who represents the district where Thistle & Shamrock is located, released his own statement lamenting the impending closure of the business:

An establishment that has been a part of the daily life of the 5th Aldermanic District for more than a decade—Thistle and Shamrock at 84th and Lisbon—will sadly be closing its doors on May 17th.

I say sadly because Thistle and Shamrock is one of my favorite places in the district—an establishment that has hosted family birthday parties, election night watch parties, and other gatherings over the years. I think they have one of the best fish fries in town, and their alligator is definitely THE best, in my humble opinion!

The establishment has been open for 11 years and it will definitely be a loss to the area when they turn off the lights. I want to thank the owners, management and all of the staff for being part of our lives and the district over the years. In my view, they are definitely a model for how a business should be operated.

Westmoreland even included a call for a similar business to take Thistle & Shamrock’s place:

I want to encourage anyone wanting to fill the space with a LIKE business (family friendly pub/restaurant) to reach out to [email protected] or call/text at (414) 617-8576. Potential business operators for the location should also reach out to me/my office to discuss a plan of operation.

I will be enjoying what Thistle and Shamrock has to offer a few more times while they’re open, and I strongly encourage neighbors and other regular customers to do the same!

Milwaukee Record fish fry correspondent Caleb Westphal visited Thistle & Shamrock—then known as Kam’s Thistle & Shamrock—in January 2019. Here’s what he had to say:

Kam’s Thistle & Shamrock has a few things going for it. For one, they have many fish options, giving diners plenty to choose from. Second, for a place that serves fried food, they are very health conscious. They avoid using high fructose corn syrup, they make their food from scratch, and they use monounsaturated-rich “100% high-oleic canola oil,” “real butter—no margarine,” and “Sherpa Pink Himalayan Salt.” There were even some microgreens scattered on top of my fish. The many fish options and freshness of the ingredients are probably two of the main reasons why the place was so packed when I was there. From the way it seemed, Kam’s may very well be the hub of their neighborhood. But if you don’t live in the neighborhood yourself, I doubt you’d regret making the drive.

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263 Friday fish frys and counting: Kam’s Thistle & Shamrock

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Co-Founder and Editor

Matt Wild weighs between 140 and 145 pounds. He lives on Milwaukee's east side.