Rick Rodriguez is a man about town. If you have ever been to a Milwaukee festival, networking event or eaten at an independently-owned, local restaurant, you’ve likely rubbed elbows with him. The downtown professional and proud, lifelong Milwaukee resident is always on the scene. An expert on local eats, Rodriguez was a member of the YP MKE (Young Professionals Milwaukee) Around Town committee, Dinner Club founder, and one of the city’s most prolific Yelp-ers, all of which led him to begin writing about local food. When I discovered that Milwaukee’s favorite freelance foodie had never been to Café at the Pfister, I knew the situation needed to be rectified.
That there was a local restaurant Rodriguez had not yet tried is surprising. The man dines out several times a week, sharing his thoughts with his followers on Yelp and Instagram. A supporter of small businesses and ethnic food, he seeks out restaurants that may not be on the radar of most diners. His devotion to cataloging local eats led to opportunities to write about food for Edible Milwaukee, Alcoholmanac, and his best known work, an exhaustive search to find Milwaukee’s best pizza for OnMilwaukee. Rodriguez wrote about 100 local pizza parlors before his passion for pies began to wane and he completed his quest.
As an unabashed Pfister-lover, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to introduce Rodriguez to a great lunch option that is just blocks away from his office. The noted food enthusiast chose the Crispy Chicken sandwich for lunch, which is a piece of tender fried chicken, resting on a buttermilk biscuit and blanketed in sausage gravy. His meal arrived looking like a slice of heaven on a plate and I couldn’t wait until he tried his dish. I knew the service and presentation was flawless, would the meal win over the well-tested palate of Rick Rodriguez?
I unconsciously held my breath as he took his first few bites. I had no reason for jitters; his smile told me the chef hit another homerun. To my delight, he enjoyed his lunch selection, noting the chicken was exceptionally crispy, while remaining moist, and both the chicken breading and biscuit held up in the rich sausage gravy. A French fry aficionado, Rodriguez gave the side dish high marks for both their size (he prefers them thin) and their crispness. Overall, he enjoyed the dish well enough to state that he would order it again. I was thrilled!
As we ate, we chatted about Rodrigeuz’s passions: his family, supporting local small businesses and the development of the city he loves. Excited abut the changes he sees in the city, Rick Rodriguez plans to continue to support independent businesses and connect people through the great unifier- delicious food, one restaurant at a time.
To see where Rick is eating, you can find him on Instagram at @rickyrodmke