Dan Zierath opened The Thirsty Duck in July 2015 on Bluemound Road in Wauwatosa, right next door to Jackson’s Blue Ribbon Pub, which he owns as well.
While the menu items are similar, The Thirsty Duck has another draw: mini-duckpin bowling, said restaurant manager Jesse Eldridge.
“It’s very family-friendly,” he said.
With six 16-foot elevated lanes and 4-pound fingerless balls and mini-pins, Eldridge said the game can be played by all ages.
“You could have a kid who is 3 years old,” he said, adding that since you don’t step onto a bowling lane, you can wear street clothes. The cost to play is $30 an hour per lane, and there’s a six-person maximum per lane.
With a green duck mascot named Thirsty, the venue is great for children’s birthday parties and other special events.
Those who don’t bowl come in for the food, with The Thirsty Duck offering traditional pub-like food with some twists. Wings, mozzarella sticks, burgers and buffalo chicken wraps are among the entrées, but so is gourmet pizza like The White One, made with grilled chicken, portobello mushrooms, oven-roasted tomatoes, caramelized onions, white sauce and feta cheese. And of course, there’s a fish fry.
Most popular is pizza and wings, he said. “We also do a giant pretzel people love.”
A new chef, Nancy Ruiz, means a new menu for The Thirsty Duck, too, said Eldridge. “She’s incorporating some Mexican cuisine,” he said.
A wide variety of wines, beers and specialty cocktails concocted by bartenders from The Thirsty Duck and Jackson’s are available.
Bar tables and stools can seat up to 100 people in two rooms, Eldridge said, and The Thirsty Duck draws from Tosa, Brookfield, West Allis and New Berlin. Roughly half of all customers are regulars, he said.
Families with children dominate The Thirsty Duck before 9 p.m. for bowling, but the crowd changes after that.
“We have leagues two to three nights a week,” he said, “and a lot of special events.”
ADDRESS: 11320 W. Bluemound Road, Wauwatosa
RESERVATIONS: Recommended for bowling, 855-653-2695; if you need to cancel a lane, you must do so within 24 hours or you will be responsible for the costs.
PHONE: 855-653-2695 (855-MKE-BOWL)
EMAIL: for events: email@example.com; for league information: firstname.lastname@example.org
FARE: Thirsty Duck serves gourmet pizzas, like the Granch, with grilled chicken, Applewood bacon, caramelized onion, garlic ranch sauce and Parmesan cheese; sandwiches, including the Porky Pig made with a grilled pork chop, mozzarella and fried onions on a focaccia roll; burgers; soups and salads; and appetizers, including frickles, deep-fried pickles served with a jalapeno ranch dipping sauce.
PRICE RANGE: Pizzas start at $13 for a 12-inch Personal Masterpiece, which comes with red sauce and cheese and lets you choose toppings that include Italian sausage, pepperoni, bacon, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, black olives, green peppers and jalapenos. Burgers and sandwiches range in price from $8 for a brat served on a pretzel bun with sauerkraut, onions, mushrooms or jalapenos, to $11 for the brisket sandwich topped with cheese curds, jalapeno aioli and a side of BBQ sauce.
HOURS: 3 p.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday; 11 a.m. to 12 a.m. Sunday