John Ernst Cafe
We often mention that our Oak & Shield Gaming Pub is proudly located in the old John Ernst Cafe building, but does that name mean anything to those folks who didn’t grow up hearing the name—or who never had a chance to visit the old restaurant?
The cafe opened in 1878 under the name Mother Heiser’s Place. (For reference, this was the same year that Thomas Edison patented the phonograph…) John Ernst and his family had a huge influence in elevating Heiser’s to a beloved, quality local establishment, and they were given command in 1938. Over time, it became a legendary local landmark, alongside the likes of Mader’s and Karl Ratzch’s. Former Mayor Henry Maier was a frequent patron. When it closed in 2001, John Ernst was Milwaukee’s oldest restaurant.
We’re humbled and honored to have the John Ernst cafe door (and what a beast of a door it is) looking over our dining room.
You can actually check out the old John Ernst menu, from which I may or may not have gleaned most of this quick history, here: http://ciadigitalcollections.culinary.edu/digital/collection/p16940coll1/id/9401/