Bringin' the Burgers

new burger joint comes to Eau Claire’s east side

Brent Widmark, photos by Andrea Paulseth |

If you are ever in the mood to watch a game, hear live music, and eat six cheeseburgers all at once, all inside one bun, head into Eau Claire’s newest restaurant, Milwaukee Burger Company.

Kent Letnes, 26, opened the restaurant in late October at 2620 E Clairemont Ave. Letnes, who also co-owns Grizzly’s, the former occupant of that address, self-classifies as a “burger and beer kind of guy” and wanted to open a restaurant where others just like him could get a “really good burger at a reasonable price.”

The prices are reasonable and the burgers are good, but even Letnes acknowledges, with a smirk, that two of their menu’s items are “a little socially irresponsible.” The Big Milwaukee contains six 1/3-pound beef patties stacked on top of each other, layered with cheese, and jammed into one bun. Eat it in less than 30 minutes and earn yourself half off your meal and a t-shirt. And maybe a two-hour nap and some meat sweats. General Manager Julie Kolk says it has been done 30 times in the past two weeks and once in just four minutes.

The Big Milwaukee’s counterpart is The Defibrillator, a one-pound patty topped with everything you have ever seen put on a burger in your life – including two of their golf ball sized deep fried cheese curds.

Holding gluttony in such high esteem might not separate the Milwaukee Burger Company from other burger joints in Wisconsin, though it would be difficult to match them, but Letnes says the way they make their burgers does set them apart.

“Our burgers are better,” he said. “We bake our own buns, buy fresh Angus, hand make our patties, and hand cut our French fries.”

    The “burger and beer kind of guy” sentiment is one that runs through the restaurant. It is a casual sports bar as much for college students, and those who wish they still were, as it is for families. It has all the sports bar requisites: Big Buck Hunter, Golden Tee, dart boards, and neon beer signs. There are eight televisions spread throughout the remodeled building so you will never miss a snap, a pitch, or a shot.

Kolk says business has been “way better than expected. It has continuously grown since the day we opened.” Maybe burger and beer guys, like Letnes, who created the menu, gravitate to their own.

Kolk created an original drink menu that has a smattering of unique concoctions, including the Beergarita, a 22 ounce margarita with a Corona tipped upside and submerged in the drink. Lift the bottle up a little to let more beer out. It’s a physics lesson and drinking experience all in one. If you don’t like beer and tequila, you can try beer and vodka in The Concussion, a shot of their secret blend of vodka swimming in Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Get a deal on the Beergarita and tacos from their Tex-Mex menu on Thursday nights, which also, starting soon, will be karaoke night. On Saturdays you can get a free Jell-O shot whenever the Badgers score and check out live music at night. Free Jell-O shots also come with Packers scores and on Sundays you can create your own Bloody Mary at the Bloody Mary bar.

If you do not need more than a pound of beef or your beer dumped upside down in tequila, create your own burger, or substitute chicken for beef, and order one of the Wisconsin made beers sitting behind the bar.

And leave your Schlitz at home in the fridge because they have it on tap.