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Wisconsin Parent

Milwaukee: Potawatomi Hotel Casino

Jan 19, 2015 06:50PM ● By Julie Henning
My first experience with what is now the Potawatomi Hotel and Casino was in 1995. A freshman at the Milwaukee School of Engineering–and in the position of being too young to hang out on Water Street–the 40,000 square foot Bingo Hall was a fun place for a group of friends to pass a Friday night. And while you can still find colorful ink daubers and lucky trolls lining the long rows of banquet style tables, many things have changed at Potawatomi in the past two decades.To begin, the property opened a 19-story destination hotel in October 2014. With 365 rooms and 16 suites, the Potawatomi Hotel is the current home to the most expensive hotel room in the city of Milwaukee—a 3,000 square foot Presidential Suite featuring an 800 square foot outdoor patio, seven flat-screen TV's, and a Kohler Abrazo oval-shaped freestanding bath tub. PresidentialSuiteA recent guest of the hotel in a standard two queen suite, views of the city skyline from the 19-foot tall vaulted ceiling on the 19th floor are breathtaking both day and night. All of the rooms feature floor-to-ceiling windows, Beautyrest beds, Kohler bathroom fixtures, and modern bedding and decor. With the longest possible elevator ride, I had time to observe the music is soothing on the way up and exciting on your way down to the Casino floor. Worth noting is the 4th floor workout facility that is on par with many 24/hour gyms I've frequented over the years.

MorningDrawing an average of 16,000 visitors/day and 6 million visitors/year, the Potawatomi Casino sits in the top spot as the most popular destination in the entire state of Wisconsin. The complex is open 24/7/365 and construction is well under way for a third parking structure. If you're visiting from out of the area, or just want to have a good time and not worry about driving home, staying overnight at the new hotel is a fabulously convenient way to make the most of your stay. And, when you get hungry, you don't even have to leave the building to forage for a decent meal. Dream_DanceDuring my stay, I dined at two of the seven on-site restaurants located throughout the complex. The first, Dream Dance Steak, is the property's signature restaurant. Ranked by the Journal Sentinel as one of the Top 30 Restaurants in the city of Milwaukee, people come to Dream Dance Steak for the surf and turf.

Open Tuesday through Thursday from 5PM - 9PM and Friday and Saturday from 5PM - 10PM, Dream Dance Steak offers fine dining without a pretentious feel; meaning there isn't a formal dress code and the resident sommelier has worked hard to make a glass of wine affordable for everyone.

A lovely venue for a special occasion like an anniversary or night away from the kids, Dream Dance Steak also has a Chef's table located in the kitchen (and is truly a unique dining experience). My favorite appetizer used ingredients sourced from Growing Power, Milwaukee's urban farm that kicked off a nationwide Good Food Movement. Tip: While everyone loves the surf and turf for good reason, Chef Matt Baier specializes in pork. Trust me on this one.

Locavore copyOn par with Dream Dance Steak is Locavore located just off the Hotel lobby. Serving brunch until 2PM every day, Locavore sources as much food from within Wisconsin and the Midwest as possible. I enjoyed several cups of delicious coffee, fresh-squeezed orange juice, and the Santa Fe breakfast skillet (two eggs your way, shredded pork, applewood-smoked bacon, Carr Valley 2-year aged cheddar, onion, poblano sauce, and country potatoes for $12). My meal also came with homemade raspberry jam and Nordic hand rolled butter with sea salt from Wesby, Wisconsin. I would go back just for the butter. And as a bonus, the restaurant is smoke-free and the wait staff is both knowledgeable and Wisconsin friendly.

Beyond the swank hotel and foodie friendly meals, I did find time to gamble. All in all, Potawatomi Casino encompasses 150,000 square feet of slots, table games, bingo, and off-track betting. After cashing out my $0.05 profit from the penny slots, I gladly joined the groupies congregating for the Blue Oyster Cult show at the Northern Lights Theater—a 500-seat, two-story theater that has brought in both local and national entertainment acts. What can I say, the only thing to cure a fever like that is more cowbell!

RealCasinoComing full circle, the night ended with a round of bingo in the 1,350 seat Bingo Hall. Now available in paper format and on digital devices, Potatatomi Bingo still offers some of the biggest jackpots in the entire state.

BYO lucky troll!