By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Jun 04, 2024 at 11:02 AM

Last month we shared the news that North Avenue Market, 5900 W. North Ave., was making big changes, including adding a full-service Southern restaurant to their ground floor space and converting the ground floor into a rentable event space.

Well, the time has come to officially welcome Christopher’s Southern Restaurant & Bar, which opens at full throttle today at 4 p.m.

North Avenue Market - exterior in 2024X

In fact, this week is the perfect time to check out the new West Side Restaurant. After all, they are having a week-long open house with 20% off all food purchases, plus access to their regular specials like Happy Hour ($1 off beer and wine and $2 off cocktails Tuesday through Saturday from 4 to 7 p.m. or noon to 9 p.m. on Sundays), live music on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings (no cover) and karaoke on Sundays.

Guests can also enjoy a full complement of expertly crafted cocktails, beer and wine at Christopher’s Bar, operated by the folks at Bittercube. New offerings include alcoholic slushie versions of a Wisconsin Old Fashioned, Hurricane and Arnold Palmer.

Beer and slushies at barX

About Christopher's

Christopher’s Southern Restaurant & Bar is operated by North Avenue Market Founder Chris Harris Morse along with Chef and General Manager Michael Pyle-Harris, Assistant Manager Evan Gritzon and Jamie Fisher, who leads operations in the restaurant kitchen.

Pyle-Harris is a Virginia native who started working in the restaurant industry while he attended college. Through the years, he says he worked his way through positions in both front and back of house. In 1998, he and a business partner purchased a successful restaurant in Ashland, Virginia called The Smokey Pig, which they operated for 10 years until the stock market crash in 2008 took a devastating toll on the local economy. Ten years later, he found himself in Milwaukee. Initially, he moved to the Cream City for a job opportunity and loved the city so much he decided to call it home.

“Some of the recipes we are using at Christophers are from The Smokey Pig,” notes Pyle-Harris. “Others are family recipes. Chris [Harris Morse] grew up in North Carolina, so his experience has influenced some of the recipes. Others are originals that we’ve created.”

“Everything we serve at Christopher’s is made from scratch,” Pyle-Harris adds. “Jamie [Fisher] curated the recipes for many of the sauces and Evan [Gritzon] is our resident vegan, so he has assisted us in developing all of the plant-based recipes on the menu.”

Evan Gritzon, Michael Pyle-Harris and Jamie Fisher
Evan Gritzon, Michael Pyle-Harris and Jamie Fisher (left to right)


Christopher’s menu of starters reads like an all-star list of Southern snacks with options like Southern style deviled eggs with bacon and chives ($10); hand-battered, deep fried pickle chips ($10); and fried green tomatoes served with housemade remoulade ($12). And yes, since it’s Wisconsin, there are also deep fried cheese curds ($12).

Guests can also order Christopher’s signature wings, which are seasoned, char-grilled, sauced with a choice of BBQ or Buffalo sauce or dry rub, and served with the usual accompaniments (celery, carrots and a choice of blue cheese or ranch dressing), $14.  Guests who would prefer not to eat meat can order Christopher’s vegan wings, made with tofu and prepared in a nearly identical fashion ($14).

Guests order food at the bar during happy hour.
Guests order food at the bar during happy hour.

Another Southern favorite - hushpuppies – are a stand-out. The slightly sweet cornmeal-based snacks are crisp on the outside and fluffy and tender on the inside. And they’re served with housemade pimiento cheese flecked with jalapeno peppers, $10. It’s a perfect match.


On the sandwich side, guests can choose from a fairly large selection of options, each served with a choice of sides (cheesy grits, coleslaw, collard greens, green beans, french fries, potato salad, mac & cheese, bourbon roasted sweet potatoes or salad).

Options include a classic smash-style burger featuring a quarter-pound beef patty, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, onions and house burger sauce ($16); and a slightly spicy Shrimp Po’Boy featuring fried shrimp, lettuce, tomato and cajun remoulade on a French roll ($18).

Meanwhile the BLFGT offers a Southern-style upgrade to the usual BLT. Texas toast is layered with bacon, lettuce, fried green tomatoes and mayo, creating a sandwich that’s both tasty and more textural than your average BLT ($13).


Their BBQ Chicken Sandwich features sweet and tangy BBQ grilled chicken breast topped with pickles and house coleslaw on a French roll ($16).

Oh! And a first taste of their vegan Chicken Fried Tofu Sandwich ($16) – which features firm pickle-brined, battered and fried tofu topped with lettuce, tomato, pickles and plant-based cajun mayo – was enough to make me eager to return for an entire sandwich.


Entrees are served with two hushpuppies and guests’ choice of one or two sides including cheesy grits, coleslaw, collard greens, green beans, french fries, potato salad, mac & cheese, bourbon roasted sweet potatoes or salad.

They include options like vegan gumbo, an all-vegetable take on the classic (red beans, vegan andouille sausage, okra and bell peppers served over rice pilaf with crispy tofu, $19) which is fully Gritzon-approved. “I’ve never had anything like it,” he says, “It’s good.”

There’s also a well-priced BBQ Pork Chop. The 10-ounce bone-in pork chop is char-grilled and glazed with house BBQ sauce. Here it’s pictured with sides of spicy collard greens and macaroni and cheese ($16).

BBQ Pork chopX

There is also hand-battered fried chicken (breast, thigh, leg, wing, $22) and homestyle meatloaf featuring seasoned ground beef, bacon, red peppers and onions, roasted and covered in brown gravy ($17).

Guests can also order seafood selections including Fried Catfish Dinner featuring catfish dredged in Jamie’s seasoned cornmeal batter, fried and served with coleslaw and a lemon wedge ($19); Salmon Cake featuring a pan-seared salmon patty made with fresh salmon, roasted red peppers and onions ($18); and Christopher's take on Shrimp & Grits featuring jumbo shrimp seared in a bacon and butter reduction with bell peppers and onions and served over cheesy grits ($19). 

Christopher’s will also showcase one or two desserts, plus rotating specials. Among them is the Southern staple: banana pudding. And, if you’re a fan, this is one to try. It features housemade pudding layered with vanilla wafters and fresh bananas. What sets it apart is its topping of baked meringue infused with Bittercube’s Cherry Bark Vanilla Bitters ($8).

Banana puddingX

Christopher’s is open Tuesday and Wednesday from 4 to 9 p.m., Thursday 4 to 10 p.m., Friday 4 to 11 p.m., Saturday noon to 11 p.m. and, Sunday noon to 9 p.m. 

Keep up with their schedule of live music, entertainment and karaoke by following them on Facebook!

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.