Evolution Gastro Pong

'Tis always fun when you can combine a good meal with a fun activity. You can always go to a bowling alley or pool hall for a some fun and drinks, but often the food options are not the best. You can go to a restaurant with upgraded casual fare, but there's nothing to do but eat. On a recent trip to Milwaukee, we visited Evolution Gastro Pong, a cool spot in the trendy Historic Third Ward area that offers good food and fun.

This was the first stop on our trip and really it couldn't have been planned better. After a couple hours in the car with four kids, they needed something to do beyond sitting in a chair for a couple more hours at a restaurant. We got there early on a Saturday when the place was very quiet. We were seated and the kids excitedly referencing the movie "Balls of Fury," grabbed some paddles and started playing.

I poked around at the private rooms, which are off on one side and I'm sure provide a great space for a birthday party, bachelor party or other event.

Everyone ordered something different, so I got to try several of their menus items, starting with fried cheese curds. Can't go to Wisconsin and not have those. It's been a while since I've had them, so I savored every bite of those awesome little morsels.

Among the other dishes, were a couple of the cheeseburgers, a pulled pork, a cordon bleu burger, an EVO Reuben and I couldn't resist the bacon mac and cheese on that brutally cold winter day. Very comforting and satisfying. I loved that the side options included not just fries, but also tater tots or sweet potato fries or cole slaw.  I loved the sweet potato fries, which were dusted with a little brown sugar. The menu also includes soup, salad, some scrumptious sounding pizzas, wraps and a sizable starter/appetizer menu so that you can munch in between your rounds of ping pong.

Evolution Gastro Pong Milwaukee has been around for about 5 years and rebranded about a year ago.  After 9 p.m. it becomes a 21 and over destination, but during the day it was completely family friendly and the crowd spanned decades, from young kids up to seniors. If you are planning a Milwaukee trip with kids, I would definitely add this to the itinerary. Even if you are just planning to drive through Milwaukee en route to another destination, this is an awesome spot to take a break, stretch your legs, grab a bite and unwind while the kids do something requiring physical activity to wipe them out for the rest of the road trip.

On a dreary and very cold single digit day, it was a great place for the kids to expend some energy. Tables can be rented by the half-hour. Cost is $24 an hour after 6 p.m. and $16 hour/$8 half hour before 6 p.m. On Sunday, ping pong rental is half-off all day. Reservations are suggested on Friday and Saturdays, but walk-ins are accepted. The venue has 12 tables.

EVO Milwaukee Gastro Pong 
233 E. Chicago Street
Milwaukee, WI