BY NICOLE KIEFERT | PHOTO BY DAVID SZYMANSKI
Walk into the historic Waukesha building housing warm and welcoming Taylor’s People’s Park and you are immediately greeted by a funky and amusing art piece that spans the length of the bar and features dolls, figurines and other kitschy items. “Some of those [items] are probably 75 to 100 years old,” explains the installation’s creator Dan Taylor, who owns People’s Park, along with downtown Milwaukee’s Taylors bar, with his brother, Jim Taylor, and sister-in-law, Susie Taylor.
Paintings, portraits and photographs of people adorn the brightly colored walls; along with Dan’s custom piece, they drive home the eatery’s people-centric concept. “I look forward to coming to work every day because I’m surrounded by people who are just individually fantastic,” Dan beams. “There’s just such a great energy. It’s a really rewarding experience — and a lot of our recipes have come from people who have given us [their] recipes.”
One such example is Rosie’s Garden salad, a recipe both from and named after Dan and Jim’s mother. Romaine and baby greens are tossed in a house-made balsamic raspberry vinaigrette and topped with fresh pineapple, mandarin oranges, strawberries and blueberries that provide a burst of refreshing, summery flavors. Roasted pecans add crunch and an element of salt to round out the dish. To make the dish more robust, grilled chicken breast, steak strips, shrimp or salmon pieces can join the mix for a small additional charge.
People’s Park also offers a host of satisfying vegetarian selections, as well as other healthy options like the light yet vibrantly flavorful cucumber, tomato, onion, mozzarella and kalamata olive salad that can swap in for French fries.
Though the inviting atmosphere begs a relaxed and leisurely meal with friends and family, Dan and his staff are proud to offer delicious food made well — and made quickly.
“We love to eat good food, and we want it fast,” Dan explains. “So I think we tried to create a restaurant that had personality and where you could get a higher-end version of fast food. We pride ourselves on having a nice selection of gourmet ‘fast food.’ You get it quickly.”
People’s Park recently hosted a salad recipe competition, calling on patrons to submit their favorite custom salad recipes. The winner, who will be announced May 1, will have their salad added to the menu under the name of their choosing for one year.
“People’s Park really is about the people,” Dan muses. “It really, truly is.”
Taylor’s People’s Park, 337 W. Main St., Waukesha, (262) 522-6868, peoplesparkwaukesha.com MKE