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The History of Milwaukee's Brady Street

By Derek Reilly on Jul 8, 2022 12:00 AM

Brady Street is one of Milwaukee’s most widely known streets, located on the city's lower east side. While it was initially settled by German, Irish and Polish immigrants, Brady Street later became home to Milwaukee’s Italian community. Some of Brady’s early Italian businesses still call it home.

Glorioso’s Italian Market arrived at Brady St in 1946 and is currently located at 1011 E Brady St. It includes multiple large deli sections, made-to-order food with sit-down areas, and grocery. Here is a photograph of a man working behind the deli counter at Glorioso’s in 1976.

Below is a photo of two bakers from Sciortino's Bakery posing beside several trays of bread. Sciortino's opened in 1947 and offers homemade bread, specialty cookies, and Italian pastries. The bakery currently operates at 1101 E Brady St.

See more photos of Brady Street in the 1970s via Milwaukee Public Library's CETA Arts Program Photographs collection.

The Italian restaurant Mimma’s Café opened in 1989 and was operated by Girolama "Mimma" Megna during its entire run until it closed in 2017. Revisit its menu in the library's Historic Menus Collection.

Brady Street is also home to one of Milwaukee’s largest street festivals: the Brady Street Festival! The festival has been shuttered throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and will return on July 30, 2022 for the first time since 2019! The first-ever Brady Street Festival [pictured below] was held on June 10th, 1973. 

See more photos in the library's Historic Photo Collection.

Brady Street is also home to art walks, thriving businesses (such as bars, restaurants, clothing stores, and more), and also the annual Pet Parade.

Discover more about Brady Street through books in the library's collection:

Milwaukee's Brady Street Neighborhood by Frank D. Alioto.

Spaces and Traces: Brady Street & Beyond by Historic Milwaukee, Inc.

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