With culinary and restaurant revolutions happening in our cities and access to the freshest vegetables, dairy and protein, there’s never been a better time to eat in Wisconsin. From James Beard nominated chefs and restaurants to pizza on a blanket at a farm, the opportunities for wonderful meals in Wisconsin are endless.
Here are 15 of the most unusual, interesting, unique and delicious restaurants we featured in 2016 that you’ll want to add to your “to-do” list in 2017.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life. While we continue to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, please take proper precautions or add them to your bucket list to see at a later date. If you know of a local business that could use some extra support during these times, please nominate them here:
Delta Diner - Delta
Located in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, this place feels like a perfectly preserved mid-century diner. The food is simple, but hearty and delicious. And in the winter, you'll find most patrons arrive by snowmobile. 14385 County Highway H, Delta, WI 54856
The Outsider - Milwaukee
The Outsider, the rooftop bar on the new Kimpton hotel in the Third Ward has some of the best views of any restaurant in the state. From the funky architecture of the Ward to the skyscrapers downtown and the lakefront, you won't know where to look as you enjoy the outdoors and the sunset. Located at 310 East Chicago Street, 9th Floor, Milwaukee, WI 53202.
Cedar Crest Ice Cream Parlor - Manitowoc
Cedar Crest is a huge company, but they still make their 80 flavors in small batches. There's nothing better than fresh from the factory ice cream.
Located at 2000 S 10th St, Manitowoc, WI 54220.
Ishnala Supper Club - Lake Delton
We Wisconsinites love a supper club and there might not be a better one anywhere in the state. Ishnala combines all the things you want in a supper club with a one-of-a-kind location. In the middle of Mirror Lake State Park, you'll feel like you're the only people in the world. Located at S2011 Ishnala Rd, Lake Delton, WI 53940.
The Classic Garage - Eau Claire
This Eau Claire diner is the perfect place to take the gear-head in your life, but everything can enjoy the retro decor, unique food and awesome setting. Located at 2111 3rd St, Eau Claire, WI 54703.
Suncrest Gardens Farm
There's something so soothing and rewarding about dinner at the farm. From gorgeous views to fresh food, a meal like this is hard to top. Located at S2257 Yaeger Valley Rd, Cochrane, WI 54622.
Pizza Doctors - LaCrosse
Modeled on an emergency room and chock full of the most unusually topped pizzas you've ever tried, Pizza Doctors is serving up tastiness and fun. Located at 624 King St, La Crosse, WI 54601.
Mars Cheese Castle - Kenosha
There are a ton of great cheese factories and stores in Wisconsin, but for one-stop-shopping of all that's wonderful about our favorite food, Mars Cheese Castle is the place to be. Their updated location is huge and even includes a bar and cafe. Located at 2800 W Frontage Rd, Kenosha, WI 53144.
Pine Brook Farm - Spooner
A fully operational farm for more than three generations, the new owners restored some of the farm buildings and turned one into a quaint restaurant. Only the freshest local ingredients are combined with a goal of healthy eating in a location that makes you feel like you're visiting relatives. It's a must stop. Located at W4221 County Hwy A, Spooner, WI 54801.
Milwaukee Public Market - Milwaukee
A fabulous market just south of downtown, this place is chock full of office folks during weekday lunches and full of tourists on the weekend. It's rare to find a place that caters to both. There's a coffee shop, a wine bar, and shops selling cheese, chocolate and spices. The wood-fired pizzas, fresh sausages and seafood are reasons even locals trek downtown for this place. Located at 400 N Water St, Milwaukee, WI 53202.
Organ Piper Pizza - Greenfield
Who knows why someone thought to place a real organ in the middle of a pizza place - or why people have responded so well to it - but it works. The pizza is good, the pneumatic organ is better. Located at 4353 S 108th St, Greenfield, WI 53228.
Yellowstone Dairy Bar - Blanchardville
Not too many people venture to southwest Wisconsin, but Yellowstone Dairy Bar is one reason to. Classic butter burgers and of course some of the best ice cream you'll ever taste with gorgeous lake views make this worth the jaunt. Located at 7125 N Lake Rd, Blanchardville, WI 53516.
Choo Choo Charlie's - Kenosha
Little kids and kids at heart love trains and this restaurant in a Metra station has trains coming and going as well as a light-rail stop. It's train themed and the staff is amazing. It's a must-stop. Located at 5414 13th Ave, Kenosha, WI 53140.
A-to-Z Produce and Bakery - Stockholm
Since 1998, this farm on 80 acres has been serving up wood-fired pizza and bread every Tuesday in the warm months. A bit of a trek, but well worth it to try their unique and fresh pizza toppings in an amazing setting. Located at N2956 Anker Ln, Stockholm, WI 54769.
The Safe House - Milwaukee
The Safe House has long been one of Wisconsin's most unique and interesting locations and it's been featured on travel programs far and wide. But if you haven't been there in a while, make plans to visit again soon. New owners have revamped the menu, cleaned up the place and really just embraced the fun and kitsch that is The Safe House. Located at 779 N Front St, Milwaukee, WI 53202.
Have you been to many of these places already? Where else are you adding to your “must-eat” lists for 2017?