With so many great restaurants in the state, it’s never easy to decide where to head when you go out for a meal. These Wisconsin restaurants all have decades of history in their menus, ownership and buildings. Settle in for a meal at some of the oldest and most iconic restaurants in Wisconsin and find out how they’ve managed to keep hungry Wisconsinites fed and happy for decades.
In no particular order, here are some of the oldest, most interesting restaurants serving some of the most delicious food in Wisconsin.
1. Jack Pandl's Whitefish Bay Inn - Whitefish Bay
Built in 1915, the building is virtually unchanged from when it was opened. A Milwaukee County Landmark, it used to serve city-dwellers who head to the rural north for a relaxing day trip.
Still owned by the same family that opened it, Jack Pandl's is a staple of Milwaukee North Shore dining.
Located at 1319 E Henry Clay St, Whitefish Bay, WI 53217.
2. Wilmot Stage Shop - Wilmot
Though it is currently closed, it re-opens in January 2017. First opened as an inn in 1848, the building was a stagecoach stop.
Now in its seventh generation of family ownership, the building has been remodeled to be updated while respecting the history.
Located at 30646 113th St, Wilmot, WI 53192.
3. Wonder Bar Steakhouse - Madison
Opened in 1929, the Wonder Bar has an eclectic and interesting past leading back to Prohibition and the mafia.
The place has changed hands - and names - a few times, but you'll always find amazing steak and a lot of history at Wonder Bar.
Located at 222 E Olin Ave, Madison, WI 53713.
4. Turner Hall of Monroe - Monroe
The first Turner Hall was built here in 1868. It was rebuilt after a fire and the current building was finished in 1938.
Large numbers of Swiss immigrants settled in this area and the hall was a place to gather and share meals. This is believed to be the last standing Swiss Turner Hall in the country. It's on the National and State Historic Registers.
Located at 1217 17th Ave, Monroe, WI 53566.
5. Old 10 Bistro - Steven's Point
Formerly the Red Mill Supper Club and now under new ownership, this new Bistro extends the history of what was just a county bar when it opened in the 1930s.
Featuring an updated farm-to-table menu in the same historic building, Old 10 Bistro helps the story of this place live on.
Located at 1222 County Road HH West, Stevens Point, WI 54481.
6. The Historic Trempealeau Hotel - Trempeleau
The hotel was established in 1871 and was one of the few buildings to survive a massive fire in 1888.
The restaurant is closed from Jan 2 - Feb 9, 2017 for a staff break, but you can plan to head there in the new year.
Located at 150 Main St, Trempealeau, WI 54661.
7. Mader's - Milwaukee
Charles Mader opened his first small restaurant in 1902 and called it "The Comfort."
With the help of Prohibition, that establishment eventually became Mader's, a restaurant synonymous with Milwaukee.
Located at 1041 N Old World 3rd St, Milwaukee, WI 53203.
8. Union House Hotel - DePere
Family owned since 1918, the building has actually been around since the 19th century.
On the National Register of historic places, the hotel was built in 1883 and has been remodeled several times since.
Part supper club, part steak house, the restaurant at Union House Hotel is exactly the type of comfortable, cozy place you'd expect to find in this historic location.
Located at 200 N Broadway St, De Pere, WI 54115.
9. Schreiner's - Fond du Lac
First opened in 1938 as "The Grill," Schreiner's is a Fond du Lac institution. Now in its fifth location, the restaurant has changed and evolved through the years to keep up with public demand.
The large sign on Hwy 41 is an iconic part of the Wisconsin landscape.
Located at 168 N Pioneer Rd, Fond du Lac, WI 54935.
10. Monk's Bar and Grill - Wisconsin Dells
Serving burgers to vacationing Wisconsinites for almost 70 years, the original menu had just six items on it.
The original owner's sons played football for the Badgers and cemented the decor of Monk's for years to come.
Located at 220 Broadway, Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965.
11. B.J. Wentker's Historic Fine Dining - Burlington
Bernard J. Wentker constructed his first restaurant here in 1894. It was rebuilt in 1908 and stands still to welcome the people of Burlington.
Disguised as an ice cream parlor during Prohibition, B.J. Wentker's features cabinets purchased during the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago and gorgeous tin ceilings.
Located at 230 Milwaukee Ave, Burlington, WI 53105.
12. Kurtz's Pub and Deli - Two Rivers
Established in 1904, the current owners are in their third generation of running the restaurant.
From simple sandwiches to German specialities and a ton of European beers on tap, Kurtz's is also where Two Rivers celebrates Oktoberfest.
Located at 1410 Washington St, Two Rivers, WI 54241.
13. Red Circle Inn - Nashotah
Wisconsin's oldest restaurant, it's located just on the far stretch of the current Milwaukee western suburbs.
Since 1848, city folks have escaped the bustle of life in Nashotah and Red Circle Inn has been providing the meals to keep them satisfied.
Located at N44W33013 Watertown Plank Rd, Nashotah, WI 53058.
14. Karl Ratzsch's - Milwaukee
Opened in 1904 as Hermann's Cafe, Karl Ratzsch's was recently purchased by well-known local chef Thomas Hauck.
Updating the building and the menu while keeping the history, Karl Ratzsch's is ready for its second century serving authentic German cuisine to the people of Milwaukee.
Located at 320 E Mason St, Milwaukee, WI 53233.
Have you eaten at any of these historic Wisconsin restaurants? Where else have you gone that has a side helping of history to go with your meal?
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