Living in Wisconsin means having some of the finest selection of produce and cuisine right at our fingertips. Nowhere is that more apparent than neighborhood restaurants, which create masterpieces from local ingredients and flavors. Even so, you might be surprised by how many places get overlooked due to their location or unassuming appearance. So next time you pass by any of these hole-in-the-wall spots, you will be doing yourself a huge favor to step inside and see what’s cooking.
1. India Bhavan (Green Bay)
For authentic Indian cuisine, you'll definitely want to give India Bhavan a try. Full of flavor, all entrees are made from scratch and will not disappoint. For starters, be sure to get an order of naan filled with lamb. Location: 2611 Holmgren Way, Green Bay, WI 54304.
2. Banzo (Madison)
Don't be fooled by the fact that Banzo is a food truck; this spot has some of the best falafels in town. All Mediterranean cuisine is freshly prepared and is sure to hit the spot for an on-the-go lunch or dinner. Especially good are the condiments, fresh-made tahini and excellent hummus. Location: 2105 Sherman Ave
Madison, WI 53704.
3. Mickey-Lu-Bar-B-Q (Marinette)
If you've got an appetite, there's nothing that hits the spot quite like a homemade burger and malt. Despite its advertisement for bar-b-q, the charcoal cheeseburger is what you'll want to order when you stop by Mickey-Lu's. Photographed above is the double cheeseburger and butterscotch malt. You can expect speedy service here, too. Location: 1710 Marinette Ave
Marinette, WI 54143.
4. Wendt's On The Lake (Van Dyne)
Wendt's On The Lake is the place to go if you're looking for unbeatable seafood and a little comfort food, too. Set right on the lake, the outdoor seating is beautiful. Some popular orders here include the perch and shrimp. This spot is no secret among locals, so be prepared for a little bit of a crowd and possibly a wait. Address: N9699 Lakeshore Dr. Van Dyne, WI 54979.
5. Hup's Pizza (Milwaukee)
No food list is complete without a fantastic pizza joint, and Hup's Pizza is one of the best. This hole-in-the-wall joint delivers on well made pies that don't waste time with superfluous ingredients. If you're especially hungry, be sure to get an order of the garlic bread, too. Address: 5400 W Hampton Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53218.
6. The Coffee Pot (Kenosha)
The Coffee Pot is a charming and authentic diner with a breakfast that'll make you feel great all day long. Whether you decide to order the homemade corned beef hash or the herbivore omelette (photographed above), you won't be disappointed. Be sure to bring cash, as this spot doesn't accept credit cards. Location: 4914 7th Ave., Kenosha, WI 53140.
7. Waupaca Woods Restaurant (Waupaca)
Waupaca Woods Restaurant serves Wisconsin food at its finest. This includes phenomenal cheese curds, seafood dishes, and more. Portions are hearty and healthy, and you won't walk away from this place with an empty stomach. Tucked away in a strip-mall, this place is a true gem. Location: 815 W Fulton St., Ste 1 Waupaca, WI 54981.
8. Sophia's (Madison)
Is there anything better than discovering a cozy bakery? Sophia's Bakery & Cafe is just that, a local find that offers some of the best sweets you could hope for. For breakfast and brunch, you won't be able to beat the cottage cheese pancakes or banana nut waffles. It's a great lunch spot, too, with favorites including black bean tacos. Location: 831 E Johnson St., Ste 4
Madison, WI 53703.
9. Basil Cafe (Appleton)
Basil Cafe is an upscale Thai restaurant with a beautiful ambiance and seriously delicious cuisine. All entree items are freshly prepared and the pho is one of the most popular items ordered. Other tasty options include the pad thai and crab rangoon. Address: 1513 N Richmond St. Appleton, WI 54911.
10. Fat Sams (La Crosse)
Fat Sams is the sandwich place you might not have even realized you were missing out on. This casual spot knows how to make a mean BLT (as shown above), as well as other unique creations. Ingredients are fresh and service is speedy enough to make for a quick lunch. Address: 412 Main St. La Crosse, WI 54601.
11. Hiawatha Restaurant & Lounge (Wausau)
Hiawatha Restaurant is one of the area's best kept secrets. It's a cozy spot that serves a little bit of everything, from fabulous Sunday bruch, to ribs, and incredible fish tacos. You can expect this spot to be crowded, especially on the weekends. Address: 713 Grant St. Wausau, WI 54403.