There are some foods that are undeniably Wisconsin. These are the things you can only get here and that folks who have the misfortune of moving crave when they’re living elsewhere. It’s the the stuff our ancestors made, the stuff we’re famous for and the products we produce right here at home. These are the restaurants that capture the taste and flavor of Wisconsin. They serve up some of the very best local foods and have perfected some of the dishes that make Wisconsin famous. These are the places you take out of towners and they’re local favorites.
1. The Old Fashioned - Madison
First and foremost, order the cheese curds. They're some of the best in the state. Then there's the beer cheese soup, the summer sausage and cheese platter, Rushing Waters trout, grilled cheese, burgers and more. This place is Wisconsin distilled into one delicious spot.
Located at 23 N Pinckney St. #1, Madison, WI 53703.
2. The Butterfly Club - Beloit
No discussion of Wisconsin dining would be complete without mentioning supper clubs and this spot is one of the oldest and best. There's a reason they've stayed around for more than 90 years. Whether it's steak, fish fry, prime rib or just the drinks that pull you in, you'll love this fabulous dining experience. Located at 5246 E County Rd X, Beloit, WI 53511.
3. Baumgartner's - Monroe
If you're looking for cheese, you head to Monroe. Green County is home to so many cheesemakers and Baumgartner's stocks them all. The fare here is simple, but that's to let the cheese shine. It's one of the only places you'll find a Limburger sandwich, served with a mint right on top. Located at 1023 16th Ave., Monroe, WI 53566.
4. North Star Homestead Farms - Hayward
Sure, you can find farm-to-table most anywhere, but it means something when the farm is right out back. With our abundance of crops and livestock, we have access to some of the freshest food out there. These folks have a creamery right on site, do a ton of their own gardening and generally serve you the freshest food you can imagine.
Located at 11077 Fullington Rd., Hayward, WI 54843.
5. Kegel's Inn - West Allis
Everyone has a favorite fish fry, but Kegel's is a Milwaukee-area institution and in addition to a stellar Friday offering, they have some of the old German favorites many of us remember our grandparents making. Whether you're here for the potato pancakes or the schnitzel, you won't be disappointed. A new generation of the family is in charge and keeps bringing new and interesting updates to the place without changing too much about what makes it great. Located at 5901 W National Ave., West Allis, WI 53214.
6. The Brat Stop - Kenosha
Most of us have our own personal favorite way to enjoy a brat, but if you're jonesing for cased meats or want somewhere to take visitors, you can't beat The Brat Stop. This sprawling spot is conveniently located near the Mars Cheese Castle and a Woodman's, where you can stock up on New Glarus, so it's basically the perfect just-over-the-border spot. Located at 12304 75th St., Kenosha, WI 53142.
7. Pigeon River Brewing Company - Osseo
You couldn't have a list about iconic Wisconsin eating without including a brewery. Pigeon River makes the list because they do amazing things with their beer incorporated into the menu, including a tasty and crispy beer pizza crust.
Located at 9182, 1103 N Main St., Marion, WI 54950.
8. Mihm's Charcoal Grill - Menasha
When you've got a lot of cows and a lot of dairy, it seems like the butter burger is really just an obvious eventuality. We love our butter so much we tried to outlaw margarine. So it makes sense that we put our favorite product on a burger to make a melty, rich, delicious Wisconsin staple. Everything about it sounds wrong, but it's just so, so right. Cooked over charcoal to get a smokiness and then topped with fried onions, cheese and more butter, this burger is about as iconic as Wisconsin food gets.
Located at 342 Chute St., Menasha, WI 54952.
9. Farm Table - Amery
I love recommending this spot to folks because people think great food can only come from the cities. You'll find the providers right up on the wall and when they say locally sourced, they mean within miles, not states. Located at 110 Keller Ave. N, Amery, WI 54001.
10. Kopps's Custard - Milwaukee
When it comes to frozen custard, you can't go wrong with Kopp's. Add in one of their delicious butter burgers and you've got a Wisconsin meal treat for a reasonable price. It's creamy, delicious and oh-so-wonderful and totally Wisconsin.
Three Milwaukee-area locations: 18880 W Bluemound Rd., Brookfield, WI 53045, 7631 W Layton Ave., Greenfield, WI 53220, and 5373 N Port Washington Rd., Glendale, WI 53217.
11. Joe Jo's Pizza - Ephraim
Wisconsin pizza is cracker-thin and cut into squares. It's the stuff they used to serve up in the pub to keep you drinking and it's all ours. You'll find a great example up in Door County where they keep the sauce flavorful, but not overpowering and you get that delightful snap on the crust.
Located at 10420 Wisconsin 42, Ephraim, WI 54234.
What places are your favorite to get the best of Wisconsin dining? Let us know in the comments!