Friday, June 24, 2011

Travel Wisconsin

Eating like a local:
Regional food specialties

-Wisconsin: Good Times & GREAT Eats

Travel Month @chibbqking travels on...Wisconsin. Those in the know and people who follow the site know we like to 'Travel WI' a whole lot. Wanna see for yourself? All you gotta do is click HERE and it will link you to every story posted from Wisco both past and future that has been featured on S'C'&C. You can scroll down and click "older posts" to go thru them all.

On we continue with 'Eating Wisconsin'

So for today's feature I figured lets travel around the entire state and get some of these places I've been to on my travels out there for others to explore and eat at. I am a born and raised Chicago boy 'til death does me in. Chicago is the best city out there. But my favorite state just might be Wisconsin. It became a quick summertime hobby for me to scoot around the state and take in the great views, lifestyle and what I came to learn was one of the best eating and drinking places anywhere. Lets take a picture trip around the state. Shall we? We'll start in Kenosha and Racine and work our way up to the Bayfield and Lake Superior region of the state.

The Kenosha/Racine area is my favorite Chicago Suburb

Since we have many regular readers from Chicago do let me tell you that Kenosha and Racine are great day and or one night and wkd trips whether you do or don't have kids, they got sumtin' for everyone. You can do some shopping at the Outlet Mall or take the family on a tour of the Jelly Belly factory or maybe you just want to rest and relax and enjoy a day on some sand by the lake with the sun, theres something for everyone. As we 'Travel WI' here today I'm going to show you why I love to make my way around the great eating state.

The Spot Drive In featured in the 'Burgers of WI' seen HERE

The Kenosha area is a hot bed for good 'roadfood' eats. Part of the allure is that many of it's most popular places haven't changed. They still have an old Drive In Theater that's in full operation during summer as well as quite a few old school Drive In's. I like to get out there and explore and have featured many of their places and have many more yet to be posted.

also seen on 'The Burgers of WI' tour. Click HERE.

It's also a great area for old school Italian foods both restaurants, shops and delis. Real Chicago style pizza is cracker thin cut in squares made with real Italian sausage aka tavern style. This is what those who grew up in Chicago grew up on, not the touristy deep dish. Well let me tell you something, from Kenosha and Racine up into Milwaukee and even a few places beyond, Wisconsin has some great 'tavern style Midwest thin' pizza places. In fact I think the best pizza in the world is served in Racine and I'm not ashamed to say this. We have plenty of places in Chicago right on par with Well's Brothers but there's just something about that place and it's pizza.

Kenosha's Italian American Club

a chibbqking all time favorite for it's pizza. Click HERE.

Kewpee's in Racine, one of the last remaining ft in 'The Burgers of WI'

Kenosha/Racine has some great old time bakeries

Many fun five minute stops thru WI (click pics to enhance)

Kenosha Lighthouse

Standing Room Only (Kenosha)

a popular locals place

Chili cheese dog from SRO...desert time

The Pie Guy's Homemade Pie's (Lake Geneva)

Found between Kenosha and Lake Geneva on Highway 50

The Pie Guy's homemade pies are some of the best in a state with so many...

Sno Days Shaved Ice (Williams Bay)

Located in a parking lot across the street from the local lake...

...perfect on a hot summer day

Beautiful Architectural Buildings found throughout the State

The Cap Building in Madison

Along Great River Road, the areas first schoolhouse

G. Heilmann Brewing Company. La Crosse, WI.

Many old banks original buildings are still around

Milwaukee is filled with old architectural gems

Old Pabst Brewery

Pabst Theatre

Kind of tiring checking out all those buildings out huh? Lets get some food. Milwaukee is what I consider to be one of the most underrated cities in all of America. I love going up there. It reminds me of Chicago in the 80's and early 90's with so many locally owned places still doing it up right. They call Chicago the "city of neighborhoods" and I call Milwaukee the city "that's one big neighborhood melting pot" there are so many cultures represented there and they all bring their best when it comes to food and beer.The World's largest outdoor music festival aka Summerfest is going on now. Great times along the lake.

Pig's roasting away at Milwaukee's annual Germanfest. Click HERE.

Housemade fresh pretzel from Mader's in Milwaukee

Taqueria Arandas Taco Truck (Milwaukee)

Found roaming the streets of Milwaukee's Mexican neighborhoods

The tripas and barbacoa tacos were excellent

The chitling tacos (tripas) are sumtin' I'm now on the prowl for in Chi

Another one of my favorite places to stay at for a weekend is my former stomping grounds of Madison. It's a great college town with so much more to offer. It's also the perfect hub where you can stay at and still be close to some great outdoor activities by day and fun times at night. If you don't wanna do three nights in the Dells, what adult would? Just stay in Madison and take the hour drive to the waterparks and or go see many other great Wisconsin towns and activities that are within a short drive. Devils Lake might be the best STATE park in the state. Lets take a look at two food stops I liked alot while in college.

Mactaggart's Market (Madison)

A lil gem of a sandwich shop loved by all

Buffalo chicken and roast beef build your own, and gimme a parlay card too...

Stamm House (Middleton)

A classic Sconnie supper club

You need to have an Old Fashioned while in state

Stamm House is a fun old time place with good drinks, great onion rings...

One of the cool WI towns I speak of when I mention how there are many within a hour or so drive from Madison is New Glarus aka America's Little Switzerland which is one of my favorite towns in America. I love visiting this beautiful old world place. With a population of just under 2,500 they sure got alot to offer. It's not under the radar or anything and already a popular tourist destination due to it's Swiss heritage which makes you think your there in Switzerland while you walk around. They also have some great dining options and classic Wisconsin taverns including a Cubs bar.

America's Little Switzerland

Strolling thru town (click pics to enhance)

Summertime is a great time to stroll thru as there may be a festival going on or just to take a walk around and take in the views of the old world architecture and of course a tour of the brewery. New Glarus Brewing Company is one of the best micro brewers in America. They only distribute within the state and I always bring a case or two home with me when I go 'Travel Wisconsin'. I love the people and state but the Governor is an absolute moron they could do without. Seriously? screwing over the smaller family owned business' with hard working people putting out quality products like that? C'mon m'aaan. Your an idiot on this one.

Lets get a quick bite before we hit the road again...

New Glarus Bakery

One of the states best bakeries and believe when I say there's many

Their apple bread is amazing. Check their site out HERE.

Scenic Views from the Road

Lake Michigan

Lake Superior

Highway 20

The Great River Road WI Click HERE for trip report

Lake Geneva

Perrot State Park... HERE.

Port Washington

a summer day in Bayfield, WI

A 'Sconsin sunset

Pernat's Premium Meats (Johnson Creek)

One of many good butchers found throughout the state. Site HERE.

I picked up some excellent housemade beef jerky for the road...

Signs from the Road

The states scenic designated 'Rustic Roads' are big with bikers

Many vintage Main streets await

'The King of Beers' (click pics to enhance)

a site to be seen in La Crosse along The Great River Road

The Hobnob Supper Clubs famous signs warning you not to drive further

The Land of Taverns

What a fun trip it is...


Food Signs from the Road

as seen on 'The Burgers of WI' tour. Click HERE.

Milwaukee's World Famous - Leon's Custard

Found along the Mighty Mississippi River Road in WI

Grand Champion brats and other meaty goodness in Sheboygan

A Wisconsin staple, no matter where you are in the state

as seen on 'The Burgers of WI' tour. Click HERE.

DYK one of best Cajun joints outside that area in the US is in Mad City?

Not just the states, one of the countries best pizza places. Click HERE.

Lets get some eats, shall we?

-Got beef?
The Burgers of Wisconsin

One of my most followed features here on the site is 'The Burgers of Wisconsin' which is my roundup of burgers consumed while in state. Everyone knows about the cheese, brats, beer, bakeries and so on but did you know when it comes to burgers, Wisconsin just might be the heavyweight state champ? In fact the hamburger is said to have become in Seymour which has an annual Hamburger Festival to celebrate. As we 'Travel WI' here today I want to share with you a few more burgers I have had while making my way thru the land. Every time I'm cruising the state I'll find a great food place that pops up out of nowhere. Here's an example below. Gotta burger place that's your absolute favorite? Let me know.

Elkhorn, WI

I Stopped inside Lake Country Market and it was really nice with a good selection of wine/beer, produce, fresh baked breads, regional cheeses, a deli and most everything you need for a summer bbq including the beef and steaks and also prepared food like fresh made sandwiches and burgers and brats made on the grill out back. I was even tempted by their super thin crust pizza they make fresh upon order. I went with a build your own burger which you do by filling out a little piece of paper by circling what you want on it from their options. I also had to try some mini burgers as they called them which were a buck and change with cheese on them.

Image Image
Mini Burgers

The regular burger was $5.99 and with the very fresh toppings paired with a fresh baked bun and some Wisconsin aged cheddar. The burger was awesome, a great piece of fresh tasting beef charred up perfectly on the grill, it was very delightful. The beef was fantastic, very fresh and although somewhat lean it was full of flavor. Nice place to have if your from Elkhorn, have a summer place near there or are vacationing in the area.

One of the better more fresh tasting burgers I have had...desert time

Lake Country Market
N7019 US Hwy 12
Elkhorn, WI
(262) 742-3000

The Elegant Farmer (Mukwonago)

a great farm stand store with award winning pie. Click HERE for site.

Their award winning 'Apple Pie Baked in a Paper Bag'

Buck Wild BBQ (Sullivan)

Real BBQ found in WI. You can smell the smoke from the road.

Pulled Pork sandwich for lunch, click HERE for their site

Adrian's Frozen Custard (Burlington)

Whats a trip thru WI without Custard?

Serving award winning custard since 1974

Views from the Road

Professional football is just about the only thing I don't like in WI

We'll never forget the way you thrill the nation...

I grabbed a brick of 15 year aged WI cheddar for the ride

River Valley Ranch on Burlington. Click HERE.

Many old theaters are found throughout the state

Beer, Bars and Tavern Life

as seen on 'The Burgers of WI' tour. Click HERE.

as seen on 'The Burgers of WI' tour. Click HERE.

Beautiful day for a beer way up north here in Wisconsin

Bayfield/Lake Superior Region

Last summer me and a buddy made the trek way up north to one of America's best small towns, Bayfield. This was my 2nd trip to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore and Bayfield and the area around it was everything I remembered it to be - pristine beauty is abundant. This is a great summer getaway destination and well worth the drive. We went to a few beaches that we drove off to and they were great. Lake Superior's water never really gets warm but the sun was bright and shining the days we were at the beach, it was hot and being able to take a dip in the cold fresh water and come out feeling alive and not salty is a great thing and the reason I prefer the Great Lakes to the ocean when it comes swimming. That and there's no sharks in the lakes. I was I was up there right now. This is a place all people of all ages can enjoy a peaceful getaway. The outdoors is your playground up there.

Some Views from around Town

Fresh fried Whitefish from a local Pub. Click HERE for more.


Rum Line Bar (Bayfield)

Your spot for late nite food and fun in Bayfield

Home of the $2.50 burger and good conversation with locals

-Got beef?
The Burgers of Wisconsin

You can never eat enough hamburgers and it just so happens, I gotta great spot while up that way. I took a little cruise around a few towns while we were staying in Bayfield and found a top notch burger spot while riding around. Ashland is a small town was like so many others in Wisconsin and has its Main street with an old theater, painted murals on the walls and all sorts of old buildings many of which are vacant, others have shops inside that have been around for ages. Its also the home to South Shore Brewery and they have a real nice place in one of those old buildings and some great beer. I took the ride down Main street and spotted Buddies Burgers.

Ashland, WI

I went on in and ordered a double cheese with grilled onions, pickles and mustard. It got good when I saw under the burger part of the menu "fresh. never frozen" and then it got better when the young lady working solo went back to the kitchen and took care of business. Always a good sign when it takes a little time and after about 10 minutes I was good to go. This was an excellent old fashioned 50's style cheeseburger. The patties had some crispness on the edges but weren't super thin. The grilled onions were some of the best I ever had on a burger and the fresh beef paired with them and the rest of the toppings including the soft bun made it another excellent burger to be had in Wisconsin.

double cheeseburger from Buddies Burgers

Buddies Burgers
612 Main Street West
Ashland, WI 54806-1536
(715) 682-8339

I'm sure everyone is stuffed from all that food and tired from all the sightseeing to be done while traveling the roads of Wisconsin, and sadly this where our virtual tour ends. If your planning a summertime getaway or ever plan on checking out the state with all sorts of fun during all four seasons for all ages than your best bet is to start with the people who know how to do it best. Travel Wisconsin is the states official tourism board and the place to go to when you start planning your Wisconsin vacation. Feel free to email me with any questions you think I can be a help with.

See ya next time on America: The Beautiful


WausauFood said...

Fact: Madison, WI has more places to eat per-square mile than any other place in the United States.

Side note: plenty of diversity with different ethnic joints. Love eating in Madison!

Jazzman said...

Here's a great spot in the DELLS.

The Parkway Hotel. This Motel is small, quaint, CLEAN and ok. We've stayed there several times and will return.

But the big attraction here is ... they have a REAL 1950's Caboose on the property serving Chicago Style Hot Dogs and more.

Photos here....

The Motel is only a block or so from the main downtown strip. You can easily walk downtown to the sights and other restaurants.

And if you drive ... you can easily drive to the other bigger attractions.

But... considering gas prices.. if you don't want to drive... the Motel is ONLY about 2 - 3 blocks from the Amtrak station.

Anonymous said...

Amtrak schedule....

For $ 112 per person......

you can leave DAILY from Chicago
Departs: 2:15 PM
Arrives: 5:52 PM

And returns DAILY ... from the Dells

Departs 12:09 pm,
Arrives: 3:55 pm,

Anonymous said...


lily said...

sawasdee ka!!
I come to visit naka...

Pork Drunk said...

Awesome post!! I love the photos. Did I see Hawk's Bowl? old Whitewater hangout for me....
thats funny.

Cajoh said...

Wow… lots of things to do. I love Mars Cheese Factory. There used to be a great restaurant across the street called the Star Restaurant, but they closed about a year or so ago. Now we need to find a new place between Chicago and Milwaukee to stop along the way.

Anonymous said...

We always get a pie from the 'pie guy' en route to Lake Geneva, it's in Paddock Lake, right next door. Great place, always get a few things I wasn't planing to get.

We're going to the in laws outside Madison tomorrow and I'm taking the family to lake Mills for fried cheeseburgers! Can't Wait!

Anonymous said...

WOW! Wisconsin is calling me but I might not ever leave.


Tours and Travels said...

Wow… lots of things to do.

Tours and Travels

Unknown said...

I love Mars Cheese Factory. There where a restaurant. but they closed about a year or so ago. Now we need to search a new place.

Lakeview Lodge bed and breakfast gidgegannup


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