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Wisconsin Northwoods (far north) Eating - (Vilas Co.)

Wisconsin Northwoods (far north) Eating - (Vilas Co.)
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  • Wisconsin Northwoods (far north) Eating - (Vilas Co.)

    Post #1 - August 9th, 2004, 7:53 pm
    Post #1 - August 9th, 2004, 7:53 pm Post #1 - August 9th, 2004, 7:53 pm
    I'm talking Manitowish Waters, Minocqua, Eagle River, Star Lake area:

    Some notes:

    Manitowish Waters:

    Pine Barons (EDITED TO ADD: Pine Barons has closed)
    My Pop informed me that Pine Baron's (PB's) was listed in an article recently in the New York Times Travel section, so my parents, wife and I headed here the other night.

    PB's is a small restaurant, maybe 10 tables, "gourmet dining" as PB's claims to serve is not the rage and most fine dining places don't make it in the Northwoods. My assumption is there is not enough tourist traffic during the prime summer and winter months, nor are there enough locals supporting fine dining, afterall this is the land of the supper club.

    Started off with a scotch & soda, not a usual for me, but the drink was quite strong FWIW. Pop was concentrating on the wine list, quite a nice selection.

    Appetizers ordered were the Maryland crab cakes and mi uon (pork dumplings with soy and a chili dipping sauce). Crab cakes were good, with nice large chunks of crab and not much breading. The dumplings I'm very sure were not made on premises. Wife and I are big fans of dumplings and have tried countless varieties from our huge Asian supermarket near us (Mitsuwa (Arlington Hts, IL & elsewhere)). These dumplings were exactly the size, shape, taste of those we get from the frozen section of Mitsuwa. Very disappointing considering they cost $8 at PB's.

    Salads come with the meal, we chose the following dressings: French (not good at all), Craberry Mustard Vinagrette (great), Blue Cheese (great with many many chunks of blue cheese).

    There is also a soup served with the meal, only one choice, tonight's was clam chowder. A new england version with a heavy tomato presence. Good.

    Entrees ordered were the roast duckling aux framboises, rack of Venison, and Baron's Bounty.

    The duckling was terrific, being cooked with a spice base of cayenne, white pepper, paprika, dried basil, dry mustard, cumin, garlic. Rasberry sauce was very good as well.

    The rack of Venison was replacing the medallions of Venison that are usually on the menu. Two VERY large chops, cooked to medium rare, very good garlicky flavor.

    The Baron's Bounty was a 10oz boneless pork chop, stuffed with a pheasant Santa Fe. I usually shy away from stuffed items for two reasons. Many stuffed items are not made on premise by the restaurant, and the second more important reason is that the combination on paper sounds much more appealing that the actual execution served. This was the case with the Baron's Bounty. The pheasant stuffing was so heavily spiced that that is all one tasted was the spicing, the pheasant and pork chop could not be tasted. Skip this dish, just not good.

    For dessert, the table split a bread pudding that had a layer of berrys baked into it. The bread pudding is served warm with a cool, thick custard sauce. Pudding is very good, custard could be a bit more rich.

    Pine Baron's
    Uptown Manitowish Waters
    County W at the bridge
    closed Wed.

    How oh how I miss Nick. Nick was the husband of the owner. Nick was a too smooth talking, big Greek guy who LOVED talking up the menu. You felt he was too smooth but it did not matter, Fireplace Inn delivered. Unfortunately there was a divorce and the wife who I understand ran the kitchen is now out front greeting guests. I have only been once since the divorce but the food was not up to the usual quality. Standouts used to be anything with Lamb.

    Fireplace Inn
    163 County Road W
    Manitowish Waters
    (715) 543-2464

    Blue Bayou

    The founder of Blue Bayou, Wally Mazur used to say, "We're (Blue Bayou) as far north as the south will get".

    That was the case and Walter's cooking showed his love of Louisiana-style cooking. Walter died in '94 and the food quality suffered. His wife currently runs the restaurant.

    Blue Bayou has recouped its quality though maybe jaded me feels not to pre-Walter quality (prices are also very high IMO), my advice would be just don't go after having been to southern Louisiana. But for the Northwoods, I don't think there is better cajun or creole cooking to be had.

    A nice option for fisherman is to bring in your days catch and they will prepare it for your to your liking.

    Blue Bayou Inn
    Hwy 51
    Manitowish Waters, WI

    Little Bohemia Restaurant

    Little Bohemia has been around a long time, John Dillinger escaped from the authorities here. To quote http://www.fraternalorderlawenforcement ... enger.html

    "Dillinger and Van Meter robbed a police station at Warsaw, Indiana, of guns and bulletproof vests. Dillinger stayed for awhile in Upper Michigan, departing just ahead of a posse of FBI Agents dispatched there by airplane. Then the FBI received a tip that there had been a sudden influx of rather suspicious guests at the summer resort of Little Bohemia Lodge, about 50 miles north of Rhinelander, Wisconsin. One of them sounded like John Dillinger and another like "Baby Face Nelson."
    From Rhinelander, an FBI task force set out by car for Little Bohemia. Two of the rented cars broke down enroute, and, in the uncommonly cold April weather, some of the Agents had to make the trip standing on the running boards of the other cars. Two miles from the resort, the car lights were turned off and the posse proceeded through the darkness. When the cars reached the resort, dogs began barking. The Agents spread out to surround the lodge and as they approached, machine gun fire rattled down on them from the roof. Swiftly, the Agents took cover. One of them hurried to a telephone to give directions to additional Agents who had arrived in Rhinelander to back up the operation.
    While the Agent was telephoning, the operator broke in to tell him there was trouble at another cottage about two miles away. Special Agent W. Carter Baum, another FBI man, and a constable went there and found a parked car which the constable recognized as belonging to a local resident. They pulled up and identified themselves.
    Inside the other car, "Baby Face Nelson" was holding three local residents at gunpoint. He turned, leveled a revolver at the lawmen's car, and ordered them to step out. But without waiting for them to comply, Nelson opened fire. Baum was killed, and the constable and the other Agent were severely wounded. Nelson jumped into the Ford they had been using and fled.
    When the firing had subsided at the Little Bohemia Lodge, Dillinger was gone. When the Agents entered the lodge the next morning, they found only three frightened females. Dillinger and five others had fled through a back window before the Agents surrounded the house."

    Dillinger aside, Little Bohemia is a place where I always get the same dish, which is NOT a common thing for me to do, the dish is Veal Paprika -- tender veal chunks served in a sour cream gravy on noodles with a side of sauteed red cabbage. I can just never bring myself to order anything else. It is good!

    The duck has been good, but is not consistent.

    Parents say the fish fry is a good one. There are other seafood and steak/rib items on the menu.

    Little Bohemia Restaurant
    Hwy 51
    Manitowish Waters, WI

    St Germain
    Sportsman's Chalet

    Mrs Willie and I decided to canoe part of the Wisconsin River. There is a sand boat ramp about 1/2 way between Eagle River and St. Germain, right off of Hwy 70. We canoed about 1 1/2 hours downstream then started the 2 hp motor and motored back upstream to our point of departure. If you do put in the river here, there is a large eagle's nest on the south bank of the river about 1/8 mile downstream from the ramp. Only 1/2 mile from this sand "ramp" is the Sportsman's Chalet. It was past lunch and we were starved, Sportsmans was right there so we stopped in.

    Sportman's Chalet is kind of a quirky place, and A frame houses the bar and another perpendicular A frame houses the restaurant portion.

    Of course we take our seat at the bar and order our food. Lots of bar/pub choices to choose from, the difference at Sportsmans is that all is cooked there.

    I had a Rueben with thick home cooked slices of tender, flavorful corned beer, lots of kraut and a delicious medium thick rye bread.

    Judi had the rib eye steak sandwich with warm homemade German potato salad that had many chunks of bacon in it.

    All was top quality delicious. Sportsmans also serves a choice of bluegill, walleye, perch or cod for their Friday night fish fry. There are different homecooked specials everyday.

    There is a sign on Hwy 70 that points to the side road where Sportsmans is located. This road again is about 1/2 way between Eagle River and St. Germain Wisconsin off of Hwy 70. Enjoy

    Sportsmans Chalet
    5208 Old Hwy 70 West
    St Germain, WI

    Whitetail Inn & Lodge
    $3.5 million was spent to create a full log supper club, it is stunning. My advice is go see the building via the bar, go for some drinks, or play some golf (a terrific course) and then go to the bar. The meals still leave room for improvement for the $ one is paying.

    There is light though as friends who have gone recently stated they had great meals. Looks like it is time to try it again.

    Whitetail Inn & Lodge
    Hwy 70 W & Hwy C
    St. Germain, WI

    Arbor Vitae

    Plantation Supper Club
    The Plantation has continued to be a dissappointment. Always mediocre. The only item that approaches any level of quality is the fried chicken, but unfortunately less than 1/8 of a mile away is the Heart II on Hwy 70 that serves far better fried chicken at a far better price. The fact that this place has been for sale for quite while is a warning one should heed to stay away from this place.

    Plantation Supper Club
    Hwy 51 N & 70
    Arbor Vitae, WI

    Paul Bunyan's
    For over 30 years, Paul Bunyan's has served huge family-style meals during the summer season. We go for their all-you-can-eat breakfasts, they serve dinner too. My nephews have always enjoyed the rustic feel with all the lumberjack stuff all over the place. They fill you up with doughnuts before you get to the pancakes, sausage, etc.
    I've noticed the sausage style changing so I would guess that the owner buys whatever is the bulk cheapest and serves it. Great for kids, but there is better breakfast for adults.

    Paul Bunyan's
    Hwy 51
    Minocqua, WI
    (look for the very tall Paul Bunyan sign! )

    Boulder Junction
    Guide's Inn
    Always packed. I have mixed feelings about the Guide's Inn. Sometimes it is terrific and really hits the mark, other times ---- ehhh. Either way I've kept going back due to those times when the dishes get nailed.

    Standouts in the past have included the 4-6 different preparations of veal, the roast duck with wild rice and cranberries.

    Guide's Inn
    Hwy M (in town)
    Boulder Junction, WI

    more to come[/u][/b]
    Last edited by Sweet Willie on March 25th, 2014, 8:53 am, edited 2 times in total.
    I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be.
  • Post #2 - August 10th, 2004, 8:15 am
    Post #2 - August 10th, 2004, 8:15 am Post #2 - August 10th, 2004, 8:15 am
    We've gone to that area in the fall for over 15 years and just love it. Looks like this year we aren't going to be able to make it and I'm missing it already. Part of our adventure (as well as outdoor things and of course, fishing) is finding our fav. places to eat.
    Sportman's Chalet is a fun, strangely decorated place. We've never had a dinner there, but on Tues. or Wed. they have burgers for $1.00 a lunch. What a great burger, large, juicy and really only a dollar. Thanks for the info about dinner, we'll try it !
    Have you tried Jacoby's in Minocqua? The food there is wonderful, the staff is friendly and they have a very good wine list. Also, there is a new french bakery in town that is just unbelievable. The breads are outstanding and the pastry is oh so good (if you love pastry, have you tried Joyce's Cheesecake Bakery in Eagle River?). Good- to excellent fish fry in Minocqua is Branski's Boat House (?)-it's the boat and rest. by the bridge. They also have a fun Bloody Mary Bar.
    We stay at Black Bear Lodge in St. Germain. Wonderful cabins and condo's, but don't eat there. The food is just so-so at best. If you like a great pancake, a wonderful pie and terrific sandwiches, try Wolf Inn. Everything there is homemade-it's a tiny place and sometime you will need to wait, but it's really worth it. Ask anyone in town and mention pancake and they will know where to send you. Be warned, they are huge--thin, moist, rich and filling.
    Loved reading your take on places way up North, look forward to all your other thoughts. I love the area--wish I was there right now!
  • Post #3 - August 10th, 2004, 8:24 am
    Post #3 - August 10th, 2004, 8:24 am Post #3 - August 10th, 2004, 8:24 am
    I can't believe I forgot this one--Blink Bonnie's in St. Germain. Have you ever tried their steaks? I'm not much of a steak eater, but this place is wonderful. Such a tiny, oldfashioned place, but they know how to do steak perfectly. I hear they have great ribs too, but have never gotten past the steak to try it. Tiny place, long waits, and people party in the parking lot while waiting for a table.
  • Post #4 - August 11th, 2004, 7:54 am
    Post #4 - August 11th, 2004, 7:54 am Post #4 - August 11th, 2004, 7:54 am
    jackie wrote:Have you tried Jacoby's in Minocqua? The food there is wonderful, the staff is friendly and they have a very good wine list. Also, there is a new french bakery in town that is just unbelievable. ...
    Good- to excellent fish fry in Minocqua is Branski's Boat House (?)-it's the boat and rest. by the bridge. ...
    If you like a great pancake, a wonderful pie and terrific sandwiches, try Wolf Inn. Everything there is homemade-it's a tiny place and sometime you will need to wait, but it's really worth it.

    No I have not tried Jacoby's yet, thanks for the heads up on the bakery I'll find it when I'm up in a couple weeks.

    I think you mean Bosacki's Boat House?

    I also think you mean Wolf Pack Inn, the small diner in downtown St. Germain? If so, I agree some of the best breakfasts in the Northwoods. If you ask they will even prepare either fish fry breakfast or blackend fish for your breakfast, sooo good.
    I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be.
  • Post #5 - August 11th, 2004, 7:57 am
    Post #5 - August 11th, 2004, 7:57 am Post #5 - August 11th, 2004, 7:57 am
    jackie wrote:I can't believe I forgot this one--Blink Bonnie's in St. Germain. Have you ever tried their steaks?

    of course!, Blink Bonnie's is only 4 miles from my place. I have to say I'm more partial to the 155 Supperclub (Hwy 155, 3 miles north of St. Germain) steaks prepared 155 style (cooked with garlic slivers inserted into the meat then served with a worteshire/vinegar like sauce on the side)

    Edited to add: Club 155 closed it's doors.
    Last edited by Sweet Willie on July 29th, 2013, 4:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
    I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be.
  • Post #6 - August 11th, 2004, 4:11 pm
    Post #6 - August 11th, 2004, 4:11 pm Post #6 - August 11th, 2004, 4:11 pm
    Yep, sure did mean Bosacki's and Wolf Pack Inn . When we get up there we get so relaxed we don't even get the name of places right! Glad to hear the supper club is still there--I thought it was for sale, but hoped if sold they wouldn't change the menu or food.
  • Post #7 - August 16th, 2004, 12:43 pm
    Post #7 - August 16th, 2004, 12:43 pm Post #7 - August 16th, 2004, 12:43 pm
    Ella's in Arbor Vitae is one of the best breakfasts I've ever had. Everything homemade, super fresh and delicious. The bacon especially is fantastic.
  • Post #8 - September 9th, 2004, 6:21 pm
    Post #8 - September 9th, 2004, 6:21 pm Post #8 - September 9th, 2004, 6:21 pm
    Manning wrote:Ella's in Arbor Vitae is one of the best breakfasts I've ever had. Everything homemade, super fresh and delicious. The bacon especially is fantastic.

    Good to know, will try in a few weeks.

    This past weekend had some more killer breakfasts at Wolf Pack Cafe in downtown St. Germain. Terrific pancakes that were filled w/northwoods berries. Also tried the meatloaf breakfast, I don't get to have meatloaf much anymore and this is goooooood.
    I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be.
  • Post #9 - September 10th, 2004, 12:40 pm
    Post #9 - September 10th, 2004, 12:40 pm Post #9 - September 10th, 2004, 12:40 pm
    I recently got back from a vacation near Manitowish--had a great time in the Porcupine Mountains and the area lakes. Also sampled some good food, thanks to LTH.

    Ella's on 51 in Arbor Vitae or Woodruff is, as Manning suggested, a very good spot for breakfast--and possibly a casual lunch, too. We tried the buttermilk pancakes, cinnamon swirl french toast, scrambled eggs, bacon, and sausage links. The pancakes and french toast were quite tasty, and we made a point of having them again on our way out of town after an earlier visit. The bacon and sausage were also very good, although I'm not as enthusiastic about the bacon as Manning is. Actually, I enjoyed the sausage more. This is a friendly place with efficient service, and I look forward to returning to it on my next trip to the area. Note: Although we exclusively focused on Ella's breakfast menu (served until 3 PM), lunch looks like a winner there, too. The sandwiches rolling out of the kitchen looked appetizing, and seemed to satisfy a wide range of customers. Ella's also bakes a variety of tasty-sounding pies and makes their own bread as well. This seems to be a little gem of a place.

    Baguette Bakery in Minocqua, on the downtown turnaround (in a strip mall with a photo finishing place). Another winner! This is a bakery that produces a wide array of artisanal breads and pastries. We tried some ciabatta and a sourdough peasant bread--both were very good, although a bit too dense, probably due to a lack of sufficient proofing time. Despite this problem, I wouldn't hesitate to return and buy more breads there. The pastries were also excellent to pretty good. I sampled a solid eclair--it needed a harder shell and richer filling, but was still worth eating; a very good strawberry tart that needed a sweeter cream but had a very tasty crust; and an excellent flaky, buttery palmier. This is another good spot I plan to visit again.

    Monical's Pizza on 51--A third excellent place! Monical's produces a very thin, crackery crust with a good sauce and decent, though somewhat greasy, cheese. The sausage is tasty if a bit tamer than I like. While I wouldn't put this pizza quite in the class of Caponie's, it is a very tasty, old school rendition of a thin crust pie.

    Tried a couple of other places, too. Will make an additional report when time permits.
  • Post #10 - June 20th, 2006, 5:44 pm
    Post #10 - June 20th, 2006, 5:44 pm Post #10 - June 20th, 2006, 5:44 pm
    I was in Boulder Junction this weekend, and there's good news. Not long ago, a new couple bought The Outdoorsman restaurant, and they're doing fantastic things there.

    The Outdoorsman has been a fixture in downtown Boulder Junction for ages (and I won't give a street address, because if you're in "downtown" Boulder Junction, you'll see it).

    But now that Steve-O (the CIA-trained chef) and his wife Amy have taken over, it's offering far greater fine dining than anyone could ever expect in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.

    I was there for my brother's wedding ... we had the rehearsal dinner at the restaurant, then Steve-O catered the reception the next day.

    Dinner at the restaurant was a classic Wisconsin fish-fry … beer-battered whitefish, beer-battered French fries (outstanding), supplemented by Outdoorsman Dip (Wisconsin Cheeses and Home Made Salsa Blended) served Cold ~Both with Home Made Blue Corn Tortilla Chips, Vegetables & Gourmet Crackers, and an amazingly complex squash soup (that everyone asked the recipe for, but he wasn’t telling) topped with crumbled blue cheese.

    The catered event featured such things as Mini-Ostrich Wellingtons w/a Portabella Mushroom Duxelle and a Pinot Noir Demi Glaze, Pecan Crusted Chicken Breast Stuffed with Roasted Red Pepper, Spinach, Smoked Bacon & Goat Cheese. Drizzled w/a Kahlua and Balsamic Reduction, Roasted Colorado Beef Tenderloin Adorned with Sautéed Oyster Mushrooms, Grilled Shrimp, Bleu Cheese and a Caramelized Shallot & Sonoma Valley Whole Grain Mustard and Cabernet Sauce, Steamed Asparagus w/ Roasted Grape Tomatoes, Patty Pan Squash and Glazed Carrots,, and “Chocolate Decadence” with Rich Ganache and a Sweetened Blackberry Puree, along with Swiss Dark Chocolate & Orange Liquor Truffles.

    The Outdoorsman, previously, had been a typical, nice competent Northwoods restaurant. Now it’s a fine dining destination (especially since the Blue Bayou in nearby Manitowish Waters has gone downhill).

    I asked Steve-O, a native New Yorker, how he ended up in Boulder Junction:

    NR706: How did you end up here?

    Steve-O: Hell, I don’t know. Where are we?

    If you’re in the Rhinelander – Minoqua area, it’s not that far a drive.
  • Post #11 - June 20th, 2006, 8:03 pm
    Post #11 - June 20th, 2006, 8:03 pm Post #11 - June 20th, 2006, 8:03 pm

    I'm not surprised fine dining is starting to appear out there. I was at a meeting a few years ago when someone inquired, "Where are all these trained chefs going to work?" They were suggesting there was a pending glut with more chef's than restaurants. The speaker replied they would have to go to the more rural areas to establish themselves and their businesses. Your experience begins to confirm that prediction.


    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #12 - October 1st, 2007, 11:18 am
    Post #12 - October 1st, 2007, 11:18 am Post #12 - October 1st, 2007, 11:18 am
    Just returned from the Northwoods. I have been going up there for 34 years (my entire life) and I have never eaten so well, thanks to you guys.

    The Outdoorsman was outstanding. The menu listed on their website is nothing like what they actually had (it must be way outdated). The menu now has things like Elk, Venison, Boar, Confit of Phesant with Phesant prosciutto and pasta, bison, quail, and duck. I cannot even remember all of the great sounding dishes but I was very impressed with the wide variety of game available. I opted for a wild game sampler of Elk Loin, Ostrich Filet, and Venison Chop wth a blackberry sauce and it was awesome, especially the elk. The squash soup (also mentioned by nr706 in this thread) with blue cheese was some of the best I had ever had. The funny thing is that as soon as I walked in I knew I had been there before but it was a long time ago before the new and more talented ownership. By far the best dinner I have had up north in ages.

    The sirloin burgers at the Little Musky Bar in Arbor Vitae were awesome and cooked to a perfect medium rare. I ordered the 1/3 lb burger and after the first bite regretted not getting the 1/2 pounder. The owners were awesome and the beer was cold. I sat there for about 2 hours drinking beer and watched as every single patron that walked through the door ordered one of their famour burgers.

    The Island Cafe in Minocqua served up one of the best Eggs Benedict variations I have ever eaten; vegetarian style with spinach, eggplant, and tomato. Their menu claims that Gourmet magazine asked for the recipe and I can't blame them.

    I will be doing a more detailed review on my website
    Visit my new website at or my old one at
  • Post #13 - October 4th, 2007, 8:36 am
    Post #13 - October 4th, 2007, 8:36 am Post #13 - October 4th, 2007, 8:36 am
    I own two businesses in Manitowish Waters. One is on HWY W in town and the other is a vacation rental home on a private lake in the Northern Highland American Legion State Forest. As a member of the Manitowish Waters and Minocqua Chamber of Commerce, I know many of the local business owners. The last few years have been very difficult. Some restaurants in the previous posts are for sale or have been sold. Summer in Vilas county is short (July & August). The past few winters didn't bring enough snow for snowmobiling and cross country skiing. The Guide's Inn and The Outdoorsman are two favorites. Birch Lake Resort on HWY W in Winchester offers an excellent Friday night, family style, fish fry including pan fried walleye and bluegill. They offer a great Sunday brunch. If you'd like to breathe fresh pine scented air, swim in a clean spring-fed, no wake lake, watch the sun set over the lake, and experience a good night's sleep, I know of such a place.
    Mark A Reitman, PhD
    Professor of Hot Dogs
    Hot Dog University/Vienna Beef
  • Post #14 - October 4th, 2007, 9:08 am
    Post #14 - October 4th, 2007, 9:08 am Post #14 - October 4th, 2007, 9:08 am
    chicagostyledog wrote:I own two businesses in Manitowish Waters. One is on HWY W in town

    Which place is it? I know that stretch of road pretty well.

    chicagostyledog wrote:and the other is a vacation rental home on a private lake in the Northern Highland American Legion State Forest.

    We have a vacation rental home on Big Lake ... we're pretty well booked all season, but we charge way below market prices, and we have renters who've been coming up for 20+ years.

    chicagostyledog wrote:The Guide's Inn and The Outdoorsman are two favorites.

    I've already expressed my admiration for The Outdoorsman, but I also like the Guide's Inn ... although many of my siblings aren't as impressed. How do you feel about the Pine Baron?

    And, I'm so glad the Boulder Beer Bar is back.
  • Post #15 - October 4th, 2007, 12:48 pm
    Post #15 - October 4th, 2007, 12:48 pm Post #15 - October 4th, 2007, 12:48 pm
    nr706 wrote:
    chicagostyledog wrote:I own two businesses in Manitowish Waters. One is on HWY W in town

    Which place is it? I know that stretch of road pretty well.

    Take a guess. Here's a hint: It's the busiest place in town and everyone goes there.
    Mark A Reitman, PhD
    Professor of Hot Dogs
    Hot Dog University/Vienna Beef
  • Post #16 - October 5th, 2007, 9:56 am
    Post #16 - October 5th, 2007, 9:56 am Post #16 - October 5th, 2007, 9:56 am
    You're not a LaPorte, are you?
  • Post #17 - October 5th, 2007, 1:02 pm
    Post #17 - October 5th, 2007, 1:02 pm Post #17 - October 5th, 2007, 1:02 pm
    nr706 wrote:You're not a LaPorte, are you?

    We own the Manitowish Waters U.S. Post Office and Pinescape.
    Last edited by chicagostyledog on October 24th, 2007, 6:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
    Mark A Reitman, PhD
    Professor of Hot Dogs
    Hot Dog University/Vienna Beef
  • Post #18 - October 5th, 2007, 1:36 pm
    Post #18 - October 5th, 2007, 1:36 pm Post #18 - October 5th, 2007, 1:36 pm
    So you're Mr. 54545 ...
  • Post #19 - October 5th, 2007, 6:42 pm
    Post #19 - October 5th, 2007, 6:42 pm Post #19 - October 5th, 2007, 6:42 pm
    nr706 wrote:So you're Mr. 54545 ...

    That is correct sir.

    As for area restaurants:

    Tried Smokey's once, pricey, good food, still prefer the Guide's Inn
    Enjoy the Outdoorsman breakfasts and dinners
    Great Friday night fish fry and Sunday brunch at Birch Lake Resort
    Veggie sub at the Pea Patch is a favorite
    Voss's Birchwood Lodge & Little Bohemia-forgedaboutit
    Boulder Beer Bar is co-owned by Jimmy Dean(Guide's Inn) and his son. Jimmy makes the pulled pork
    Last edited by chicagostyledog on July 30th, 2008, 11:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
    Mark A Reitman, PhD
    Professor of Hot Dogs
    Hot Dog University/Vienna Beef
  • Post #20 - October 5th, 2007, 6:59 pm
    Post #20 - October 5th, 2007, 6:59 pm Post #20 - October 5th, 2007, 6:59 pm
    chicagostyledog wrote:Good steaks at Fireplace Inn when Honey owned it

    Fireplace Inn is no more. Can't think of the new name - haven't been in there since Nick & Honey were together - so you know it's been a long time.
  • Post #21 - October 5th, 2007, 7:11 pm
    Post #21 - October 5th, 2007, 7:11 pm Post #21 - October 5th, 2007, 7:11 pm
    The Fireplace Inn was sold and re-opened last year as Changing Waves. Another good dining choice is the Bear Bar Lodge on W in Winchester. After being closed and sold, it reopened a few years ago with new owners. During the winter, their lot has more smowmobiles than trucks or suv's.
    Mark A Reitman, PhD
    Professor of Hot Dogs
    Hot Dog University/Vienna Beef
  • Post #22 - July 30th, 2008, 3:15 pm
    Post #22 - July 30th, 2008, 3:15 pm Post #22 - July 30th, 2008, 3:15 pm
    chicagostyledog wrote:As for area restaurants:
    Voss's Birchwood Lodge & Little Bohemia-forgedaboutit

    Just got back from a week up there. Steve-O at the Outdoorsman in Boulder Junction is definitely on top of his game (a subtle, pun, you see, since he's a master at serving game ...)

    But Manitowish Waters also has a lot going on. Voss' - while not very adventurous - still serves solid food, and the young Lithuanian girls (exchange students) who do most of the serving are delightful. I believe they have a new chef, and the room couldn't possibly be more Northwoods-y.

    But the big news recently has been at Little Bohemia (also in Manitowish Waters). Little Bohemia was the site of a major shootout between the FBI and John Dillinger's bank-robbing gang, and Dillinger got away (the bullet holes are preserved in the walls and windows of the north dining room). There's a major film coming out - "Public Enemies" - that features Johnny Depp as Dillinger, and that was partially filmed at Little Bohemia. The little town was all a-twitter with Depp sightings.

    A couple of years ago, Little Bohemia was sold to the folks who own Carlin Lake Lodge, and the food has improved significantly. I don't think I've ever had a better Walleye Sandwich for lunch as the one I had at Little Bohemia.
  • Post #23 - July 30th, 2008, 5:03 pm
    Post #23 - July 30th, 2008, 5:03 pm Post #23 - July 30th, 2008, 5:03 pm
    Is the White Stag Inn still around? That and Alexanders Pizza in Minocqua are my two enduring memories from parents weekend at Camp Kawaga in the early 80s. Oh and Bosacki's, of course.
  • Post #24 - July 30th, 2008, 10:23 pm
    Post #24 - July 30th, 2008, 10:23 pm Post #24 - July 30th, 2008, 10:23 pm
    With so much going on in the Greater Boulder Junction-Manitowish Waters Metropolitan Area, we don't get down to the big, bad city of Minoqua much (Although the big, new Wal-Mart there is a big draw for my brother). Boascki's is definitely still there, and I did bring back a very nice growler of Wild Rice Lager from Minoqua Brewing Company.
  • Post #25 - July 31st, 2008, 7:49 am
    Post #25 - July 31st, 2008, 7:49 am Post #25 - July 31st, 2008, 7:49 am
    This post and the mention of the Guide's Inn in Boulder Junction brought back a fond memory of a past fishing trip. Consumed with the spirit of the northwoods, I asked the bartender at the Guide Inn to make my Manhattan with brandy. She looked me straight in the eye and said, "well, is there any other way?"

    Not on that trip there wasn't - those Korbel Brandy Manhattans went down smooth - especially when the snow squalls would blow in and the walleye were biting.

    Life is a garden, Dude - DIG IT!
    -- anonymous Colorado snowboarder whizzing past me March 2010
  • Post #26 - October 10th, 2010, 11:12 am
    Post #26 - October 10th, 2010, 11:12 am Post #26 - October 10th, 2010, 11:12 am
    Before deciding on where to eat while in Eagle River, I researched Northwoods restaurant threads here and then we decided on The Outdoorsman. I contacted the restaurant to see if they would be able to accomodate a gluten-free diner and was told that Amy, the owner*, had been diagnosed with celiac disease a few years ago so they offer many gluten-free options. With that information I made a reservation for a late (by Northwoods standard) Saturday night dinner. We arrived to a cozy and quiet restaurant with just a few other seated tables. The two servers were charming in an innocent and inexperienced way, but provided us with everything we needed with only one mistake.

    Each entree sounded bettter than the last so Mr. V and I had a hard time choosing. Ultimately we decided to order two entrees and share. I wanted the pheasant confit with forest mushrooms sans pasta served with a marsala cream sauce and the kitchen staff agreed to sub risotto or potatoes for the pasta.** Mr. V ordered the bone-in ribeye with a gorgonzola butter sauce, baked potato and veggies. We started the meal with homemade bread, gluten free and traditional as well as the butternut squash soup which definitely had curry powder as an ingredient and blue cheese sprinkles. I quite liked it; Mr. V not so much. The soup was sweet, very sweet, but the blue cheese balanced the sweetness and shockingly worked with the curry.

    Instead of being served a traditional confit ala duck confit, I was served pheasant confit that had boned and tossed with various 'shrooms, etc. in the marsala cream sauce. Once I tasted the first bite I was delighted with my delicious entree. Unfortunately, the server made a mistake and didn't note that Mr. V's ribeye was to be gluten free so it was served with two huge onion rings atop the most gorgeous bone-in ribeye. He ordered it medium and I would say it was served rare to medium-rare. The ribeye did seem to have fatty bits, but Mr. V said it had excellent flavor and would order it again. The portions were huge and we each ended up taking half of our entrees with us.

    Despite the mistake with the onion rings, we will definitely go back. The ambiance was cozy, the food was delicious and I was healthy after eating. As far as I'm considered The Outdoorsman is the payoff for a 7.5 hour car ride!

    The Outoorsman's website is outdated but they seem to update facebook: ... 5121454947

    * We learned that Steve and Amy divorced and she got The Outoorsman and now does the cooking. He is allegedly working at (or owns?) a restaurant in Minoqua.
    **I don't have a copy of the menu so the descriptions aren't exact.
    Last edited by Veloute on October 14th, 2010, 8:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #27 - October 13th, 2010, 9:56 am
    Post #27 - October 13th, 2010, 9:56 am Post #27 - October 13th, 2010, 9:56 am
    I guess I wouldn't consider the inclusion of onion rings that much of a misstep. They can easily be removed or whichever one of you didn't have celiac could have enjoyed them. Glad to hear you liked it though.
    Visit my new website at or my old one at
  • Post #28 - October 14th, 2010, 8:13 pm
    Post #28 - October 14th, 2010, 8:13 pm Post #28 - October 14th, 2010, 8:13 pm
    Unfortunately, it was. Gluten particles from the onion rings were on the steak so it wasn't safe. Funny thing is that Mr. V vehemently dislikes onion rings so no one ate them.
  • Post #29 - July 11th, 2011, 8:55 pm
    Post #29 - July 11th, 2011, 8:55 pm Post #29 - July 11th, 2011, 8:55 pm
    It had been forever since I took a trip to the Northwoods of Wisconsin so I changed all that this past 4th of July. Me and a friend went up North for some change of scene and the pace was great for the four nights we stayed in Eagle River. We set out from the city Saturday morning and were set to head straight to Vilas County with a couple pit stops while on the way. The first place I'll share on here was actually visited on the ride home since they are closed on weekends. Twig's Beverages in Shawano which was on the way about 40 mins north of Green Bay is (I know yet another) place that's been on my radar for a while now.

    Twig's Beverages in Shawano, WI

    We got there during the noon hour on the Wednesday we visited so the employees were out to lunch which they take from noon 'til 1p each work day. Twig's is one of the few remaining independent soda pop bottlers around that still uses returnable bottles and one of the last two in the state. Twig's bottles Sundrop under an agreement with Dr. Pepper and Snapple and they are the last Sundrop bottler to use returnable bottles. I first found this place after buying a bottle of Werbelow's Soda from America's Market in Wheeling. The bottle showed Werbelow's was made in Shawano, WI which lead me to a search on the 'net with a few results here and there including some stuff on Twig's. We went back after 1p and they were happy to show us around.

    The main machinery for bottling

    I talked with a younger guy who must of been in charge since another employee sent me to him. Along with Sundrop which has it roots in the South and is said to be America's first citrus soda, Twig's also bottles its own label including flavors like orange, root beer, black cherry, grape, sour, lime and so on. On the day we visited they had black cherry and orange available for purchase along with Sundrop. Since they still use the returnable bottle deposit method the pop is pretty cheap. It's $7.50 for a case with a $10 deposit on the bottles. As you can imagine it's big around town, people were coming in and out returning bottles and picking up new ones and trucks with the Sundrop label were pulling in and out. There's a good article about Twig's HERE in the MJS. Also this site HERE is a collection of glass soda bottlers still around the USA and has Twig's included.

    Warehouse full of Sundrop, employees drink it for free...

    As I talked to the guy giving us the tour I asked about Werbelow's and yes they used to operate out of where Twig's does now. Twig's even bought a couple of the recipes Werbelow's used for their bottled pop when they moved in. I got a case with 18 bottles of Sundrop and and three each of the other available selections that day of black cherry and orange. They still use real sugar in their Twig's and Hill Billy brand Root Beer bottled pops although I'm not sure about in the Sundrop. I did just have the one I put in the fridge when I got back and the bottle says corn syrup but it was still pretty damn good, very refreshing. I forgot to ask if it too is made with real sugar. The Dr. Pepper Snapple LLC just decided to release Sundrop nationally and is putting millions into an MTV targeted crowd ad campaign.

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    Bottles cover the walls, my case I brought home

    If I was a local I would drink this stuff ice cold all summer long and they do as I was told. At the $7.50 a case price it's hard to beat. I bet it also makes a great summertime cocktail mixer like Ting does which is where I think they're going with the MTV target, some Sundrop and vodka will get it done on a hot summer day. Twig's is a fun stop on the way to the Northwoods and I didn't realize it but Seymour, WI some 30 miles away is the home to the other old school soda pop bottler still left in the state, Seymour Beverages. Check out the link for more info on both these cool spots.

    Sundrop is the locals choice around town for a non alcoholic beverage

    We pushed on north with no plans too stop...

    ...until we spotted this place along the way

    Chet & Emil's is a little bit of everything located in Birnamwood. They started off after being discharged from the military during World War II. They bought a business that consisted of a tavern and pharmacy store on the street level with rooms for their families to live it on top. As time went by they added a bowling lane with a 50 foot bar along with a dance floor to accommodate wedding and banquets. A little while later they added the restaurant and purchased a broaster and their chicken became the talk of the town from there.

    Chet and Emil's in Birnhamwood, WI

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    The first of many stuffed animals we'd see, my view from the bar

    We took a seat at my preferred choice of the bar when in locals type spots like these. Nowadays they also have a resort with cottages and cabins as well for people/hunters to rent with there being a lake not too far away. I wasn't starving but have a problem with not being able to pass on places and this was a classic case. The large Route 66 like chicken statue got me in. I was curious to see how C&E's broasted chicken compared to Bob's Drive In in Sioux Falls, SD as well as Barney's Grocery store in New Buffalo, MI which I had just had for lunch a couple days before and was awesome. We decided on a four piece dinner to go and had some cheese curds and drinks while we waited. After a couple High Lifes for me and orange vodkas for her our chicken was ready. I had to have a piece hot and the leg was great although was still a notch below the aforementioned places. Still worth the stop and tasted great cold later that night. When we stopped in here I felt like we were finally in the Northwoods.

    Broasted chicken dinner with broasted wedges, cole slaw and rye bread

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    On we rode past a few more manly taverns and clubs tempting me to come on in...maybe next time

    Eagle River is where we would stay for our time in the Northwoods. We got a nice deal at a place that was right on the river near the shops/bars making it a nice location. With the exception of the nights spent on the deck overlooking the river with a fire we didn't really spend much time in Eagle River aside from mornings and early evenings. I'm not much of a breakfast eater and don't really ever eat before noon even though I wake up early. But I had to get my friend fed otherwise she gets a lil cranky and wonders why we have to wait til the afternoon to eat and then wait another five mins for pictures, why so many burgers? I want something else, yada, yada, yada. Haha b/c I'm not normal, that's why. But if I get her fed first thing in the morning she's a trooper and down to do whatever.

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    Eagle River, WI

    On our first night in town we kind of just rode around checking out was around and we stopped in at the local 24 hour grocery store Trig's. I was pleasantly surprised with what I saw on my nighttime visit and stopped back in a few times on the trip for things in need. Much better than Jewels and Dominick's they have a great liquor section and the meats and pre-made deli goods looked nice. They even make their own special recipe brats. This is definitely the place to shop if your staying in a cabin or house rental in the Northwoods. I spied a Wisconsin cream puff truck in the lot that night and headed over the next morning to check them out. The local fireman's homemade cream puffs which they make and sell on nice weekend days raise money for the local school. Right next to the cream puff truck was a sign tempting me to come inside and get some hot ham and rolls, a traditional Sunday eat in the cheese state.

    I should have got a pound to at least put in the fridge...

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    Real Wisconsin Cream Puffs in the parking lot of Trig's grocery in Eagle River

    The fireman working the puff truck was a cool dude and gave me some rec's for other food stops and scenic spots I had to try and go check out which I got to and were great. Eagle River has a new fully restored Soda Pop shop called...Soda Pops. We stopped in there twice, once to grab a quick bite for breakfast before we embarked on an outdoor adventure.

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    'Soda Pops' Soda Fountain in Eagle River

    I read somewhere on LTH an article someone linked to about the return of the soda fountain shop in America. Soda Pop's would be one of those places that inspired the article. A search on the 'net shows me theres also a place in LA called Soda Pops, I'm sure it's been doc'ed on LTH, but I don't think they are related. According to their ABOUT page they are one of the oldest operating Soda Fountains in the state of WI. Originally a tavern by the railroad station until prohibition when it turned into a soda fountain. The place was then a fountain into the 70's and then vacated but the current team of owners decided to restore everything in 2002 to where it is today. Along with the soda and ice cream selections they have a soup and sandwich menu as well as over 150 bottled pops to choose from with a store to buy them all by the pack at located next door.

    The inside of the soda shop

    This was a fun stop. It's pretty amazing what they did with the restoration. I've been to a few of these old school fountain shops, not as many as others on here have, but this was the nicest one I have seen. The breakfast sandwich which I got to have a bite of was pretty good, really nice bun and obviously much better than McDonald's over across the street. The only semi complaint from me would be the actual bottled pop selection list. Despite having 100's they didn't have any that tempted me enough. Many of them I have had before or are available here and none of them my favorites like Dublin Dr. Pepper, Cheerwine or Ale-8-One. But the Root Beer list was pretty extensive and I could of got a mixed six pack off that I'm sure I would of liked. My cherry phosphate took me back to when Uncle Fun in Chicago was still at it's old location and had their soda fountain located in back when I was a youngin'.

    Cherry Phosphate for breakfast

    Located just a couple stores down from Soda Pops is Faye's Dinky Diner. I didn't read anything about this small old school 'sconnie style diner but knew I had to check it out for breakfast one day while we were there. I ended up walking over from our spot on our last day to grab some takeout breakfast to eat at our place before we headed back to Chicago. Faye's shows alot of promise with it's menu and looks of the place both outside and in but what I had hoped to be some amazing 'old fashioned' corned beef hash was just old fashioned in that it came from a can. Nonetheless they still crisped it up nice and brown and she enjoyed her breakfast sandwich. The skillet plates I saw the mother/daughter team that runs the place making look to be the way to go. Not bad, very reasonable priced, just not life changing. The view from the deck at our place where we ate it was top notch though.

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    Faye's Dinky Diner in Eagle River

    a beautiful morning along the river

    Well as long as were going thru breakfasts stops of my trip lets take a look at one of my favorite places we ate at on the trip. Wolf Pack Cafe is in Saint Germain which is a short ride (like most everyplace else is) from Eagle River. This was a place that was actually put on my list because my friend said she had to go there and try it out so we went for breakfast on the 4th of July.

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    Wolf Pack Cafe in Saint Germain, WI

    The Wolf Pack was packed the early afternoon time we arrived on the 4th. It's won "Restaurant of the Month" from Discover Wisconsin and I'm sure has been featured in quite a few publications. You can tell this is a place loved by year round locals and summertime regulars as well as visitors who do their research like myself. We went inside the dining room and put our names in and were told about a 20 minute wait which the dad of the family ahead of us told me "well worth it". They go to Wolf Pack every summer and within just about 10 minutes they were able to seat us at the counter.

    My view from the counter, tables in back of me

    The ladies working the dining room were very welcoming and set us up right away with drinks and a menu. Wolf Pack Cafe is known for its breakfast and also serves lunch. They have a full breakfast menu available 'til a certain time and then serve a lunch menu with the most popular items from the breakfast menu available all day. It's a favorite of Green Bay Packers Defensive Coordinator Dom Capers as well as former Packers BIG BOY DT Gilbert Brown. I had a big boy local from the area sitting next to me who had come in from work where he had to close down the bar from the night before which he said was a rowdy one with all the visitors in town for the holiday. The big motorcycle riding dude wouldn't stop raving about his breakfast which was their popular 'Joe's breakfast special'. So that's what we went with.

    Homemade hash browns topped w/ two eggs, sausage gravy and cheddar cheese and toast

    Yep after that plate arrived I knew why this was a favorite of the over six foot 300+ pound monster next to me and also Gilbert 'no one eats his grapes' Brown. The biker dude laughed and was loving I broke out the camera to get a picture. It comes with option of toast and I got it with English muffin and mixed it all together with some house hot sauce and it was great spread atop the toasted muffin. Wolf Pack Cafe also claims the best burgers in the Northwoods and I wouldn't doubt them but had to pass on that for some of their "world's best pancakes" which you can throw some locally made maple syrup on when they arrive. They were great, I'm not a big breakfast guy but this might of been my most memorable breakfast since the breakfast horseshoe at D & J Cafe in Springfield, IL thanks to a Rene G rec. Although this version much better ingredients wise. My friend is a big vaca eater and this was easily her favorite spot we stopped at, she wanted to go back but we never made it. Next time for sure.

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    Famous Wolf Pack Pancakes and a self made breakfast sandwich

    We spent alot of our time exploring the area and checking out all the different towns and sites in the Chain O'Lakes area of the Northwoods. It's gorgeous and a great place to get away from the concrete jungles of cement in the city. I used to go to camp in Rhinelander as a kid and loved it back then and still do now. The stars shine bright at night and theres tons of outdoor fun for when theres sun and we had plenty on this trip. It was actually muggy and the bugs at night sucked but everything else was great.

    One of the 1,000's of lakes in the area

    One of the 100's of taverns, bars and pubs in the area

    One of the spots I had read about that seemed to be my type of place was Gooch's A-One Bar & Grill in Boulder Junction. I read on a Northwoods forum with a food section that Gooch and his broasted chicken were top notch. We stopped in here after a stroll down "downtown" Boulder Junction which is a beautiful little town worth walking around. Lots of shops for ladies and Gooch's for the guys.

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    Boulder Junction, WI

    As we enter

    We stopped in one early afternoon for some drinks and before we knew it we had been in there for a couple hours and put down more than the one or two we had planned. Everything you envision when you think Northwoods bar is what Gooch's is. Owned by the Gucchi himself who along with his girlfriend, they run what will be a regular stop on my Northwoods visits and this trip confirmed there will be many more. You probably pictured a couple regulars in there drinking during the daylight hours and correct you are. One of the dudes was a massive man who had just arrived from McHenry county where he lives and he'd been staying up in the area since the 70's when they first got a place. Gooch's was his watering hole. We got to talking and had a great time doing so with the summertime local big boy fIb and Gooch who himself is a classic 'Sconnie. He hunts, fishes, eats, drinks and snowmobiles which are what the locals do up there and he supports himself with his great neighborhood tavern.

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    Gooch's is a classic Northwoods drinking establishment

    It gets busy in the summer and since it's on a snowmobile trail it is also a popular stop for snow riders in the winter. Gooch has a few Packers thangs hanging here and there and also one Bears fanplate displayed on the wall. I asked him what was up with Da Bears plate, if he was an actual bears fan or if it was just to keep the tourists like myself in there for another? He was thrilled that I was the first Bears fan ever to recognize this, it was indeed to keep the fIsh happy. The longtime bartender was a sweet old lady who mixed a mean bloody Mary, I loved this place, ice cold Spotted Cow on tap too. When we got to talking about Gooch's annual pig roast I had brought up a place in Chicago I go to (GNR Toons) for great roasts and the big boy bursted out laughing. It turns out he used to do pig roasts at Toons back in the day about a decade or so back. Small world as jhawk1 knew the crew I was talking to. We had to get out in the sun after a couple hours of great chat and we ordered some broasted chicken to go with our last drink order which was made by Gooch in back.

    Sunday special broasted chicken dinner

    This was some damn good chicken. now I understand why quite a few people came in and out for pick up and regulars at the bar all went with the broasted chicken which comes as a dinner special on Sunday's. We got back on the road after a few pieces in the lot and were off to see and hear the beautiful sites and sounds of the Northwoods. There are some great state parks to explore and scenic routes are a dime a dozen. Eagle River is also the home to the Kentucky Derby or Daytona 500 of snowmobile racing and the home to the snowmobile hall of fame. Not quite Cooperstown so I didn't check it out but the stadium in town looked fun. As wonderful as it is having so many lakes around and some are even large, nothing beats the greatest of lakes and Lake Superior and a beautiful beach was only about an hour and 10 minute drive from the Northwoods so we had to go get fresh with it one morning day. Nothing beats a dip in the crystal clear freshwater of Lake Superior on a 90 degree day. Well worth the drive.

    a canoe rail for use to get your boat into the water

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    There's by far more taxidermists than there are McDonald's in these parts

    Did you know? snowmobiles are said to be a 'sconnie thing (Historical marker)

    No Chicago news anchors inducted that I know of...

    Lake Superior in Michigan's U.P

    On the 4th of July we had planned to go see a a Native American Pow Wow festival being held that day. Held in downtown Lac du Flambeau they had food and craft vendors until about 3p. They also had a parade earlier in the day in a fireworks show at the Indian Bowl later that night. It was a pretty little community and most of the residents seemed to be out there with they're friends and family enjoying the day.

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    Lac du Flambeau, WI

    We arrived just as the fair was wrapping up but were still lucky enough to be able to try the food from the local vendors which is the reason we were there. Indian frybread and bbq brisket fajitas were just what we were hoping for. Both of these stands located right next to each other were still selling their specialties and first up was the BBQ tent which had smoked pulled pork and brisket in sandwich form on good old cheap white bread and also fajitas. I opted for the brisket fajitas which came with onions and peppers sauteed up in the onsite wok along with three tortillas, some rice and beans and a cup of their version of elotes. The corn was cut from the cob which was grilled over the charcoal and thrown in a cup with mayo, cheese and a ton of butter and the best part, little pieces of cured pork. The guys smokin' and serving everything were great, they were up preppin' the meats 11 hours before the fest started and happy to have me despite my Chicago alliances as they were big time Packers and Brewers fans and letting me know they were.

    The BBQ dudes had the whole woods smelling good

    I love some real bbq brisket tacos and these fajitas were fantastic. Sure I guess it's a dish that's more Tex-Mex than anything else but these we're FBI's preparing them and this obviously wasn't there first time making what might of been my favorite dish of the trip. They had a homemade red sauce salsa made with habeneros and jalapenos that was some of the best salsa I have had and went great with the rest of it. If I wasn't in a daze I would of bought a bottle or more as they were starting to call it a day and pack everything up. I should of got a couple more orders for the fridge to reheat in the place for out by the river later that night. The ladies next to the BBQ dudes made an excellent piece of freshly fried Indian fry read that was also a highlight for me. How is fried dough with sugar not good? and I don't even have a big sweet tooth.

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    The smoker and bbq'd meats with the side of corn and some Indian fry bread for desert

    BBQ Brisket fajitas from the local Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Ojibwa Native American tribesmen...BOMB

    After walking around the town we hopped back in the car and set out to further explore the area. Wisconsin has some great scenic drives which would explain why theres so many bikers there and the Northwoods has more than its fair share of them. We went thru some beautiful untouched areas and got to see some interesting towns like Park Falls, Wisconsin. Once a booming town with a big paper mill, that all changed when the local mill closed down. In 2006 Flambeau River Papers manufacturing company was developed by the government and local investors and moved into the old mill and the town is slowly transforming back to a factory town. The main street area is an interesting drive that might make you think your in a Southwest ghost town.

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    Cruising a WI Rustic Road in the Northwoods

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    Park Falls, WI

    After our fun little 4th of July travel excursion we were ready for some drinks and the world famous Little Bohemia Lodge in Manitowish Waters was the place. It was definitely one of my 'must stop spots' if for anything the history. I grew up just off Lincoln ave in LP where the Biograph Theater is where John Dillinger was gunned down after years of wreaking havoc on the FBI. Many of the stories come from the Little Bohemia Lodge. I've always enjoyed the stories of John Dillinger and his gang of goons and for those who don't know, Little Bohemia is where the Dillinger gang settled one summer day and then became the scene of an epic gun battle between Dillinger and the FBI that would see the gang get away and left one govnt. agent dead.

    The famous Little Bohemia Lodge

    Many scenes from the movie 'Public Enemies' with Johnny Depp were shot here at the lodge where the cast and crew stayed. We got there around 3p and they had just stopped giving tours of the upstairs. The lodge has remained the same since the FBI seized it in 1934. Many of the memorabilia from the gang and gun fight can be seen on tours upstairs before 3p. Next time. Today it remains a really cool place to stop in at for a drink or dinner. They're open seven days a week, over summertime anyway, and serve breakfast, lunch and dinner.

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    View from the outside both in front and the drinking deck in back and Dillinger memorabilia

    We made our way to the bar which when we got there was rocking. One of the cute bartenders was celebrating her bday with some friends who were in there drinking and getting crunk for the 4th. The older folks which there were a few of weren't sure what to do. The rowdy group left after a while and we just kind of chilled at a table and drank some Old Fashioned's like your supposed to do. Brandy sweets for her and whiskey sours for me. Since it was also the 4th and we were in Dillinger old hideout I had to do a couple shots of whiskey. They have quite the selection of it and make a real nice cocktail that can also be enjoyed on their outdoor deck overlooking the lake which you can also take a dip in.

    The Dining Room at Little Bohemia in Manitowish Waters, WI

    The bar area

    Stay away from the heat...

    I was disappointed to miss the tour but was still able to give myself a real nice one of the whole property which also has lodges for rent along with the bar and restaurant. I might have to check one out to stay at for the Fall. They have all sorts of original newspapers on the walls as well as wanted signs and other collectibles and of course they sell T-Shirts and mugs etc...We didn't make it in time for lunch and weren't hungry at all after the Pow Wow but the food looked good and I will for sure return to try some and put down a few more of them creep on you like Dillinger did banks, Old Fashions.

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    Gettin' gangster witit in da Northwoods

    So after it was time to say goodbye to Little Bohemia we made our way back towards Eagle River and tried to figure out our plans for fourth of July dinner. We went over a few places and then out popped the sign to Vinchi's Hillside Inn which was a place that came rec'd by the fireman and others I met. So there, it was decided for us. I was told Vinchi's had good thin crust pizza and Italian food and was a fun place to dine at because they feed the wild bears outside in their little park and you can see them thru the window when they stop by for food as you eat.

    Cruisin' the Northwoods

    Vinchi's Hillside Inn (Sayner, WI)

    No thanks, I'm a tavern thin kind of guy, stuffed is for tourists, which I guess I am...nah thin it is

    We stopped into Vinchi's to get a pizza which would be perfect for dinner. I wasn't starving so we decided to have a few drinks and order one of their specialty thin crust pizzas to go. The menu had other options such as pasta and sandwiches including an authentic Chicago style Freddy sandwich. We sat at the bar but they also have a middle room with a pool table and a dining room next to that. It's from there where you used to be able to see real bears from the forest when they would come down and feed out off the food the restaurant left for them, you can see the window in the pic collage below. The DNR put a halt to the feeding a few years back but if you were wondering what the bears loved to eat? gummie bears and anything sweet. That's what the really freindly bartender told us as we waited for our pizza pie to arrive.

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    Inside Vinchi's Hillside Inn

    I had a good feeling from the get go with the place already being recommended by a couple locals and was assured as I got glimpses and whiffs of others pizzas as they passed by. Despite what looks like a deep dish pizza being offered up by the bear outside it's all about the thin crust there. Available in small and large their signature most ordered pie is the Vinchi's signature special which comes with sausage, onions and mushrooms. This was the perfect treat to take back to our spot in Eagle River and eat on the deck, drink some cocktails and watch the fireworks next to a fire on the 4th. The pizza was great, not super duper thin but thin enough and rich from the onions and mushrooms. The sausage was the real deal Italian chunks with fennel inside. It was great later that night after the fireworks and the next morning cold.

    Vinchi's signature thin crust with sausage, onions and mushrooms

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    Happy 4th of July! Best holiday there is.

    The next morning was our last day and we kind of just took it easy and took in some sun and then decided to go check out Rhinelander where I went to camp as a kid. The town is a classic Midwest community that takes you back to another time along its historic Main street. They still got the old movie theater, liquor store and hotel standing as well as some nice parks and the old historic courthouse. We took a walk around town which has many statues of the Hodag which is a folkloric creature said to come from Rhinelander. Of course nowadays they have the Hodag festival and all sorts of events for the beasts.

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    Rhinelander, WI

    Coming up on the courthouse

    A couple of the highlights of my trip visit came from Rhinelander and getting to see the old town I used to hang out in and pass by the old Camp Algonquin I used to go to back in the 90's. Also great was a place on the main strip called the Spice of Life. They had all sort of fun spices, sauces, seasonings etc and the owner who was a big old bike dude was doing up some ABT's on the smoker for passer by's to try. These were stuffed with brat meat and cheese and came out great. My girl got a few gifts for her friends from here and I picked up some handy grill tools too.

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    The Spice of Life Spice Shop in Rhinelander

    Other highlights of Rhinelander included some bowling at the old town bowling alley, all the old towns still got them. As well as the discovery of shorty's which were just brought back on the market from Rhinelander Brewery. I'm sipping one now as I share this story while I watch the HR Derby. I love the small 7 oz bottles and the beer in 'em is actually really good. Especially since I got five cases to take home from the local Rhinelander outlet of Trig's and at $9.99 each they're a steal to me. Always stays ice cold like the smaller Red Stripe Lights in Jamaica. If any of you old timers used to like the old Rhinelander Export Beer and their small shorty bottles, they're back. Story HERE.

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    Hodag Lanes and the beer that made Rhinelander famous

    On we drove checking out the town of Minocqua where we had to wait out a pretty heavy storm that was actually pretty fun to watch hit the lake and made it smell great outside afterward. There was an old German Steinhaus with brats and other German goodies on the menu as well as a BBQ place that was filling the downtown streets with smoke but we weren't all that hungry and just kind of walked around passing on the tempting dining spots in the area.

    Minocqua, WI

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    Kherry dipped Kone at the Korner Drive In (Lake Tomahawk, WI)

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    Stopped into two burger spots on the trip, check back on the 'Burgers of WI' thread for them...

    We headed back home on our last night in town with the plans to stop at Club 155 in Saint Germain for some of their signature steaks which came rec'd here on LTH from this thread. I'm almost positive Club 155 isn't around anymore but there is still an old Supper Club where I think it used to be. However for whatever reason most supper clubs are closed on Tuesdays so we needed another spot. We found one on the way back when we cruised past McGregor's Blink Bonnie Supper Club. The lot was packed with cars and there was a group of people playing bean bags drinking beers from their cooler while another group drank Old Fashions outside on the deck while they waited for there tables. We decided we would go back to the place to freshen up and then return to eat around 8p.

    Riding into a Northwoods sunset

    Popular steak house in Saint Germain

    We got back there around 8p and put in our name for a table with there being a 20 minute wait. We were all ready for the wait as she used the iPhone to read some reviews of the place and we packed the small cooler with some bottles of WI microbrew beer I got with a make your own six pack from Trig's. The reviews mentioned that was cool to do. After a few beers in the parking lot our name was called and we were seated. You can see the Bears neon in the window and that's because the original family that owned the place was from around the Barrington area. The family that bought it as well as the bartender are Packers fans but they kept the place the same so there's plenty of Bears gear on the bars walls.

    Unlike Gov. Scott Walker I show the small guys in state some love...

    As we enter

    Our waitress was great and also very honest which helped with what we ordered. At first we were going to get the signature 26 oz T-Bone steak as well as a burger. I was even intrigued by the fried chicken but was told by the super helpful waitress to stay away from that and I should be ok. Haha so then I was going to go with the steak burger but then she asked if I was ok with it being well done since they are frozen. I wont be having to add a bad burger onto the 'Burgers of WI' thread thanks to her honesty and so we settled on an order of onion rings, the T-Bone steak with broiled scallops combo with a side of hash browns and also a baked potato.

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    House Salad that comes with steak and an appetizer of onion rings

    Blink Bonnie's was a classic Wisconsin supper club. It was great hearing and smelling the hot sizzling plates of steaks go by. Everyone in their was enjoying their night out including myself and my mate. The steak was pretty good and what I expected it to be. I think it was about $26 with the scallops, salad and side of hash browns so also a very good deal. They cooked it to my med rare request and I was stuffed when we were done. The baked potato was nice too but I should of got an extra order of hash browns which were better. The waitress was also very helpful letting us know they have a $3 extra for shared plate surcharge but if you just got an extra potato side (also $3) you wouldn't have to pay for the plate. So that was great too. Not the "best steak ever" but very much enjoyed.

    House Special 26 oz T-Bone steak with sauteed onions on top

    Great dinner for our last night in town. Afterward we went back into Eagle River and enjoyed gazing at the totally visible stars in the sky while sitting on the balcony on the river before calling it a night as we were set to head back in the morning. Bonus stop! as we crept into Menasha, WI for lunch on the way back to Chicago. Mihm's Charcoal Grill is another one of the WI spots that uses real charcoal when they cook and have been since they first opened up in 1958. I found them thru roadfood. The signature 'Sconnie style tavern steak sandwich and double buttered butterflied brats were the perfect way to end our stay in the state full of fun to eat foods.

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    Mihm's Charcoal Grill in Menasha, WI for lunch on the ride back

    Big thanks to all the previous posters and tips from this thread which I used along with a little other research to find these spots. I'm happy to share my trips with people who give great tips which you can always find on LTH so you know there's more to come. I can only imagine how pretty it is in the Northwoods during the Fall and I am planning to get back there in September to see it and explore more. Anywhere I missed?

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    The Wisconsin Northwoods, we hope you enjoyed your e-trip...

    ...See ya next time on 'America the Beautiful'

    Twig's Beverage
    711 South Washington Street
    Shawano, WI 54166
    (715) 526-5031

    Chet & Emil's
    388 Main Street
    Birnamwood, WI 54414
    (715) 449-2226

    Trig's Grocery (Multiple locations)
    925 East Wall Street
    Eagle River, WI 54521
    (715) 479-6411

    Soda Pops Restaurant
    125 South Railroad Street
    Eagle River, WI 54521
    (715) 479-9424

    Faye's Dinky Diner
    121 South Railroad Street
    Eagle River, WI 54521
    (715) 479-5929

    Wolf Pack Cafe
    426 E State Road 70
    Saint Germain, WI 54558
    (715) 479-8737

    Gooch's A-One Bar & Grille
    6215 County Road M
    Boulder Junction, WI 54512
    (715) 385-9288

    Little Bohemia
    142 Highway 51 S
    Manitowish Waters, WI 54545
    (715) 543-8433

    Vinchi's Hillside Inn
    8065 County Rd
    Sayner, WI 54560
    (715) 542-2240

    Mc Gregor's Blink Bonnie
    1506 Jerry Road
    St Germain, WI 54558
    (715) 542-3678

    Mihm's Charcoal Grill
    342 Chute Street
    Menasha, WI 54952
    (920) 722-0306

    *edited a few times to fix links and get my damn grammer correct
    Last edited by Da Beef on July 11th, 2011, 10:22 pm, edited 5 times in total.
  • Post #30 - July 11th, 2011, 9:06 pm
    Post #30 - July 11th, 2011, 9:06 pm Post #30 - July 11th, 2011, 9:06 pm

    I usually try to refrain from making pure "thank you" posts, but something this epic needs to be acknowledged. Fabulous post, Beef, and couldn't be a better example of the LTH spirit. Thanks so much.
    Dominic Armato
    Dining Critic
    The Arizona Republic and