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Yours truly groaned upon hearing in 2008 that
The Cookery (WI 42, 920/868-3634, lunch and dinner daily, breakfast Sat.–Sun., $4–26), a sunny café with great, healthy takes on standards, had suffered a devastating fire. Thank God all were well and they decided to fight on. The low-key place is now a tad more upscale, but snobby it ain’t—it’s simply a well-thought through and well-run place that’s always trying to do the right thing, whether for the earth, the village, or the customers. Breakfast packs the place on Saturdays and Sundays, and healthy options abound; even vegetarians aren’t forgotten.
An admission: yours truly is no fan of pizza (he loathes tomato sauce). Surprising as heck then that he can’t get enough of the pizzas at Wild Tomato (4023 WI 42, 920/868-3095, 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Sun.–Thurs., 11 a.m.–midnight Fri.–Sat.). Seriously, I’ve even had persnickety outstater foodie types rave about these za’s. Eat local, act local and all that—they just taste incredible!
After weeks of supper clubs, this author was overjoyed to find Mr. Helsinki (Main St. above the Fish Creek Market, 920/868-9898, 5–11 p.m. daily, $7–22)—and not just because yours truly is of Finnish stock! Rather, this international fusion bistro specializes in, well, everything from crepes to a dash of Latin and a lot of Asian tastes and it does it well, right down to homegrown kaffir limes and Mexican epazote spice. You can even get a luscious vegan squash curry. It’s a bit funky and irreverent and a whole lot of something else.
The food at the historic Summertime Restaurant (1 N. Spruce St., 920/868-3738, 7:30 a.m.–10 p.m. daily in season, $4–30) runs from fish to steaks, with a bit of Italian thrown in. The specialty of the house is South African back ribs. Seating? Your choice of a large hall, a loft dining room, or an outside patio. Built in 1910 as one of the original village cafés, it’s definitely still got that old-fashioned feel.
Moving into the site of a longstanding supper club, Cooper’s Corner (4172 Main St., 920/868-2667, 7 a.m.–11 p.m. daily, $7–30) fills those big shoes well and definitely takes the cuisine up a big notch. As many local products as possible are used in the creative dishes; they also smoke their own fish. The interiors were finished off with a lovely waterfall and al fresco dining. It’s owned by the proprietors of the Door Peninsula Winery in Carlsville. (All that fine dining verbiage aside, their scrumptious breakfasts are very reasonably priced!) Having only been open a while, it’ll have a break-in period for service, but it’s off to a great start.
The White Gull Inn gets much-deserved press around the state—and, recently, nation—for its dining, yet for dinner you may not be able to beat the
Whistling Swan (4192 Main St., 920/868-3442, www.whistlingswan.com, dinner daily, $18–36). Expect gorgeous environs, gorgeous food (which of course is impeccably done), and a top-notch staff. This is a genuine treat.
© Thomas Huhti from Moon Wisconsin, 5th Edition