13 must-visit Door County eating places, from Chives to White Gull Inn

There are many causes to like Door County — the miles of Lake Michigan shoreline dotted with acres of parks and trails, the quaint New England-esque cities tucked into cozy bays, the homegrown eating places serving fresh-caught whitefish, cherry pie and loads of native beer and wine.

However there’s one factor Door County north of Egg Harbor doesn’t have: chain eating places. No McDonald’s, no Starbucks, no Applebee’s.

The dearth of chains was extra a product of custom than regulation till 2010 when a Inexperienced Bay enterprise proprietor tried to carry a Subway to Sister Bay. Residents and longtime guests pushed again.

“The peninsula is exclusive,” Janet Wilmoth, a Chicagoan who ceaselessly traveled to the world, advised the Journal Sentinel on the time. “When you begin letting chains in, you are going to change the tradition.”

Amid the pushback, the enterprise proprietor withdrew his proposal, and Sister Bay revised its zoning ordinances to ban “formulation” eating places.

At the moment, Door County retains its principally chain-free allure, with loads of native choices from a wood-fired pizza joint with a killer beer lineup to a James Beard Award semifinalist the place reservations replenish months upfront.

Everybody has their favorites — AJ Dillon’s love for the wings at AC Faucet in Baileys Harbor isn’t any secret — and no record might spotlight each nice eatery on the peninsula. However right here’s a take a look at 13 must-visit eating places, in alphabetical order, that outline Door County — some price a go to for the meals, others the expertise.

Until in any other case famous, all of those spots provide outside seating and are open year-round. Hours can differ by season, so verify the restaurant’s web site or social media pages earlier than you head out.

Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant & Butik

10698 N. Bay Shore Drive, Sister Bay

This restaurant is as well-known for the goats on its roof as for the Swedish pancakes served inside. The goats are outdoors usually from late Might by means of mid-October, relying on the climate. (You’ll be able to verify stay cameras on the restaurant’s web site to see in the event that they’re out earlier than you go to.) Inside, the pancakes are served with lingonberries, strawberries or cherries, and are joined on the menu by different Nordic objects together with Swedish meatballs, pickled herring and pytt i panna. There are American dishes, too, from salads and burgers to sandwiches and fried fish. Subsequent door, the restaurant’s Stabbur serves as a beer backyard with a restricted meals menu.

Dietary notes: Gluten-free choices out there upon request

Children menu: Sure

Extra data: (920) 854-2626, aljohnsons.com


8041 Freeway 57, Baileys Harbor

A sure former Packers quarterback was a fan of this restaurant’s first location in Suamico, and its Door County location continues the nice eating custom worthy of a four-time NFL MVP. The menu modifications with the seasons and options all the pieces from oysters and mussels to burgers and hen. Greens and different substances are grown onsite, and proprietor JR Schoenfeld’s daughter Jessica Morse bakes bread each day for Chives in addition to Barringers, Schoenfeld’s Fish Creek restaurant. Along with dinner, Chives serves weekend brunch.

Children menu: No

Extra data: (920) 839-2000, chivesdoorcounty.com


2345 Mill Street, Sister Bay

Chop joined Door County’s informal nice eating ranks in 2012, specializing in steaks and seafood. The meals is complemented by an in depth wine record, plus cocktails and craft brews. Get there early to take pleasure in a three-course meal for simply $29.95 (5-5:30 p.m. solely). Out of doors seating on two ranges supplies loads of house for having fun with dinner al fresco.

Dietary notes: Patrons ought to converse with a supervisor about allergens.

Children menu: Sure

Extra data: (920)-854-2700, chopdoorcounty.com

Door County Creamery

10653 N. Bay Shore Drive, Sister Bay

A go to to wherever in Wisconsin isn’t full and not using a cheese store cease. Cheeses made with goat milk are the spotlight right here, with a wide range of chevre, cheddar and extra out there for buy within the retailer alongside different goodies like cookies and goat-milk soaps. The counter-service restaurant presents salads, sandwiches and gelato made recent each day with goat milk. Beer, wine and nonalcoholic drinks additionally can be found.

Dietary notes: Gluten-free choices, plus others that may be made vegan

Children menu: There are kid-friendly choices, together with a children pizza roll

Extra data: The creamery is open seasonally, usually late April by means of October. For extra, name (920) 854-3388 or see doorcountycreamery.com.

Harbor Fish Market & Grille

8080 Freeway 57, Baileys Harbor

On the quieter aspect of the peninsula, Harbor Fish Market serves seafood, steak and extra in a cushty eating room that gives views of Lake Michigan. As an alternative of a fish boil, the restaurant serves a three-course New England lobster boil, completed with do-it-yourself Door County cherry bread pudding. That lobster additionally reveals up in weekend brunch choices, together with a lobster Benedict and a lobster roll.

Dietary notes: Gluten-free optionsKids menu: Sure

Extra data: (920) 839-9999, harborfishmarket-grille.com

Jackson Harbor Soup

1904 Indian Level Street, Washington Island

This restaurant might survive on its location laurels alone, a last-minute spot for lunch earlier than catching the ferry from Washington Island to Rock Island State Park (or an “I’m ravenous” spot after getting again). However the soups, salads and sandwiches are as nice as the situation, which presents views of its namesake on Lake Michigan. A post-hike beer or glass of native laborious cider awaits patrons, too, and yard video games outdoors maintain guests entertained whereas they wait for his or her meals on busy weekends.

Dietary notes: Gluten-free and vegan choices

Children menu: Sure

Extra data: The restaurant is open seasonally, usually mid-April by means of November. Washington Island is accessible solely by ferry from Northport (Washington Island Ferry, year-round, wisferry.com) or Gills Rock (Island Clipper, Memorial Day weekend by means of the start of October, islandclipper.com). Automobiles and bicycles are permitted on the Northport ferry. Jackson Harbor is on the alternative aspect of the island because the ferry dock, about 8 miles away.

For extra on the restaurant, name (920) 847-2589 or see jacksonharborsoup.com.

Roots Inn & Kitchen

2378 Maple Drive, Sister Bay

Vegan, gluten- or nut-free choices are normally an afterthought at most eating places, however they’re the main focus at this mattress and breakfast in a historic residence in Sister Bay. The choices, which the restaurant touts as vegan “consolation meals,” don’t disappoint even essentially the most loyal meat and dairy eaters. However there are dishes for them, too, just like the bratwurst made with natural pork from close by Waseda Farms. Company of the Inn, which has six bedrooms, get to take pleasure in a full breakfast as properly, plus complimentary beer and nonalcoholic choices.

Dietary notes: Gluten-free, nut-free and vegan choices

Children menu: No

Extra data: The restaurant is open Might by means of November. The Inn is for adults solely. For extra, name (920) 854-5107 or see rootsinnandkitchen.com.

Waterfront Mary’s Bar & Grill

3662 N. Duluth Ave., Sturgeon Bay

There are many pubs all through Door County, however few provide the waterfront views of this tropical-themed bar and restaurant, tucked into the Seashore Harbor Resort alongside the southern border of the often-overlooked Potawatomi State Park. It’s reachable from the park, through the Ice Age Path and brief jaunt on Duluth Avenue. Out of doors seating choices abound, from a coated patio to the expansive garden overlooking Sturgeon Bay to the fireplace pit space used for fish boils (reservations required). The menu options conventional pub fare, from soup (together with a Door County chowder) to burgers, plus weekly specials together with a Friday barbeque. Bloody Marys are a favourite on the drink menu, which additionally contains Caribbean-inspired choices just like the Door County cherry mojito. Reside music on the weekends makes this a superb joint for late-night enjoyable, too.

Children menu: Sure

Extra data: (920) 743-3690, waterfrontmarysbarandgrill.com

Waterfront Restaurant

10947 Freeway 42, Sister Bay

One other waterfront gem, this one is of the nice eating selection, serving an ever-changing menu with beautiful sundown views. Seasonal choices embody all the pieces from oysters and broiled white fish to tenderloin skewers and prime rib, together with in depth cocktail and wine lists. Practically each desk within the eating room presents these sundown views, however the patio is the prime spot to take them in.

Children menu: No

Extra data: The restaurant is open seasonally, this 12 months Might 12 by means of November, and has a dock for patrons arriving by water. For extra, name (920) 854-5491 or see waterfront-dc.com.

White Gull Inn

4225 Foremost St., Fish Creek

There are a handful of locations to take pleasure in Door County’s well-known fish boil, however this mattress and breakfast presents that and far more. The stuffed French toast, filled with wealthy cream cheese and Door County cherries, is a longtime favourite on the breakfast menu. Cherries additionally make their means into pancakes, oatmeal, preserves for toast, and pie. That pie is served as a part of the fish boil alongside Lake Michigan whitefish and potatoes cooked in a kettle over a fireplace outdoors whereas company watch. The spectacle culminates in a fiery boil over that serves performative and sensible functions, ridding the caldron of the fish oils that had risen to the highest and offering loads of Instagram-friendly photograph ops for company.

Dietary notes: Gluten-free bread is on the market for breakfast

Children menu: There’s a kids’s charge for the fish boil

Extra data: The restaurant is open year-round, however fish boils are served on Friday nights solely within the winter and Friday-Sunday and Wednesday nights in the summertime (reservations really helpful). For extra, name (920) 868-3517 or see whitegullinn.com.

Wickman Home

11976 Mink River Street, Ellison Bay

Even earlier than it was named a James Beard Award semifinalist for excellent restaurant in January, Wickman Home was a vacation spot for informal nice eating in Door County. The homey inside of the historic lodge welcomes company for elevated meals that includes native substances, many equipped by an onsite backyard. A big, artistic cocktail menu reveals proprietor Mike Holmes’ background tending bar and managing eating places in New York. The restaurant units apart some house for walk-ins, together with on the bar, however reservations are strongly really helpful and infrequently replenish months upfront.

Dietary notes: Gluten-free choices, when out there, are famous on the menu.

Children menu: No

Out of doors seating: Sure

Extra data: The restaurant usually shuts down for a pair months in late winter and early spring, with reservations for the subsequent season opening in mid-March. Examine their Fb web page, name (920) 854-3305 or see wickmanhouse.com for extra.

Wild Tomato

4023 Freeway 42, Fish Creek & 10677 N. Bay Shore Drive, Sister Bay

If Door County’s vibe is subtle but accessible, Wild Tomato is the poster youngster. The favored restaurant serves a wide range of tasty wood-fired pizzas made with native substances at areas in Fish Creek and Sister Bay. Choices embody the Inexperienced & Gold, that includes grilled hen, bacon, grilled broccoli, spinach and cheese curds; and the Enjoyable Man, with 5 forms of sauteed mushrooms, spinach and caramelized onions over a garlic cream base. Proceeds from a month-to-month Donation Creation particular go to an area nonprofit. Waits for a desk or takeout will be lengthy through the busy season, however outside bars at each areas present a strong lineup of craft brews for having fun with when you wait.

Dietary notes: The restaurant has gluten-free crust however warns patrons that whereas they do their finest to stop cross-contamination, these with extreme allergic reactions or Celiac illness shouldn’t dine there “because of the excessive quantity of flour within the air.”

Children menu: Sure

Out of doors seating: Sure

Extra data: (920) 868-3095 (Fish Creek), (920) 854-4685 (Sister Bay), wildtomatopizza.com


9990 Water St., Ephraim

A Door County landmark on par with Al Johnson’s, Wilson’s has been serving ice cream to locals and guests for over a century. At the moment the diner’s red-and-white-striped awning serves as a beacon for not solely ice cream but in addition hamburgers, sizzling canine, sandwiches, salads and extra, together with a wide range of ice cream creations from the quaint soda fountain and do-it-yourself root beer. Tabletop jukeboxes add to the ambiance.

Children menu: Sure

Out of doors seating: Sure

Extra data: Wilson’s is open seasonally, usually mid-Might by means of mid-October. Name (920) 854-2041 or see wilsonsicecream.comfor extra.

Contact Chelsey Lewis at clewis@journalsentinel.com. Observe her on Twitter at @chelseylew and @TravelMJS and Fb at Journal Sentinel Journey.

Editor’s notice: An earlier model of this story didn’t embody the actual fact that there’s a Little Caesars north of Sturgeon Bay, at 5493 Monument Level Street, Egg Harbor.

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