Running all the way from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, the Great River Road National Scenic Byway and All-American Road extends for some 3,000 miles—and some of its most scenic stretches course along the hills and bluffs of the Wisconsin border. Whether you and your crew embark on the full 250-mile journey across 33 river towns in-state or just ride the scenic byway for a stop or two, you’re bound to get hungry. So, when you’re ready to brunch-and-chill between chasing landscapes, here are some great stops for you and your group to savor along the way.
Chef Shack - Bay City
Located on Lake Pepin, Bay City marks the fourth charming river town from the northern start of the route—and your destination for a five-star Sunday brunch at Chef Shack. This spot offers a surprisingly world-class experience: Chef Shack has been a James Beard semi-finalist. Twice.
Reserve a table in advance—perhaps out on the cozy, pergola-ed patio—and you and your crew are in for haute-cuisine delights: think cold-smoked salmon tasting, fresh-squeezed mimosas and blueberry Belgian waffles. Watch Chef Shack’s social media, too, for other special menus served out of their ruby red food truck.
Humble Moon Saloon - Stockholm
Once you’ve taken in Stockholm’s Swedish roots—and its surprising number of galleries and boutiques—settle in for brunch or breakfast all day at Humble Moon Saloon. Part rustic art gallery and antique shop, this creative spot is all about making you and your crew feel at home, including serving seasonal fare direct from Driftless-area farmers.
With menus on notepads and games at every table, alongside peanut-butter toasties, pecan pancakes and farm-fresh breakfast sandwiches, Humble Moon is a slow-down, kick-back kind of brunch spot that's all about making Great River memories—and enjoying life’s small moments together.
River Cafe - Trempealeau
In Trempealeau, the Great River Road runs straight down to the Mississippi River. After snapping a few photos of this scenic ’scape, follow the curve a few blocks south, where the bluffs of Wisconsin hide a brunch spot with international flair: River Cafe.
Owner Maggie Breidel, originally from England, brings the best of both worlds to your plate—in addition to decadent American fare (like biscuits and gravy and raspberry-cheesecake stuffed French toast), you’ll be able to sit down to a traditional English Breakfast, including baked beans, sauteed mushrooms, imported HP sauce and all. Be sure your squad comes hungry for this one.
La Crosse Queen Brunch Cruise
There are two momentous ways to take in the “Great River” in La Crosse: up on the state’s highest bluffs (check out the 600-foot-tall Grandad Bluff, with views to three states) and right on those Mississippi waters. Only one, however, includes brunch.
Reserve a spot on the La Crosse Queen for the Captain’s Sunday Brunch, and you and your group will get panoramic views of America’s most historic river, nosh on classic American fare, and learn all about the Mississippi from your boat captain. Great for kids and families, friends and couples, this 20th-century-style riverboat is the perfect way to squeeze in one more adventure with the crew on Wisconsin’s Great River Road.
Looking for even more breakfast recs? Try these 7 Wisconsin spots that specialize in the most important meal of the day.