Did you know Wisconsin is the birthplace of the very first ice cream sundae? (Two Rivers.) How about that it’s home to one of the only rivers in the country that flows north? (Fox River.) But what else in Wisconsin sets us apart from other states? (Hint: it’s more than our distinctive cheese.)
From spots where goats graze on the roof to where rocks festooned with googly eyes gaze back at you over your sandwich, you’ll find a colorful and extensive array of restaurants in Wisconsin. To enjoy these one-of-a-kind dining experiences, look no further than these five Wisconsin restaurants with themes you don’t see every day.
Seeing taxidermy in the Northwoods is pretty typical, but seeing Wisconsin creatures partake in a poker game? Or play the guitar? Now that’s something else altogether. Hayward’s Moccasin Bar seems like an everyday Wisconsin watering hole from the outside, but go in and you’ll see a bevy of animals behind glass that are doing things they probably don’t do in real life. Here, a boxing match between raccoons is completely normal.
Picture this. You’re driving through Wisconsin and craving some comfort food. You read about a café in Tigerton that specializes in pasties, delectable pastries filled with meat and cheese, so you pull over when you see the “pasty shop” sign. Then you walk in. All of a sudden, you see hundreds, if not thousands, of rocks in quirky displays with googly eyes attached, donning the walls and even the tables. We guarantee you’ve never seen anything like this before.
On Madeline Island, the largest of Wisconsin’s Apostle Islands, you’ll encounter a café that looks more like a fort built by pirates than a restaurant. As its name implies, the eatery burned down a couple decades ago, and the incarnation you see today is what remains. Between the tarps and handwritten signs, it’s the opposite of a swanky bar, but what it lacks in walls it makes up for in quirk, charm, and tasty appetizers and drinks.
For the past 58 years, Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant has been a Sister Bay favorite known for pancakes, sandwiches, meatballs and…goats? Yes, that’s right. The restaurant’s biggest claim to fame are its grazing goats that dot the sod-covered roof. Usually numbering five to seven at a time, they keep the roof tidy while always drawing a crowd.
You may not know that Wisconsin has quite the history of gangster hideouts and bootlegging back in the 1920s and 30s. One of those locales is Little Bohemia Lodge, the site of John Dillinger’s history-making shootout with the FBI. Although your fish fry may seem like a Wisconsin meal you’ve enjoyed before, you’ve probably never eaten it in the midst of interiors that still display bullet holes from that fateful event. From the walls to the trees and the rooms where Dillinger and his gang stayed, those bullet holes are still in full view.
Looking to add a twist to your next happy hour? Check out these themed bars around Wisconsin!