Where to Eat in Door County, Wisconsin
I think any real estate professional will tell you honestly that a large part of our job actually involves food. And a lot of it.
We meet clients for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We have meetings--lots of them--over lunches, breakfasts, and office parties that involve dinners. My office lunches together every Thursday in-house April through December (thank you, Sister Bay Bowl, for your outstanding Chicken Ceasar Salad), and often, many other days of the week we'll hear the quick comment---"I'm going out to grab a quick (fill in the blank: cup of coffee, sandwich, cup of soup, snack)--can I bring anyone anything?" Open houses--we as Realtors will more likely attend if "Food (and/or wine!) will be served. If your attitude towards food, especially good food, is healthy and positive, then this is a great read as you gear up for your first (or 100th) trip to Door County.
This change to more food was kind of problematic my first year with Kellstrom-Ray because literally, at my previous brokerage with Coldwell Banker, I was lucky if I remembered to bring in a Lean Cuisine or a package of pistachio nuts. In Sister Bay, we all often enjoy our meals together, mixed with gossip and trade advice ("Anyone test for water in radon recently?"). In my first year at K-Ray, I gained 10 pounds (I lost 5 of them, and apparently 5 would like to remain).
In the spring, summer, and autumn, many of us basically live in my car, and that often means lunch on the run, especially if I forget to eat breakfast--so I choose Main Street Market Deli if I'm working "middle", "healthy" fast food (whoops) if I'm working south (Sturgeon Bay) because it's "fast", and if I'm working north (of Egg Harbor), I can find an excellent, quick lunch to go just about anywhere, but especially Sister Bay. In summer, your average Realtor may be too tired to cook when we get home (thank you, Crock Pot and Insta-Pot), so we do take-out (and a LOT of quick grilling). But food---healthy, fresh, well-prepared food---it is an important part of the Door County experience, so I'm happy to say that by virtue of my job I've tried just about every available Door County eatery once (and usually several times).
The classic sandwiches at Main Street Market,
a great dinner at Mr. Helskinki's,
and a classic Bayside cup of chili and a burger can all be enjoyed
within a few feet of each other in downtown Fish Creek
This knowledge is especially advantageous during our peak tourism season, which is May through November. I work with literally hundreds of people during this time, and every single one of them will ask me my favorite places to eat. Which doesn't even take tact on my part, because each town and village in Door County has so many fantastic offerings. I've only had a few bad meals in three decades here, and I can count them on two hands. So the first thing I'll find out from my prospect is where they are staying (town or village) and what their plans are. Because if you're going to Washington Island, you're going to want to try the deep fried "lawyers" at KK Fiske or join the "Bitters Club" at Nelsen's Pub. If you're going to Gills Rock or taking a fall drive to Northport, dinner at The Shoreline Restaurant Gills Rock is mandatory in my book (they don't take reservations, but you can enjoy a glass of wine while overlooking the water---it's idyllic).
You can learn a lot about people you work with to buy Door County real estate by where they like to eat, and you can definitely bond over your favorite choices together. Breakfast? The White Gull Inn, Inn at Cedar Crossing, Del Santos, Old Post Office Restaurant, Summertime Restaurant, Al Johnson's Swedish Restaurant and Butik, Harbor Fish Market (which is Eggs Benedict heaven), The Viking Grille, Base Camp Coffee, Pelletier's, Good Eggs and a dozen others are favorites. Do you like to walk in the morning? What could be better than buying a home or condominium close to your favorite breakfast spot and walking to breakfast (and walking it off)? Try a few of my favorites (and others) and we will definitely have much to discuss.
Lunch is easy, because we have so many great offerings, and if you're dining for lunch in July and/or August, especially on a rainy day, be prepared for a wait. In 2017, Boathouse on the Bay opened with great lunches (footsteps from my office, a great place to quickly meet a client, and great whitefish chowder and (if I'm really hungry) a Lobster Roll, for lunch with a view.
The View from Boathouse on the Bay is gorgeous
no matter what time of day (and you can even walk to my office).
Other seasonal lunch favorites include Grasse's Grille (everything is homemade and so good I can't recommend just one thing), the Door County Ice Cream Factory, the Carrington Pub & Grill, the Mink River Basin (great portions of good, fresh food), the AC Tap, The Wild Tomato (either Fish Creek or Sister Bay, and try their Grilled Chicken on Foccacia with a side of Mac n' Cheese or any pizza), Bier Zot, the McEvoy's Culinaria (our go-to office favorite for a great (and affordable) fresh sandwich made to order), JJ's/LaPuerta (great menu) and Roots Inn & Kitchen--which built its growing niche (two years in) on the mighty Wisconsin bratwurst. Roots Inn & Kitchen might be Sister Bay's best-kept secret ("and we like it that way", one local told me last summer), but not for long. With recent state and region-wide write-ups on the dining, specialty brews and especially the bratwurst, this little Sister Bay pub in a building with a long history tucked behind Husby's and across from On Deck Sister Bay won't stay a secret for long.
Roots Inn & Kitchen on the cover of Edible Door/Winter 2018 Edition
(Yep, that's actually a bratwurst on the cover courtesy Edible Door)
Also for lunch--food trucks made their first venture north from Sturgeon Bay (where you must try Nistebox and also Skaliwags, which visits Sturgeon Bay from Algoma), in 2016 and 2017 to include a delicious lunch via Truck at the new Door County Brewery and even a great offering via Truck that is parked on the corner in Liberty Grove at the gas station on Highway 57 by the Sister Bay Corner of the Past (draws a big crowd at noon, be prepared to wait and be patient). Bring your delicious lunch to go to one of our numerous nearby parks or public beaches.
Dinner is the SERIOUS meal of the day in Door County. In the summer, we meet new friends, and in the "off season" we go out to see and be seen.
The offerings are many and various, and many of our lunchtime recommendations also serve a great dinner spot (the prime rib special at Husby's on Tuesdays has been a favorite). If you want to dress up and do the town, we would highly recommend anything waterfront or waterview (check our previous offerings) because, after all, you're in DOOR COUNTY, to also include CHOP, the Wickman House, Wild Tomato/Bier Zot, The Shoreline, LURE, Pasta Vino, Thyme, JJ's/La Puerta, Chives, The Sister Bay Bowl, Harbor Fish Market, Waterfront Restaurant, the Fireside, The Shoreline, Mr. Helskinki's, The Whistling Swan, the Northern Grille, CRATE, Stone Harbor, Fred & Fuzzy's, Alexander's, Casey's and many others (we don't have time or space to name them all here). Some of these are truly fine dining experiences, so check prior for reservations and dress appropriately. Others are casual, and fine for stopping in after your day on the water, at the golf course or State Park. Fresh whitefish is a Door County staple, and the traditional Door County Fish Boil is still served at Pelletiers, The White Gull Inn, The Viking Grille, The Old Post Office Restaurant as well as a few others.
Dinner at The Wickman House is Wonderful
in Any Season
Remember, I take my task as not only your Door County real estate broker but also as your Door County tourism ambassador VERY SERIOUSLY. While we talk about homes, condominiums, businesses and vacant land, we'll also talk about where to go, what to do....and where to eat in Door County in 2018. I'll have insider secrets (like, CHOP serves a fantastic breakfast on the weekends but only in winter, you can get Sushi at the Mink River Basin on Monday's and at the AC Tap on Tuesday and if you want authentic Creole, try The Fireside in Ellison Bay). Remember, many of these businesses are seasonal, so prior to mid-May or after November 7th, call ahead first. If your own favorite or dining secret isn't mentioned here, feel free to call and share so I can update.
I think any real estate professional will tell you honestly that a large part of our job actually involves food. And a lot of it. The Door County Realtor's Restaurant Diary. When you're ready to make Door County a permanent part of your life, please visit my website at door-county-properties and contact me. I help to turn your Door County vacations into Door County traditions. And since you can't eat out every night when you're here, I'll try to find you a home with the perfect Door County kitchen that's right for your lifestyle. Find out more about Door County today.
SOMETIMES WE ALL HAVE TO COOK, BUT IF YOU'RE
COOKING IN A DOOR COUNTY WATER VIEW KITCHEN
SIMILAR TO THIS ONE-NOT TOO SHABBY!!