With cold weather in the rearview, sunny days are made for dining outdoors to enjoy the sizzling smells of summer that seem to waft through every Wisconsin small town and city block. This week Travel Wisconsin has recommendations for outdoor dining with incredible cuisine perfectly paired with incredible views.
Appleton (Winnebago County)
Rivertyme Bistro opened in June of 2020 and is a must stop dining experience offering local and worldly dishes in the heart of Appleton. With 32 outdoor seats facing spectacular views of the Fox River dam’s roaring rapids, Rivertyme Bistro cheekily claims to have the “best dam view” in Appleton. Their around-the-world “Ports of Call” menu features queso dip from Mexico and baguettes from France, while other sections of the menu feature local items like bagels from Appleton’s Bagelicious. The drink selection is second to none with a coffee and liquor bar offering seasonal drinks and a spunky cocktail menu, along with an impressive wine list. Try the “Pain Killer” cocktail – a rum based drink with coconut cream, orange and pineapple juice, finished with nutmeg. After a delicious meal, take a scenic river cruise at Fox River Tours, who offer guided boat tours along the Fox River upon two restored passenger riverboats – one in De Pere and one in Appleton. Before or after dinner climb aboard River Tyme Too – the 32 passenger restored canal boat offering public and charter tours on the Fox River in Appleton from mid May – end of October.
Prairie Du Chien (Crawford County)
Get a taste of a burger that’s been served to perfection for the last 112 years at Pete’s Hamburger Stand in Prairie Du Chien. A kerosene cookstove mounted to a small table is where Pete Gokey started slinging burgers unlike any other in 1909. He simmered the patties in onions and a splash of water which gave them a unique flavor and lasting freshness – allowing him to create possibly one of the first fast food businesses in history! Today, a green and white pinstriped awning spells PETE’S in white block lettering on small kitchen trailer on Blackhawk Ave, the same location the original stand started. You won’t have a hard time deciding what to get – the menu has only one item. Pete’s Burger. You can get your hamburger with or without onions on buns made at Huckleberry’s Restaurant in Prairie du Chien, with a bag of potato chips and can of soda. Top your burger with ketchup, mustard and salt and pepper. Take your burger and stroll downtown through downtown Prairie Du Chien, Wisconsin’s second oldest city and stop by The Planted Tree. The Planted Tree represents over 35 of the area’s local artists. Fine art, quality hand-crafted gifts are nestled among vintage finds. If you’re looking to stay as close to the Prairie Du Chein nightlight as possible, spend the night at the River District Hotel – the only hotel downtown, adjacent to multiple restaurants and stores.
Pepin (Pepin County)
Villa Bellezza Winery & Vineyard’s restaurant il Forno (The Oven) Ristorante is set on a vineyard out of a Sicilian dream. Il Forno chef, Antonio Cecconi, was born and raised in Italy, where he learned his craft at the best school, his mother’s kitchen. The menu includes pizzas made from scratch, pasta dishes baked to perfection in the il forno wood-fired brick oven and specialty weekend dinners from Chef Antonio. Guests can dine in the restaurant, where every table has a view of the activities in the kitchen and wood-fired oven; however we recommend enjoying your meal fountain-side out on the Piazza to take in all the spectacular vineyard views! With delectable homemade wines, authentic food, stunning architecture amidst a sweeping country vineyard, you might forget you’re in Wisconsin and not Italy! While you’re in Pepin, don’t miss the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum and Birthplace. The museum offers displays, memorabilia, antiques and souvenirs about Laura and the pioneer era, established upon the three acres that Laura was born and grew up on. Spend the night in Pepin at the Harbor Hill Inn, a charming green Victorian country home and guesthouse. Enjoy amenities like a full English breakfast, luxurious rooms and a sundrenched solarium filled with cozy furniture and luscious vegetation.
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For more great travel ideas and resources, visit TravelWisconsin.com or call 1-800-432-TRIP.