There’s always a hearty serving of restaurants to be found in Wisconsin, but don’t hungry Midwesterners deserve more? If you really want to treat yourself, and turn a meal into something more than just an obligatory energy renewal, pull up a chair at one of these unique Wisconsin eateries.
Where: Door County
Claim to Fame: The goats
Not only does this landmark eatery take its Swedish theme seriously, but everyone knows about the goats atop the building. Although the lively roof ornaments are partly responsible for the business’s continued success, it’s probably best this trend didn’t catch on. Website.
Claim to Fame: The animatronics
I like to consider this place the little sister of House on the Rock. Essentially, it’s like they took all the quirky animatronics that didn’t fit there, found a niche-less deli. and bestowed upon them the gift of new life. Website.
P.S. Try not to stare at the dancing feet too long.
Claim to Fame: The taxidermy
Hunting and fishing are fairly popular in Wisconsin, so taxidermy in and of itself doesn’t garner much fascination. But this place really knows how to do it. Cases upon cases are filled with woodland creatures yodeling, boxing, and wearing silly hats. Silly hats! Website.
Claim to Fame: The rocks
Yes, rocks aren’t that interesting. At least, not until you put googly eyes on them. Banking on this (rock solid) truth, the walls and floor of this small café are filled with all those art projects no one really wanted. Website.
Claim to Fame: The organs (and not the vital kind)
What could possibly go better with thin crust pizza than organ music? Instead of the usual cover bands or jukebox, the owners have been providing top notch organists for their guests’ entertainment since the '70s. Website.
Keep reading for 2 bonus eateries!
Past winners have come from all over the state, including Menomonie, Hudson, and Rice Lake, but not Eau Claire or Chippewa Falls (hint hint).
There’s growing recognition in the Chippewa Valley and elsewhere that the arts can be key to invigorating our communities. Now in their sixth year, the Arts in the Community Awards were created to recognize elected officials and other local leaders around Wisconsin “who champion innovative arts, arts education and/or creative economy programs, projects and opportunities in their communities.” The awards, presented by Arts Wisconsin and the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, are given annually to two individuals, one from a community larger than 20,000, one from a community smaller than 20,000. Past winners have come from all over the state, including Menomonie, Hudson, and Rice Lake, but not Eau Claire or Chippewa Falls (hint hint). According to Arts Wisconsin, “Nominees and their model programs or projects should demonstrate leadership through creative approaches to integrating the arts with civic strategies and have broad and diverse community support.” If this sounds like someone you know, the deadline is fast approaching: Nominations are due via email by 5pm Wednesday, Aug. 13. To learn more, visit www.artswisconsin.org or contact Anne Katz, executive director of Arts Wisconsin, at (608) 255-8316 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Creating the “world’s largest” of something may seem a daunting task, but that didn’t deter these Wisconsinites. From beer to logs, our state can boast the largest ever known! Or at least, no one has claimed otherwise!
La Crosse - Composed of six storage tanks for City Brewery (owned by the city of La Crosse), these cans not only have the look but are actually filled with beer. People who are faithful to this landmark will tell you that the new vinyl coverings are nothing compared to the original paint job. But hey, a ridiculously huge six pack is a ridiculously huge six pack, folks.
Birnamwood - Where better to have the world’s largest badger than in the Badger State? Grinning merrily with his clawed hands in the air, this badger was once atop a gas station, but after changing hands, now sits in front of a ... gentlemen’s club.
Glidden - Weighing around 3.5 tons (or 7000 pounds), this is a log worthy of its own shelter. Cut by local lumbermen, the tree itself was estimated to be between 450-500 years old. You know what else was happening back then? History.
Woodruff - In homage to a penny drive for a local hospital, the world’s largest penny was erected and has been a photo op ever since. It isn’t the most faithful rendition: it’s not made of copper, there’s nothing on the back and to be honest ... the front isn’t all that and a bag of chips either.
Sparta -If you’re in the area, you’ve got to ask about Ben Bikin. He’s a jolly fellow who likes to ride ol' timey bikes, and tell you about Sparta. Worried you might miss him? You can’t. He’s a 32 foot tall sculpture fixed to a speaker box.
Monico - Now this “world’s largest” took some serious skill, time and determination. A humble Wisconsin man took it upon himself to design and build his own planetarium in his backyard. Still not all that impressed? He painted 5,000 stars in their precise location and with their specified luminosity. Good job Frank Kovac.