In the Kitchen
Menomonie eatery Norske Kitchen & Kro cooks up ‘regional comfort food’
If you want a little more comfort food in your life, head on over to Menomonie for some true Wisconsin grub. Stephen Weber, owner of the recently opened restaurant Norske Kitchen & Kro has made Menomonie the place to be if you want to get a little more in touch with your roots.
“When I moved back to this area, what I really missed was all the great restaurants that were around here in Menomonie and Eau Claire when I was a kid, and a lot of the little places had homemade cooks in the kitchens and a lot of these people were Scandinavians, and that is a really large part of our ethic makeup in this part of Wisconsin,” Weber said.
Weber, who has been involved in and found success in the restaurant business all his life, said he loved the location of his potential future restaurant and thought what the area needed was a restaurant that excelled in making regional comfort food.
“I would not say the restaurant is a Scandinavian food restaurant, it’s really regional comfort food, we do something’s that could be considered Norwegian or Swedish or German, it’s not all Scandinavian food,” Weber said.
Some of the items on the menu include buttermilk biscuits and country gravy, mushroom-and-onion smothered New York strip, pan-seared crispy Norwegian salmon, and fresh potato lefse.
Weber said he started cooking the menu last summer when he got an idea of what type of restaurant he wanted to open. He said he appreciates all the food on his menu, but if he had to pick, he would say the sauerkraut platters are his favorite.
“Nothing is coming out of a box, nothing is coming out of a can, we are using real ingredients. I mean, it takes three days to make our gravy. The sauerkraut is homemade and takes several days to make.” – Norske Kitchen & Kro owner Stephen Weber
“Nothing is coming out of a box, nothing is coming out of a can, we are using real ingredients and cooking them from scratch,” Weber explained. “I mean, it takes three days to make our gravy. The sauerkraut is homemade and takes several days to make.”
He said the most challenging part of opening his restaurant was finding people who knew how to cook with a homemade style.
“What I found in this area were a lot of really great hard-working people as we are known for here in the Midwest,” Weber said. Many of the people did not know how to cook food from scratch, but Weber saw great potential.
“I had a bunch of really great, talented, wonderful hardworking people in here with me a month before we opened and we cooked all day, everyday,” he said. “I think, probably, I have the best crew of cooks in this part of Wisconsin.”
What Weber really hopes to accomplish with the future of his restaurant is to make an impact on the community.
“I hope we are embraced by the people in Menomonie and Eau Claire and the Chippewa Valley and that they really like what we are doing,” Weber said.
So far, the response of customers has been great.
“I am amazed at how many people are coming back four, five, six, seven times already and we have only been open a couple of weeks,” Weber said.
The restaurant is open to all age groups, and has a very Midwesterner feel. It’s a friendly, welcoming place that is not the least bit intimidating.
“Normally if you walk in the door here somebody will holler a hello to you before you even get sat down at your table,” Weber said.
And don’t worry, there’s plenty of libations to go with your food. (“Kro” – pronounced “crew” – is the Norwegian word for tavern.) They even serve a true Wisconsin brandy old fashioned sweet for $1.99 during happy hour from 4-6pm.
Weber said he has been appreciative of the business his restaurant has received and hopes Norske Kitchen & Kro will be around for many years to come so he can keep providing the community with homemade, feel-good food.
Norske Kitchen & Kro is located at 1705 Plaza Drive in Menomonie and is open from 7am-9pm daily. You can find them on Facebook for more information.