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ALL BAR, NO SAND: Island Parkside is Altoona’s Island Escape

take a tropical trip over to River Prairie’s Island Parkside

Sam Johnson |

SEA YOU SOON. Island Parkside brings a taste of paradise to the Chippewa Valley.
SEA YOU SOON. Island Parkside brings a taste of paradise to the Chippewa Valley.

Many Wisconsinites, maybe even most, get tired of the same old Wisconsin, especially during the frigid winters. Not everyone can turn snowbird and fly south for the winter, so one Altoona tiki bar found an easier option.

Island Parkside, located at 1485 Front Porch Place, Altoona, opened in March in River Prairie, bringing the heat with a new kitchen, new menu, and new energy, looking to stand out and give back. 

Owners Beth and Jed Hart – who also own a number of businesses in the Chippewa Valley, including Water Street’s Pickle and Pioneer Tavern – said they want to provide locals with a tropical escape free of plane tickets and luggage.

“It’s like Wisconsin’s Caribbean oasis,” Beth said. “Instead of bringing you to the Caribbean, we brought the Caribbean to you.”

While most customers will have to try and catch a tan locally, Nate Patton, bartender and kitchen leader, said he’s started running trivia every Thursday with raffle prizes – including a three-night trip to Turks and Caicos.

According to Jed, the menu includes a number of different flatbreads, tacos, and rice bowls; all made with the best possible ingredients. There’s also a selection of classic and unique tropical cocktails to ensure all senses are included in the island feeling. Monday through Thursday from 3 to 5 pm, everything at the Island will be 50% off.

During the warm months, the pastel-colored building is wide open, stretching out onto a patio. The harsh Wisconsin winters present some obvious weather restraints. Events like trivia and what Beth called “Island igloos” will try to fight the freeze.

Jed said they’re all grateful to be a part of the community, and because of this they have been and will continue to be giving back to organizations and groups with private event fundraising, with a percentage of proceeds going to a charity of their choice.

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