Thoughts Food+Drink

Chippewa Valley Date Night Hot Spots: Get Heated This Summer!

a handful of restaurants worth a date-night drive, from a local

Kelly Carlson, photos by Andrea Paulseth |

SPICE UP YOUR DINNER DATE PLANS! Treat yourself and your partner or friend to a night of good conversation and great food, suggested by this Chippewa Valley local! (Pictured is Lucette's Brewing Co.)

SPICE UP YOUR DINNER DATE PLANS. Treat yourself and your partner or friend to a night of good conversation and great food, suggested by this Chippewa Valley local! (Pictured is Lucette's Brewing Co.)

There’s nothing better than fried food (the Wisconsin way), ordering wine you can’t afford (you deserve it), and listening to others’ conversations at dinner with your boo! Date night is a chance to connect and laugh with your partner while pretending you’re out at a high-end restaurant in New York or enjoying that small-town joint you’ll never get sick of. Need an excuse to try somewhere new? Here’s your sign! These are my top seven restaurants in the Valley for date night (in no particular order).

1. Tokyo Japanese Restaurant, Eau Claire

2426 London Rd., E.C.

With the best ramen in town in a traditional dining setting, this restaurant is the perfect excuse to break out your new dress or fancy pants. The ambiance provided by soft, traditional Japanese music envelops your eating experience, Tokyo Japanese Restaurant specializes in a few mouth-watering eats that are always a knock-out.

2. The Nucleus Café, Eau Claire

405 Water St., E.C.

Who doesn't love a breakfast date?! With to-die-for skillets, extra creamy crépes, some of the best mochas in town, and a separate vegan menu, The Nucleus Café has me and my partner wrapped around its finger. I’ll always join the wait list for fun staff and community clamoring with joy around you while you enjoy your own Crunch Wrap Supreme, E.C. style.

3. Lucette Woodfire Eatery, Menomonie

910 Hudson Rd., Menomonie

This place just simply shouldn’t be as good as it is. The ingredients are simple yet always taste fresh and delicious, the outdoor dining is refreshing and bright, and the atmosphere is always fun! Lucette’s makes me remember I actually love pizza. Or maybe it’s just Lucette’s.

4. Sheeley House Saloon, Chippewa Falls

236 W River St., C.F.

THE BEST VEGGIE BURGER I’VE EVER HAD. Seriously! With a classic Midwestern bar in the basement and a classy, bright upstairs dining area, Sheeley House has all things incredible. The drinks are custom and the truffle fries? Get out of here (and go to Sheeley House Saloon).

5. Houligans Steak & Seafood Pub, Eau Claire

415 S. Barstow St., E.C.

This place is all about the atmosphere. The stained-glass windows and wooden walls are so incredibly cozy. The food is great, and the drinks are even better. It’s quiet and just the right spot for a simple night.

6. Akame Sushi, Eau Claire

4056 Commonwealth Ave., E.C.

Akame not only has all-you-can-eat sushi, but it also has my favorite food of the Valley: vegetable fried rice! Truly the best, it’s got all the onions, broccoli, and carrots cooked to perfection that makes my vegetarian heart flutter. Don’t forget the yum yum sauce!

7. The Good Wives, Eau Claire

2161 Eastridge Center, E.C.

Let’s face it: this one is for the girls. With a rotating menu filled with high-end small plates, salads, and large plates, plus an extensive wine menu, there’s always something to look forward to. Treat yourself and your friends to a dinner (or brunch!) worth the buzz!

My last hot take: I’ve never been to some of the “classic” or more popular Valley eateries (including Mona Lisa’s, Silly Serrano Mexican Restaurant, or The Eau Claire Cheese & Deli). None of us are perfect! Remember, these are just my top picks right now. Where is your go-to date night spot?