Volume One Special Coverage: Pulling Together While Staying Apart


5 Quirky Wisconsin Eateries (plus 2 That Closed)

Jasmine Ferrell

"You just haven't eaten until you've eaten with goats eatin' the roof over where you're eatin'."

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.

1) Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant & Butik

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.

2) Ella’s Deli and Ice Cream Parlor

Where: Madison
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.

3) Moccasin Bar

Hilarious vermin!
Novelty vermin!

Where: Hayward
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.

4) Rocks for Fun Café

Where: Tigerton
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.

5) Organ Piper Pizza

Where: Milwaukee
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.

And if they weren’t closed for business …

6) Polaris

Where: Milwaukee
Claim to Fame:
The ... rotating

Wisconsin’s only revolving restaurant unfortunately closed to the public some years ago (it’s still available for private events), but the memories of its magic will spin 'round forever. One rotation every seventy minutes. One rotation to steal your heart.

7) Pyramid Supper Club

Wisconsin's pointiest supper club.
Wisconsin's pointiest supper club.

Where: Beaver Dam
Claim to Fame:
The pyramid

To offer the Egyptian cuisine Wisconsinites crave, some bold restaurateurs built a pyramid-shaped restaurant outside of Beaver Dam. It's survived several reincarnations, but no one can quite keep it going. Perhaps this is the work of an angry Amun-Ra.

Lasker Jewelers
Lasker Jewelers

Pulling Together Partners

The following organizations are currently supporting Volume One’s work in the community during the pandemic:

Lasker Jewelers

L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library, Eau Claire

Downtown Eau Claire Inc DECI

University of Wisconsin Eau Claire

Pablo Group

Wisconsin Independent Network

Middle West Management

Bon Iver

Royal Credit Union

Silver Spring

Evergreen Surgical

Charter Bank

Chippewa Valley Technical College

The Murty Henriksen Family

The Larry and Marie Past Family

The Dan and Kerry Kincaid Family

Anton and Rae Schilling-Smets

Brady and Jeanne Foust

If your organization is interested in supporting Volume One during this difficult time, nick@volumeone.orgcontact us.