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Chicago to Racine, WI - Frozen Custard

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  • c8w Jun 25, 2004 02:02 AM
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Will be making the drive from the North burbs of
Chicago to Racine,WI sometime soon (probably
early next week). Are there any good spots along
the way (or in Racine itself, or nearby) for
really good Frozen Custard?

I know Ive seen a couple of Culver's signs along
the way, but a couple of those are around in
the Chicago burbs too - theyre ok, but I wonder
if there are any better spots along the way?
No outlet for Kopp's obviously (and I wont be
going all the way to Milwaukee so thats
unfortunately out). Any other spots that really
stand out? Anyone have any other ideas?

c8w

P.S. While we're at it, anything really outstanding
for breakfast/bruch in the area either? I think
Ive once stopped at Apple Holler along the
highway (and once in Racine itself, at a
breakfast spot of some kind - Ham n Egger or
some such). Any must-trys nearby, or along
or nearby I-94?

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  1. Old Dutch Custard on Spring Street (County Road C, between SRs 31 and 38) offers decent custard.

    But what you need to eat in Racine is Danish pastry, particularly kringle. I favor Bendtsen's Bakery on Washington St. (SR 20 at Grove), which has the best "old time" flavor.

    Down the block on the other side of the street is Larsen's, which also makes good kringle, though what they really excell at are cakes and all sorts of other pastries; Larsen's has a much wider selection of goods than Bendstens; my wife particularly goes for their poppyseed sweet rolls.

    The third baker of choice is O&H Danish Bakery on Durant Avenue (SR 11 near Lathrop). It's ensconced in what appears at first to be a convenience store, Danish Uncle, but in essence is a wonderland of Danish and other Scandinavian goodies including rollepolse, my favorite cold cut in the world (basically brined, herbed and pressed flanks of pork/lamnb and/or veal). I believe O&H has its main bakery on the other side of town, on Douglas.

    Bendtsen's has an adjacent cafe, and although I'm not certain if they do eggs and such (I think they do), the beauty is you can pick out your pastry at Bendtsen's and eat it there with some coffee.

    Whatever you do, DO NOT try Lehman's kringle, or anything marked as coming from "Racine Kringle" bakery (which isn't in Racine).

    Oh, yes, you may ask what is a kringle. It's the pluperfect Danish pastry, an oval of multitudinous buttery pastry layers (the oval is about 18" long, and the "sides" are about 4" wide and 1/2" to 3/4" thick) and either topped with nuts (pecan is the gold standard) or filled with one of many different fillings, mostly fruit. The raspberry is good, but doesn't travel well, whereas the pecan does. Among the non-traditional flavors, I particularly enjoy the almond macaroon at Bendtsen's.

    11 Replies
    1. re: Bob Libkind

      I want to second the Bendsen's suggestion. The Pecan Kringle is one of the best things I have ever eaten.

      Link: http://www.bendtsensbakery.com

      1. re: Bob Libkind

        >Old Dutch Custard on Spring Street (County Road
        >C, between SRs 31 and 38) offers decent custard.

        Thanks for the rec - will try it. Did a search on
        google after posting, and found a mention of a
        spot in Racine called "Caesars" too, I presume
        Old Dutch is the better of the two? And nothing
        on the route from Chicago to Racine is as good
        either?

        >But what you need to eat in Racine is Danish
        >pastry, particularly kringle. I favor Bendtsen's
        > Bakery on Washington St. (SR 20 at Grove), which
        >has the best "old time" flavor.

        I know of Bendtsen's - maybe from you (first heard
        of it on this board). Have already been there a
        couple of times and have tried their kringles, and
        that stop was already written in stone when I
        posted the above query :-)



        >Bendtsen's has an adjacent cafe, and although I'm
        >not certain if they do eggs and such (I think they
        >do), the beauty is you can pick out your pastry
        >at Bendtsen's and eat it there with some coffee.

        I dont think they do eggs and such, at least they
        didnt used to a few months ago (maybe that has
        changed now). You could do some pastry and
        coffee etc, but that was about it.

        >Oh, yes, you may ask what is a kringle. It's

        Of course I dont ask what is a kringle. What do
        I look like, a rube from Chicago? (Dont answer
        that :-)

        >the pluperfect Danish pastry, an oval of
        >multitudinous buttery pastry layers (the oval is
        >about 18" long, and the "sides" are about 4"
        >wide and 1/2" to 3/4" thick) and either topped
        >with nuts (pecan is the gold standard) or filled
        >with one of many different fillings, mostly
        >fruit. The raspberry is good, but doesn't travel
        >well, whereas the pecan does. Among the non-
        >traditional flavors, I particularly enjoy the
        >almond macaroon at Bendtsen's.

        I must confess, the 2 trips Ive made to Bendtsens
        to date, Ive only tried the almond kringle (small
        piece) right there in the cafe. And Ive carried
        a "full size" kringle back home both times, and
        both times it has been the "turtle" (pecan,
        chocolate, etc). Chose that the first time,
        thought it was very very good, and so stuck to
        that choice the second time as well. I think I
        will probably stick with it for a third consecutive
        time too :-) (Actually, come to think of it, I
        think on my second trip I tried a small piece of
        pecan in their cafe I think).

        Your recs are raspberry and/or almond macaroon,
        then? They do have pieces there (basically a few
        big kringles are cut up into smaller pieces sold
        individually, for those who havent been). Maybe
        this time I'll try one of both of those while
        in their cafe - they'll have to do a lot to
        convince me to take em over the turtle, but I
        shall give them a fair shot at it :-)

        Thanks again for the Old Dutch rec - will probably
        try that on the way back.

        c8w

        1. re: Bob Libkind

          Why do you not favor Lehman's in Racine, WI. Thought their Kringles were terrific! Are you a former employee?

          1. re: Susan

            Lehmann's is a more mass-produced kringle, lacking the many layered texture of Bendtsen's and others. (Sorry for the delayed reply, I've been otherwise occupied.)

            1. re: Bob Libkind

              My family, The Karls Family have been customers for many years. My Grandmother and Grandfather have both passed away but I am hoping that you are the company that they drove to Racine, WI specifically for Kringles. By the way my cousin worked for you for years, Debbie Karls. If this sounds familiar please contact me because I would love to get Kringles shipped to me all the time if possible. If you are not the company I am looking for can you direct me into the right direction?
              Thanks,
              Skye Karls

            2. re: Susan
              j
              Joie Henderson

              I was wondering if you have an on line ordering system. I used to order from you but the phone number I have for you is not in service. How can I order from you? I used to phone the orders in. I ordered from a different company this year and the Kringles were ok but not as good as yours. Hoping to hear from you.
              Joie Henderson

            3. re: Bob Libkind

              I have received mail orders from Bendtsen's bakery at Christmas and wanted to order from them but cannot find a website. Does nayone know if they have one, and if they still take mail orders?

              1. re: Bob Libkind

                I am in Florida. I just received an air shipment of ten Bendtsens kringles and they are CRUD! The crusts are actually burned on top and the edges are as thick and dry as a grocery store pie. And, they have no frosting. At an average of $11 per kringle I expect better. In fact, I can get Lehman's at our local Sam's Club for $3.75 a copy.

                1. re: Dan

                  There's more. I called Bendtsen's to complain and was told I had to ship them back, at my expense, to get any kind of adjustment. Since I'd already spent $50 to have them air shipped I'm not about to spend more. For those who want Bendtsens over O&H - buyer beware!!

                2. re: Bob Libkind
                  s
                  Samantha Verheyen

                  That's a very nice compliment on Bendtsen's, and I do agree. There really is an actual difference between Bendtsen's and other danish bakery's in the racine area. Bendtsens is the only place that still makes the kringles by hand and the only ones who use butter instead of shortening, which drives the price up a little, but it's well worth it in taste. Bendtsens is also still family owned going on, I think, 5 generations. Also, I think Racine Kringle is in Racine but its a factory produced type of kringle that is sold in supermarkets all over, it isn't very good. The reason I know so much about Bendtsens is because I used to work there. It was my first job and they really are nice people. Thanks for the wonderful compliment, I'll have to let them know they are much apprecitated.

                  1. re: Samantha Verheyen

                    O&H Bakery serves Racine's best kringle.