We're heading for Door County for the first time. Trying to figure out where to stay for a few days is daunting. We're thinking of Sturgeon Bay. We'd like to go someplace with a decent amount to do within walking distance, close to some restaurants/bars that's just fun...I'm looking at Cliff Dwellers because it looks pretty, (and I can smoke on the balcony!). Any ideas/recommendations?
I love Door County in the fall! Our favorite place for breakfast is in Sister Bay at the Sister Bay Cafe. Best waffles ever. Another favorite restaurant in Sister Bay is The Inn at Kristofers for dinner. Upscale dining with casual dress allowed. It has a good view of Green Bay across the street. For a traditional Door County Fish Boil, The White Gull Inn in Fish Creek is very good. The Cookery in Fish Creek is also good for breakfasts and lunches. I have not had dinner at The Cookery but I'm sure they are great as well.
Door County has several towns with good restaurants/bars in a small, walkable area, including not only Sturgeon Bay, but also Fish Creek, Sister Bay, and, to a lesser extent, Egg Harbor, Baileys Harbor, and Ellison Bay.
For reliably good food - not anything unusual, just American food that's well prepared and reasonably priced, as well as a nice bar, about two miles east of Fish Creek is Greenwood Supper Club. Excellent prime rib. This is where the locals go for good food. www.greenwoodsupperclub.net
I had dinner last August at the Whistling Swan Inn, at Fish Creek. It was one of the best meals I've ever had. Kind of casual elegance: there's a porch dining room with views of the town where we sat - very nice - contemporary American menu, lots of seafood. Decent wine list. There's a lot of shopping and nick nack shops in the vicinity if that's your cup of tea.
I spent summers my whole life in Door County, and my folks have lived there permanently for the last 14 years, so I've seen a lot of places come and go. Some of the best places in Door County are, in no particular order:
Alexander's (Fish Creek)
Inn at Kristofer's (Sister Bay)
The Shoreline (Gills Rock)
T Ashwell's (Ellison Bay)
The Waterfront (Sister Bay)
The best fish boil in town right now is at the Old Post Office in Ephraim (they also have yummy brunches). The fish is perfectly cooked (VERY important), and its a nice place.
Mission Grille in Sister Bay is nice, but I think its overpriced for what it is.
Everyone talks about Al Johnson's in Sister Bay, the place with the goats on the roof. The food there is good, but I don't think its worth waiting for a table, like so many do (its not like you can see the goats from inside!). If you want to go, go for dinner when its less crowded. Try the perch!
Also, have a whitefish sandwich anywhere in Door County that is serving it freshly caught in the area. YUM!!!
I want to second a couple of things. The Old Post Office in Ephraim has the best fish boil, hands down. Be sure to make a reservation. And at The Shoreline in Gills Rock you have to try the Whitefish Chowder. The Smoked Whitefish Wrap is also good. And The Greenwood Supper Club is a classic. Enjoy!