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Wisconsin good stuff - Chicago to Oshkosh to Manitowoc?

We're thinking of heading mid-day in June from Chicago up to Oshkosh, and then the next day we'll drive to Manitowoc to catch the 2pm ferry across Lake Michigan.

Any worthy stops for two omniverous Hounds along that path?

We'd be most interested in distinctive local things to try along the way (brats, eccentric diners, food trucks) and also casual restaurants. I don't see us going to upscale places (we'll be casually clothed). Also, we're open to provisions that could be packed in a trunk or cooler for a couple days (cheeses, etc.)

Thanks in advance for any tips!

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  1. If you are taking the northern route around the lake to get from Oshkosh to Manitowoc, I would recommend Madhouse Grill in Neenah. Food and service are both good.

    http://themadhousegrill.com/

    1. Assuming the ferrry is actually running (right now they have issues, check on it!)
      Lower than you wanted but Meisfields in Sheboygan is my favorite butcher shop. Many awesome brat flavors. Newton meats (below manitowic) has some awesome flavors, very good bacon, and my son's favorite beef patties (cheeseburger/bacon).

      I HATE to mention my favorite cheese place, but Hennings in Keil. They have been discovered - every time I go there I see out of state plates. Breaks my heart.

      Pine River cheese is close to Manitowic as well, Prices are not great, good selection, I have met many politicians there.

      There is a contingent that loves Friar Tucks outside of EAA in Oshgosh. I do not understand this, but I have seen many posts about people who have come back to EAA that love them.

      3 Replies
      1. re: exvaxman

        >>>I HATE to mention my favorite cheese place, but Hennings in Keil. They have been discovered - every time I go there I see out of state plates. Breaks my heart.<<<

        I have noticed that as well. But I would think that as a Bear's fan it would not break your heart but warm your heart to see those plates from IL. :-)

        1. re: Fowler

          The New York Times had an article a few years ago about candy/chocolate shops...there were one or two in both Oshkosh and Manitowoc. These places are 'step back in time' places where you may find things you don't elsewhere.

          Friar Tuck's would be wasted time..please don't go.

          1. re: DaKing

            I would guess the chocolate place in Oshkosh is Oaks. http://oakscandy.com/

            As for cheese, along your likely route, some people like to stop at the Mars Cheese Castle in Kenosha. I recommend stopping by Bobby Nelson's right by it. The last time I was there, I had some sausage (landjaeger, I think) which had so much lard that it almost felt a bit like eating butter or foie gras.

      2. In Manitowoc -- a few good suggestions:
        Court House Pub and 8th & York both have excellent food and great atmospheres. http://www.courthousepub.com/ 8th & York just opened.
        The Chocolate Shop that someone else mentioned is Beerntsens and it is definitely worth the trip. I love the chocolate covered toffee crunch --- YUMMM!!! http://beerntsens.com/
        And the vistas in the Manitowoc area of Lake Michigan is stunning -- drive the shore from Manitowoc to Two Rivers for beaches and views that rival the ocean!

        1. when you get across to Ludington, presuming the boat is running, you might stop at Chuck Wagon (on the road to the state park). the owner, Rick, is a good guy and they make the best pizza I've ever had. Almost worth taking the boat across just to eat there!

          1. Kopp's outside of Milwaukee for the best custard, and great chicken sandwiches, as well a burgers with nieman ranch bacon. right off of silver springs drive, port washington rd. also the brat stop is an insitution in kenosha, wi (I-94 and Hwy 50).