Door County Report -- JJ's Waterfront, Wave Pointe resort, Malvitz produce stand
I haven't seen much in the way of Door County reviews on CH, so I thought I'd contribute my own findings from our recent visit over Fourth of July weekend.
JJ's Waterfront -- Mrs Brewer and I had a lovely sunset dinner at JJ's in Sister Bay. Mrs B started with truffled pappardelle in a Parmesan fondue, followed by the veal osso bucco; I started with charred tomato lobster bisque, followed by dayboat scallops with cilantro corn and sweet potato-bacon ravioli (sounds odd, but it worked). Everything was very good, but the truffled pappardelle stole the show. Overall, good food, friendly and attentive service, and a very pretty view of the sunset over Sister Bay harbor. A bit on the pricey side for the quality, but not outrageous, given location and the likely cost of bringing in high-quality ingredients to Sister Bay.
Wave Pointe -- Wave Pointe is a smallish resort/marina on Little Sturgeon Bay (S of Sturgeon Bay on the Bay side). This was my first experience there, as we were drawn by rumors of a $6 early-bird (pre-5pm) lake perch dinner at their bar. It turned out to be true, and we each enjoyed 4 above-average butterfly fillets, fries, coleslaw, and bread for practically pocket change. An incredible value, especially for a transplanted Sconnie who can no longer find a good Friday perch fry at home. A very solid and respectable representation of your traditional WI bar perch fry.
Malvitz Bay Farm fruit "stand" -- Just west of Stevenson Pier Rd on County C is the Malvitz family farm, which includes a drive-up (air conditioned!) fruit stand, selling strawberries, raspberries, sweet and tart cherries, peas, and jams made from their produce. The raspberries, rainier cherries, and jam were all very good, and worth a stop if you're in the area and interested in local produce.
Any other little Door County treasures off the beaten track that people have found? Other favorites for us that weren't included in this visit are Marchant's grocery in Brussels (great bakery and butcher shop) and Sweetie Pies, south of Fish Creek (ROCKIN' pies!).
We love Sweetie Pies!! My husband is from the Chicago area and we try to visit Door County every summer when we visit. Some of our faves: Fried perch at the Sister Bay Bowl (weekend only, i think), anything at Fred and Fuzzies (outdoor dining at the Little Sister Resort in Sister Bay)...the food is simple and good, but the waterfront locale can't be beat, frozen custard at Not Licked Yet (Fish Creek?). Those are my faves. Will be there in a month and cannot wait!!!
By way of background I have spent summers at my family's cabin in Door County every year since 1968. I went to John Martin's Restaurant in Sturgeon Bay for the first time this past week and thought the food was very good. The atmosphere is quite casual and family friendly. I also like the Neighborhood Pub and Grill. For fish boils we like The White Gull Inn in Fish Creek. They also have a good breakfast. Other good places for breakfast are The Inn at Cedar Crossing in Sturgeon Bay and The Viking in Ellison Bay. I also like to carry out a whitefish sandwich from The Viking to take to Newport State Park for a picnic and hike. Another good place for a carry-out in the northern part of the peninsula is Charlie's Smokehouse in Gills Rock. Fantastic smoked whitefish and chubs. Smoked chubs are getting hard to find, so if you see them snap them up. For anyone self-catering Marchant's Butcher shop in Sturgeon Bay is excellent. Try the trippe, a local variation of bratwurst that includes cabbage. It is a wonderful local treat.
Thanks for starting this post! It was a great help for our August trip. So to add to the collective knowledge...
I second White Gull Inn (Fish Creek) for breakfast and fish boil. And Fred and Fuzzy's was really a great place for casual dinner. The burgers are pretty good.
Julie Park Cafe (Fish Creek): Great breakfast. Good coffee, and housemade strawberry rhubarb jam. Praline french toast was tasty. (Very child friendly.)
The Cookery (Fish Creek): classics with a creative twist. delicious club sandwich. eggplant fries (!) the potato salad was tasty. cherry vinaigrette was an inspiration (but a bit sweet for other diners at the table).
Wilsons (Fish Creek): Ice Cream. Required eating.
Al Johnsons (Sister Bay): classic with the goats on the roof. Swedish meatballs not quite hot. Sort of typical tourist fare. But, the swedish part of the menu has some classics that we've not seen outside of Stockholm. So I'm intrigued but haven't ventured to that side of the menu.
Has anyone tried Trio?
re: gastro nomad
Thanks, GN. Our last trip to Trio was on our anniversary, ten years ago. While we enjoyed dinner then, that data point is more than a little stale!
A couple other favorites that we've enjoyed on our travels through Door County:
Summer Kitchen (Ephraim) - Nice, scratch-made sandwiches, bread, and soups. They're especially known for their soup bar, which comes with every entree. It's a bit pricey, but I think you have to expect a little bit of price premium for that quality of scratch cooking that far up the peninsula. http://thesummerkitchen.com
Door County Ice Cream Factory (Sister Bay) -- Lots of house-made ice cream favorites. We just got straight ice-cream, but I'm wishing we'd tried the "chipper sandwich" (vanilla ice cream sandwiched between chocolate chip cookies, rolled in chocolate chips). http://doorcountyicecream.com
re: gastro nomad
I love Al Johnson's, but it is often impossibly crowded. If I pull up when a tour bus is there, I just skip it and go on to Ellison Bay and The Viking Grill. The swedish meatballs and swedish pancakes are good, but the house made pickled herring is the real reason to brave the crowds there.
Ye Olde Playboy magazines used to talk about Door County all the time there was a certain mystique in my young mind. This was when the Playboy mansion and business was based in Chicago. Playboy was done after they moved to (Live and Die in) L.A.
Door County was the recreational backyard for Chicago (and still is) I believe there was illegal gambling and such back in the day. Racially integrated music venues, being a semi-wide open summer place where you did things you don't normally do