Why Foodies Need To Visit The Northwoods
My parents started coming to the Western U.P. Of Michigan & The Northwoods of Wisconsin twenty years ago when they started dating. Specifically they came to Watersmeet, Michigan which sits immediately over the border of Land O Lakes, Wisconsin. They would camp in the Ottawa National Forest and eventually bought land and built their dream lake house seven years ago.
I came up for the first time the first Summer the house was built and immediately fell in love with the area.
I secretly believe I was a “Yooper” in a past life because I feel so at home here. There are so many reasons to love the area but of course great food is a big reason my passion for the U.P. burns so strong.
This area is truly a Foodie’s paradise. Old school supper clubs, roadside food stands, outstanding bar food, fish frys, Saturday night prime rib specials…I could go on and on.
I have been dining out here for seven years and I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of places to try.
We do have several places we make sure to visit each time we are here. I am definitely going to do a follow-up post as I continue to explore, but for now, here are my pick six and what I believe, a little something for every taste.
For a “fancier” night out, check out the The Redman Supper Club in Land O Lakes, Wisconsin.
The Redman Supper Club
Land O Lakes,Wisconsin
The Redman has been a Northwoods Staple for years. It was recently purchased by a new owner and remodeled to upgrade the look but also maintain the Northwoods Supper Club Charm. This is our special night out place. Our favorite thing to do is sit at the bar have drinks and appetizers and enjoy their phenomenal dinners. My number one thing to get here is their Macadamia Nut Crusted Chicken. It has a light beurre blanc sauce with capers and is served with mashed potatoes and fresh veggies. I dream of this dish at home and it’s one of the things I look forward to most when I come up.
They also have some of the best cheese curds I’ve ever had and are served with a house made Dill Ranch dipping sauce.
For a fun place to snowmobile or ATV to, Rogers Bar in Watersmeet, Michigan.
This place never ceases to amaze me. All of the food, a simple offering of burgers, sandwiches, soups and chilis, comes out of a little area in the corner of the bar. They are serving up some fabulous food using nothing but a crock pot, hot plate and microwave. In the winter it’s a great spot to snowmobile, where you can warm up by their big stove, stash your helmet and gear in the specially built-in cubbies and warm yourself up with food and great drinks.
Each table has a little basket with different varieties of taco sauces and little cards to choose your toppings. Turn it into the bartender and they will deliver up a basket of taco perfection.
They are a family owned business, that are killing the food scene in the area. Did I mention the cool Blender mugs they serve up Taco Tuesday Margaritas in!?
My Cousin Crista Enjoying a Taco Tuesday Margarita
If you’re craving pizza and think you should wait to get back to Chicago, you’re wrong. Some of the best pizza in the world is being made in Land O Lakes, Wisconsin at TJ Grizzlies Pizza
Land O Lakes, Wisconsin
The pizza here is to die for. In the Winter when its freezing cold and snow is waist deep, walking in this place where it’s warm and smells like pizza heaven is reason enough to brave the cold.
There’s only about six tables in the place and there are only a couple of varieties of beer and wine offered, a few simple appetizers that are also delicious, but the pizza is all you need. Our go to pie is sausage, mushroom and onion, (pictured above). It’s truly some of the best pizza I’ve ever had.
We love going here any time of year, in the Summer it does get crowded so a lot of times we pre-order so it’s ready when we get there. We also order par baked pies and they finish off nicely at home in your oven. I’m still trying to figure out if I can bring one of these home to Chicago.
A local favorite for bar food that’s next level is Brew’s Pub, also located in Land O Lakes, Wisconsin.
Land O Lakes, Wisconsin
Lately we actually find ourselves here more than once a visit. The fried food is magical. They make even the simplest of bar food spectacular. One of the appetizers we love the most is their fried mini tacos, served with a sour cream salsa dipping sauce, they are surely a beer drinkers dream food pairing.
Mini Tacos with Sour Cream Salsa
Brews Pub also serves up some of the best damn egg rolls I’ve ever had. I don’t know who works their fryer but everything is always perfectly crisp and not greasy.
We love to go here for their sandwiches too. My favorite is called the Lavergne and Shirley and it is a classic liver sausage sandwich on toast. Delicious.
Finally, the big dog, the reason to go here. The Wednesday special broasted chicken. Oh My God. Best fried chicken anywhere, hands down. Served with homemade mashed potatoes and gravy, fresh green beans and a lovely dinner salad. All of this for under $10. Better get there early because they sell out! Once you taste it, you will see why.
Broasted Chicken, Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans
Brew’s Pub is family owned and operated and is a perfect place to go with the kids, to watch sports, hang out, and have some really great food and drinks.
Next up, a little road side BBQ in Watersmeet, Michigan. Little Pigs BBQ.
Bobby and his wife are serving up some mind-blowing smoked BBQ goodness in a little trailer stand on the side of the road on Highway 45. Bobby smokes all his meat on his Traeger Grill outside his home and he’s one of the most passionate Foodies I’ve met.
I had an amazing pulled pork sandwich on a fresh roll. The pork was smoked using his secret rub and shaved thin on a meat slicer. My mom had rib tips that she’s still talking about today.
With cute little tables and picnic benches and Bobby’s enthusiasm about food you really feel like you’re eating someplace special and not on the side of the highway.
My last stop for today is at a place called The Bear Trap Inn back in Land O Lakes, Wisconsin.
Land O Lakes, Wisconsin
In my opinion this place offers the ultimate Supper Club experience. It’s a little log cabin of deliciousness in the middle of the Northwoods. There is a gorgeous pond in back with fish and pretty plants. There’s a great big bar to sit at serving up some perfect classic cocktails and most importantly delicious food.
The Bear Trap Inn Old Fashioned
The last couple of times they were out of the Pork Schnitzel which tells me it’s good. This last time I was able to get it. It was definitely worth the wait. Thinly sliced, breaded and pan fried perfectly.
They also offer your typical Supper Club meals, prime rib, steaks, seafood and some great appetizers.
The service is awesome to boot. Friendly bartenders and great servers.
This is the place you want to go to have the authentic Supper Club experience.
My parents enjoying a drink at the bar
Classic Gin Martini with Bleu Cheese Olives
The whole area takes you back to another era and the food scene can easily compete with any big city. It is definitely a foodie destination. These six I mentioned are just a sampling of all the great food in the U.P. There is something for every taste. I look forward to trying new places and revisiting my old favorites. You should definitely come check it out for yourself.
For more information about the restaurants check it out the links to my pick 6.