clock menu more-arrow no yes
A bridge over water in Door County.
Door County is about 250 miles from Chicago.
Shutterstock

Where to Eat While Visiting Door County, Wisconsin

Fresh culinary energy is surging in this Midwest vacation favorite

View as Map
Door County is about 250 miles from Chicago.
| Shutterstock

Chicagoans are spoiled for choice when it comes to driving-distance spots for short vacations or weekend getaways. But for city folks who long for dose of quaintness and small (read: tiny) town charm, Door County — which features 300 miles of shoreline and occupies most of Wisconsin’s Door Peninsula — is the place to be. The region’s dining scene, once largely populated by ice cream parlors and bar-and-grille style spots, has flourished in recent years and now touts natural wine bars, a fourth-wave coffee shop, and destination farm-to-table restaurants. Here are Eater Chicago’s choices for some of the best dining and drinking spots from Ellison Bay to Egg Harbor.

Studies indicate that there is a lower exposure risk when outdoors, but the level of risk involved with patio dining is contingent on restaurants following strict social distancing and other safety guidelines. The latest CDC guidance for vaccinated diners during the COVID-19 outbreak is here; dining out still carries risks for unvaccinated diners and workers.

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Wickman House

Copy Link
11976 Mink River Rd
Ellison Bay, WI 54210
(920) 854-3305
Visit Website

Tucked inside a historic inn in the tiny town of Ellison Bay, Wickman House has established itself as must-stop spot for serious diners in the area. The team smartly weds strong technique to local agriculture with menu options like a tarte tatin of foraged local mushrooms and ricotta gnocci with braised rabbit (smoked carrots, grilled chard, rabbit bacon). The food is alluring, but don’t overlook the lively cocktail list.

2. Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant & Butik

Copy Link
10698 N Bay Shore Dr
Sister Bay, WI 54234
(920) 854-2626
Visit Website

A trip Door County is always enhanced by a visit to Al Johnson’s — a legendary 60-year-old Swedish restaurant that’s widely known for the small herd of goats that happily munches on its sod-covered roof. But beyond an abundance of hype and Scandinavian tchotchkes, a menu featuring perfectly-griddled Swedish pancakes with lingonberries and Friday fish fries celebrates the nostalgic flavors of childhood for many Wisconsinites.

3. CHOP

Copy Link
2345 Mill Rd
Sister Bay, WI 54234
(920) 854-2700
Visit Website

Sister Bay natives and visitors beat a path to Chop, a destination for beef fans that eschews the fussiness of many Chicago steakhouses in favor of a mellow atmosphere with lots of natural wood and industrial-style fixtures. There’s no need to wear a tie or heels to indulge in tender ribeyes, New York strips, pan-seared scallops, and 12-ounce bone-in pork chops.

4. Door County Creamery

Copy Link
10653 N Bay Shore Dr
Sister Bay, WI 54234
(920) 854-3388
Visit Website

This charming goat dairy farm and creamery has it all: tons of fresh and aged cheeses, habit-forming goat milk gelato in flavors like raspberry panna cotta and olive oil with sea salt, a menu of sandwiches and soups, and handmade goat milk soaps. The icing (or chevre) on top is a family-friendly tour featuring a bevy of the farm’s adorable and extremely friendly hoofed residents.

5. Roots Inn & Kitchen

Copy Link
2378 Maple Dr
Sister Bay, WI 54234
(920) 854-5107
Visit Website

This cozy, quirky inn with a public-facing cafe is relative newcomer compared to many of Door County’s long-running vacation retreats, but over five years its lunch menu has accrued a passionate fanbase. First timers would be wise to opt for a locally-made Waseda Farms bratwurst with a rotating selection of fixings; locals also love the bread pudding served with lemon sauce and Door County Creamery gelato.

6. Pearl Wine Cottage

Copy Link
3058 Church St
Ephraim, WI 54211

This quaint wine bar’s name is no misnomer: Pearl is housed inside a precious century-old cottage that owners spent a year renovating themselves. Patrons can expect a thoughtful assortment wines with special attention paid to organic and biodinamic options, plus a small patio for open-air imbibing.

7. Ephraim Coffee Lab

Copy Link
3055 Church St
Ephraim, WI 54211

The home base for single-origin roastery Isely Coffee Roasters, Ephraim Coffee Lab keeps caffeine fiends in high spirits with manual espresso drinks and nitro cold brew. Grab a cup and sidle down Church Street for sweeping lakefront views just as the buzz hits the bloodstream.

8. Trixie’s Food and Wine

Copy Link
9996 Pioneer Ln
Ephraim, WI 54211
(920) 854-8008

Fortunately for locals and out-of-towners, Ephraim is home to another top-notch wine bar: Trixie’s, an idyllic sister spot to Wickman House in Ellison Bay. Knowledgeable staff provide thoughtful guidance for navigating the wine list, which emphasizes offerings from women winemakers, plus a menu of fresh pastas, spring vegetables, and more.

9. White Gull Inn

Copy Link
4225 Main St
Fish Creek, WI 54212
(920) 868-3517
Visit Website

Fish boils are a staple of Wisconsin culinary culture — a festive opportunity to gather (a few feet away) around a massive cast-iron kettle of boiling water filled with wire baskets of fish and red potatoes. A splash of kerosene on the fire underneath creates a pillar of flame, causing the kettle to overboil in a fun and slightly terrifying spectacle for onlookers. Door County has plenty of fish boils to choose from, but the dinner-and-a-show at Fish Creek’s 125-year-old White Gull Inn is a true classic of the form. Wrap up the feeding frenzy with a slice of local cherry pie.

10. Shiny Moon Café

Copy Link
4164 Main St
Fish Creek, WI 54212

Shiny Moon Cafe, a newish venture from prolific area entrepreneur Angie McMahon (Door County Brewing Co., Hacienda Beer Co.), is already cultivating a following with comforting fare like quiche du jour, Eggs in Purgatory, and duck confit hash with banana peppers. Find it on the second floor of the Fish Creek Market.

11. Door County Confectionery

Copy Link
4199 Main St
Fish Creek, WI 54212
(920) 868-3863
Visit Website

Fudge is a Fish Creek tradition, and thus tends to get top billing among all the sweet treats in the region. Door County Confectionary has been putting out some of the best in area — alongside other delectable hits like English toffee and saltwater taffy — for nearly 50 years. Patrons can find additional outposts in Ephraim, Sister Bay, and Sturgeon Bay.

12. Not Licked Yet Frozen Custard

Copy Link
4054 Main St
Fish Creek, WI 54212
(920) 868-2617
Visit Website

Frozen custard — the rich, dense cousin of ice cream — is another decadent Midwestern delight that’s especially delicious in the summer. Not Licked Yet has served regulars and new patrons for nearly four decades and still draws long lines for its popular sundaes and scoops of chocolate, vanilla, and butter pecan. The kitschy log cabin-style spot also has a kid-friendly patio filled with flowers and decorative gnomes.

13. Wild Tomato Wood-Fired Pizza and Grille Fish Creek

Copy Link
4023 WI-42
Fish Creek, WI 54212
(920) 868-3095
Visit Website

Wisconsin isn’t especially well-known for its pizza, but Wild Tomato owner Britton Unkefer (Wolfgang Puck’s Postrio, Water Street Brewery) has defied expectations and successfully leveraged industry knowledge to bring lovely wood-fired pies to Fish Creek and Sister Bay. He also makes liberal use of ingredients from the area’s many small farms on pizzas like the Fun Guy (five types of mushrooms, spinach, caramelized onions). Unkefer also owns Clover & Zot pub in Baileys Harbor.

14. Chives Door County

Copy Link
8041 WI-57
Baileys Harbor, WI 54202
(920) 839-2000
Visit Website

Upscale farm-to-table dining meets a casual atmosphere at Chives in Baileys Harbor. Chef and owner JR Schoenfeld, who also operates another location just north of Green Bay, has garnered a reputation for putting out beautiful plates laden with local vegetables and flowers. Save room for the robust dessert selection from pastry chef Janelle Jensen, a graduate of Chicago’s French Pastry School.

15. The Fireside Restaurant

Copy Link
7755 WI-42
Egg Harbor, WI 54209
(920) 868-4800
Visit Website

Door County dining isn’t just fish boils and frozen custard: executive chef Blake Schar pays tribute to his New Orleans roots at the Fireside, a Cajun-influenced spot in Egg Harbor. He blends the flavors of his past and present in options like Door County cherry baby back ribs (watermelon pico, macaroni cheese gratin, lobster and andouille hush puppies) and gulf shrimp with goat cheese grits.

1. Wickman House

11976 Mink River Rd, Ellison Bay, WI 54210

Tucked inside a historic inn in the tiny town of Ellison Bay, Wickman House has established itself as must-stop spot for serious diners in the area. The team smartly weds strong technique to local agriculture with menu options like a tarte tatin of foraged local mushrooms and ricotta gnocci with braised rabbit (smoked carrots, grilled chard, rabbit bacon). The food is alluring, but don’t overlook the lively cocktail list.

11976 Mink River Rd
Ellison Bay, WI 54210

2. Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant & Butik

10698 N Bay Shore Dr, Sister Bay, WI 54234

A trip Door County is always enhanced by a visit to Al Johnson’s — a legendary 60-year-old Swedish restaurant that’s widely known for the small herd of goats that happily munches on its sod-covered roof. But beyond an abundance of hype and Scandinavian tchotchkes, a menu featuring perfectly-griddled Swedish pancakes with lingonberries and Friday fish fries celebrates the nostalgic flavors of childhood for many Wisconsinites.

10698 N Bay Shore Dr
Sister Bay, WI 54234

3. CHOP

2345 Mill Rd, Sister Bay, WI 54234

Sister Bay natives and visitors beat a path to Chop, a destination for beef fans that eschews the fussiness of many Chicago steakhouses in favor of a mellow atmosphere with lots of natural wood and industrial-style fixtures. There’s no need to wear a tie or heels to indulge in tender ribeyes, New York strips, pan-seared scallops, and 12-ounce bone-in pork chops.

2345 Mill Rd
Sister Bay, WI 54234

4. Door County Creamery

10653 N Bay Shore Dr, Sister Bay, WI 54234

This charming goat dairy farm and creamery has it all: tons of fresh and aged cheeses, habit-forming goat milk gelato in flavors like raspberry panna cotta and olive oil with sea salt, a menu of sandwiches and soups, and handmade goat milk soaps. The icing (or chevre) on top is a family-friendly tour featuring a bevy of the farm’s adorable and extremely friendly hoofed residents.

10653 N Bay Shore Dr
Sister Bay, WI 54234

5. Roots Inn & Kitchen

2378 Maple Dr, Sister Bay, WI 54234

This cozy, quirky inn with a public-facing cafe is relative newcomer compared to many of Door County’s long-running vacation retreats, but over five years its lunch menu has accrued a passionate fanbase. First timers would be wise to opt for a locally-made Waseda Farms bratwurst with a rotating selection of fixings; locals also love the bread pudding served with lemon sauce and Door County Creamery gelato.

2378 Maple Dr
Sister Bay, WI 54234

6. Pearl Wine Cottage

3058 Church St, Ephraim, WI 54211

This quaint wine bar’s name is no misnomer: Pearl is housed inside a precious century-old cottage that owners spent a year renovating themselves. Patrons can expect a thoughtful assortment wines with special attention paid to organic and biodinamic options, plus a small patio for open-air imbibing.

3058 Church St
Ephraim, WI 54211

7. Ephraim Coffee Lab

3055 Church St, Ephraim, WI 54211

The home base for single-origin roastery Isely Coffee Roasters, Ephraim Coffee Lab keeps caffeine fiends in high spirits with manual espresso drinks and nitro cold brew. Grab a cup and sidle down Church Street for sweeping lakefront views just as the buzz hits the bloodstream.

3055 Church St
Ephraim, WI 54211

8. Trixie’s Food and Wine

9996 Pioneer Ln, Ephraim, WI 54211

Fortunately for locals and out-of-towners, Ephraim is home to another top-notch wine bar: Trixie’s, an idyllic sister spot to Wickman House in Ellison Bay. Knowledgeable staff provide thoughtful guidance for navigating the wine list, which emphasizes offerings from women winemakers, plus a menu of fresh pastas, spring vegetables, and more.

9996 Pioneer Ln
Ephraim, WI 54211

9. White Gull Inn

4225 Main St, Fish Creek, WI 54212

Fish boils are a staple of Wisconsin culinary culture — a festive opportunity to gather (a few feet away) around a massive cast-iron kettle of boiling water filled with wire baskets of fish and red potatoes. A splash of kerosene on the fire underneath creates a pillar of flame, causing the kettle to overboil in a fun and slightly terrifying spectacle for onlookers. Door County has plenty of fish boils to choose from, but the dinner-and-a-show at Fish Creek’s 125-year-old White Gull Inn is a true classic of the form. Wrap up the feeding frenzy with a slice of local cherry pie.

4225 Main St
Fish Creek, WI 54212

10. Shiny Moon Café

4164 Main St, Fish Creek, WI 54212

Shiny Moon Cafe, a newish venture from prolific area entrepreneur Angie McMahon (Door County Brewing Co., Hacienda Beer Co.), is already cultivating a following with comforting fare like quiche du jour, Eggs in Purgatory, and duck confit hash with banana peppers. Find it on the second floor of the Fish Creek Market.

4164 Main St
Fish Creek, WI 54212

11. Door County Confectionery

4199 Main St, Fish Creek, WI 54212

Fudge is a Fish Creek tradition, and thus tends to get top billing among all the sweet treats in the region. Door County Confectionary has been putting out some of the best in area — alongside other delectable hits like English toffee and saltwater taffy — for nearly 50 years. Patrons can find additional outposts in Ephraim, Sister Bay, and Sturgeon Bay.

4199 Main St
Fish Creek, WI 54212

12. Not Licked Yet Frozen Custard

4054 Main St, Fish Creek, WI 54212

Frozen custard — the rich, dense cousin of ice cream — is another decadent Midwestern delight that’s especially delicious in the summer. Not Licked Yet has served regulars and new patrons for nearly four decades and still draws long lines for its popular sundaes and scoops of chocolate, vanilla, and butter pecan. The kitschy log cabin-style spot also has a kid-friendly patio filled with flowers and decorative gnomes.

4054 Main St
Fish Creek, WI 54212

13. Wild Tomato Wood-Fired Pizza and Grille Fish Creek

4023 WI-42, Fish Creek, WI 54212

Wisconsin isn’t especially well-known for its pizza, but Wild Tomato owner Britton Unkefer (Wolfgang Puck’s Postrio, Water Street Brewery) has defied expectations and successfully leveraged industry knowledge to bring lovely wood-fired pies to Fish Creek and Sister Bay. He also makes liberal use of ingredients from the area’s many small farms on pizzas like the Fun Guy (five types of mushrooms, spinach, caramelized onions). Unkefer also owns Clover & Zot pub in Baileys Harbor.

4023 WI-42
Fish Creek, WI 54212

14. Chives Door County

8041 WI-57, Baileys Harbor, WI 54202

Upscale farm-to-table dining meets a casual atmosphere at Chives in Baileys Harbor. Chef and owner JR Schoenfeld, who also operates another location just north of Green Bay, has garnered a reputation for putting out beautiful plates laden with local vegetables and flowers. Save room for the robust dessert selection from pastry chef Janelle Jensen, a graduate of Chicago’s French Pastry School.

8041 WI-57
Baileys Harbor, WI 54202

15. The Fireside Restaurant

7755 WI-42, Egg Harbor, WI 54209

Door County dining isn’t just fish boils and frozen custard: executive chef Blake Schar pays tribute to his New Orleans roots at the Fireside, a Cajun-influenced spot in Egg Harbor. He blends the flavors of his past and present in options like Door County cherry baby back ribs (watermelon pico, macaroni cheese gratin, lobster and andouille hush puppies) and gulf shrimp with goat cheese grits.

7755 WI-42
Egg Harbor, WI 54209

Related Maps