Door County Eating
In Door County you have wide choice in restaurants, gourmet dining, coffee shops, internet cafes, grills, pubs, ice cream shops, places for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, or just a quick snack.
If you're like most visitors, you'll want to sample the best and skip the rest. But since time during vacations is fleeting, and since you'll want to make good use of the time you do have, it helps to know what the tried and true places are and which places are traditional favorites where people go to eat time after time, year after year. Here are a few that come to mind easily.
Trio Restaurant in downtown Egg Harbor (at the corner of Route 42 and County E) should be on your list. It's Mediterranean in atmosphere and menu, yet appeals to all tastes. We like it since it's upbeat and the food is of excellent, consistent quality. The recipes are fairly unusual and change slightly each month. Don't look for same old same supper club fare here, but rather you can discover delectable casseroles and out-of-this-world sauces. This is a seasonal business, and from spring until fall it stays quite busy.
Reservations aren't required at Trio's, but you can expect to wait a little while on weekends during high season. If your plans allow being seated prior to 6:30 pm, you might very well find immediate seating. Splurge on a home made desert; we usually split one item, which exercises restrain and portion control, while fulfilling the need for the perfect end to the perfect meal. Hint: The menu here is a la carte, but the portions of the main entree are usually quite liberal. Select an appetizer to share if you're extra hungry.
For a touch of elegance, the White Gull Inn in Fish Creek is a top choice. While the establishment has a long history as a bed and breakfast in a wonderfully quiet downtown location near the shoreline, you'll find the dining room to be absolutely charming. There's definitely an Early American flavor here which warmly welcomes the weary traveler. A real fireplace in the main dining room creates an ambience not found in other restaurants. The White Gull serves all three meals and is open all year round, but check for exact availability in the off season.
Fine dining is defined by the White Gull Inn, and the atmosphere lends itself very well to a "special event" or final vacation dinner to cap off a wonderful time spent in the area. The menu is varied and the recipes are great. Have the house salad and dressing; it's a long-standing favorite. They also offer a traditional Door County fish boil during season. Reservations are really the best idea, especially for the fish boil seatings. Hint: The lunch menu is excellent and you'll experience the same ambiance at a more modest price.
We can't go any further without mentioning Al Johnson's Swedish Restaurant in Sister Bay. It's been around since Jesus was a boy, and if it actually had been there, He would have most likely eaten there. A hot spot for locals and tourists alike, the breakfast fare is probably its claim to fame. This writer's favorite for some thirty-five years is the Swedish pancakes with strawberries and whipped cream. (Don't miss the lingonberries either.) Al's pancakes are thin and delicious. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, this traditional family favorite does a huge business and is very service-oriented.
Al Johnson's has an upscale gift shop attached to the restaurant with quality items and clothing from Scandinavia. If it's busy and you have to wait for a table, you can peruse the shop and listen for your name to be announced. And yes, you're correct, this is the place with the famous goats grazing on the roof during the warmer months. The luscious green grass up there keeps the goats quite focused, but they will occasionally come to the edge to say hello, especially if you present a carrot. If you need a little help enticing the goats over, just go in and ask Lars Johnson, son of founder Al Johnson, to come out and speak to the goats.
We also like Mission Grill in Sister Bay. This is an upscale restaurant with a unique and delicious menu. It's in a historic church building that was totally remodeled a few years ago. Serving lunch and dinner, your best bet is lunch for a less pricey meal, while enjoying an exquisite dinner for that special evening.