Sunday afternoon is a busy time in downtown De Pere. The city’s restaurants are all full– especially with the weather being on the warmer side compared to most of March. I arrived at the building that Brickhouse shares with Julie’s Cafe to find that there wasn’t a single parking spot available in the lot. I considered it a good sign for the meal I would have inside the doors, so I found another spot in the downtown area to walk back down to the restaurant.
During the height of the pandemic, I ordered a burger for delivery from Brickhouse, so I had some idea of what to expect. Big burgers and tasty fries were still fresh in my memory. Little did I know that they developed a rotating monthly menu that included a limited offering poutine, burger, and sandwich. On another visit, I would love to try the buffalo chicken poutine. This visit wasn’t that visit, however.
Living on the west side affords me plenty of new experiences even with my health difficulties, and among these new experiences was the chance to visit the Drift Inn on Ashland. I’ve heard nothing but good things about the unassuming little building not far from the De Pere roundabout. Their burgers are considered some of the best in the Green Bay area. We have no shortage of delicious burgers, so I had to find out for myself.
Upon arrival, you know you’re going to get something good due to the number of cars in the parking lot. I arrived not thirty minutes after opening on Saturday afternoon for lunch to every spot in the paved parking lot in the front of the building filled. There was no Packers or Bucks game that day. This crowd was here for the food and the food only. My expectations rose immediately.
I sat myself at a small two top table in the corner when I arrived to get a good look at things. Tables are first come, first serve. I imagine that on a Friday night, it can be difficult for a group to find a spot. Only two tables were left after I sat down at noon on a Saturday. This could be a problem anywhere else, but I watched skilled waitstaff turn tables within twenty minutes start to finish.
The kitchen moves quickly here, especially if you come in for the chili advertised on their signage outside. A group beside me ordered chili and had it within minutes. Clean bowls and empty glasses, and they were gone just as my own burger arrived. That’s a feat no matter what kind of restaurant you are. Pulling that off in a pure sit down environment is an achievement.
Unrelated– but how did spaghetti with chili make it to Green Bay? I thought that was a Cincinnati thing. Someone owes me an explanation as a born and raised FIB.
I used to regularly drive along the frontage road where Plank Road Pub and Grill sits alongside the highway to Appleton. For years, I’ve driven by and wondered what brought the crowd to it’s large parking lot, and yet, I never made the attempt to cross town from my old living space to give it a visit. Shortly into October, I moved to the west side of the Green Bay Metro Area, and I decided to satisfy my curiosity with my soon-to-be ex-husband.
A friendly dinner after a day of moving at a location neither of us had ever visited before harkened us back to easier times. He often sat across the table from me when I dined for articles like these. Fortunately for us and the other patrons of the restaurant that night, there was little different on this night than any other. We ordered our drinks, and I did what I always do.
Plank Road Pub and Grill has a menu familiar to me in any bar-restaurant setting. I would never personally call it original. Every bar-restaurant has a spinach and artichoke dip, mixed french fry platters, etc. A compact burger menu positioned beside a sandwich menu is precisely what you can expect from a place like this when you drive up. It was a friday in Wisconsin, so of course there was a fish fry menu.
When our entrees arrived, I was pleased with my choice of a perch sandwich on a fish fry evening. At nearly half the price of their perch platter, it proved to be a good way to gauge the quality of the fry and the fish itself without committing too much on my first night out at Plank Road Pub and Grill. The single plank of perch among a well toasted bun and common sandwich accoutrement such as lettuce and red onion was somewhat lost flavorwise. However, looking at the fish and tasting it separately, it was clear to me the perch is well cared for and cooked here.
I left Plank Road with a ticket of around thirty bucks despite ordering two drinks, the appetizer, and my entree. A strong tip for the attentive staff pushed me into the forty range, and despite the concerns I have of going out on my own into the world for the first time, I didn’t regret a cent. Plank Road is a comfortable location for friendly dinners, and with reasonable price, it is much more accessible than some of its restaurant genre compatriots in town.
Plank Road is accessible via the Scheuring Road exit off of highway 41, and their daily specials offer an opportunity to try much of their menu at reduced costs. Their frequent live music acts are announced on their facebook page. Thank you to the staff for a delicious, comforting meal after a hard day of moving!
The roads thawed after an icy day of winter weather, and my husband and I craved an evening outside of our apartment for once. After more than two years in Green Bay, we finally went to 1919 Kitchen and Tap within Lambeau Field. We’ve walked past it on multiple visits with friends that have come up to the area, usually out of concern about price. For two people with a relatively limited appetite, willing to share a few plates, those concerns were much more easily bypassed.
To get to the restaurant, one has to go through the atrium of Lambeau and pass the fan shop to get up to the second floor. When we arrived, the shop was still open. It’s worth keeping in mind for friends in the future if we want to kill two birds with one stone– eat and shop in one stop. We came for food only, however, so we bypassed that opportunity to get to 1919 upstairs.
There was no wait when we arrived, likely because it was a Wednesday evening. The tables toward the center of the main dining area are surrounded by four very comfortable chairs, and being sat there wound up being a good thing for us over the course of the evening. We had a long wait and a mishap with our appetizers, but we had our drinks, an open kitchen to turn around and look into, and college basketball in every corner of the room to keep us busy.
Saturday afternoon. My husband just got back from his field day for his hunting certification. We were both hungry, and we couldn’t decide where to go. So, we made a list of restaurants and bars in town that we hadn’t visited yet and rolled a die. The number seven was face up, and number seven on our List was Crown and Common-- a relatively new bar in the area that I only noticed on my radar shortly after lockdown.
Crown and Common sits in the district of Main Street where a lot of new businesses have started to pop up in recent years-- particularly restaurants and bars. They built up an interesting patio area for more space for business to follow post-lockdown restaurant business practices, which is perhaps one of the best things about the bar. The covered patio has long and wide tables with a little firepit in the middle to keep folks warm in the winter if they go outside, and the garage door type windows raise to bring some air in in the warmer months.
It was the type of day for the garage doors to be open, and the Brewers playoff game was on the TV, making it the perfect afternoon to drop into a bar for some drinks and snacks. The prices at Crown and Common are incredible for the quality of mixed drinks and the variety of beer is respectably low. Every mixed drink is served in a tall glass the size of a draft cup of beer for almost always only six dollars.
A crisp Thursday evening, one of the first in October, set over town on the night of the Alton Brown show, Beyond the Eats, that my husband had ordered tickets for me for my birthday when the visit to Green Bay was first announced. We had to be at the Weidner Center at UW-GB in a few hours, but we wanted to go out for dinner. It looked like other people attending the show had the same idea. There was one restaurant close to campus that looked promising-- Black Sheep.
We have reviewed Player 2 Arcade Bar in the past, focusing on their drinks and our experience among the vintage arcade cabinets of youth. Player 2 remains a destination for any visitors that come to see me from the era of the classic arcade, and no one has been disappointed. However, we never formally ate there. That ended one October weekend where it got too hot in my apartment for me to cook, and my husband and I needed something to do.
We arrived just before the rush came pouring into the door with enough time to order drinks and our meal from the one bartender on staff. The poor guy was managing the bar, food orders, and any malfunctions on the variety of machines in the building by himself by the time we left. Overwhelmed is one way to describe the guy by the end of our visit-- but he was as courteous then as he was when my husband and I initially ordered.
The burger menu is an homage to characters of the 80’s and 90’s video games. Donkey Kong, Mario, The Terminator, and more have a signature burger on the regular menu for you to pick out at any given visit. They go through a special burger each month, and this month’s burger was named for that classic NFL Arcade Game: Blitz. It’s a game my husband plays every visit, and the burger he decided to get for himself.
Let’s face it: I don’t know much about the west side of town. I know so little about it that when my husband’s coworkers suggested we get a bite to eat at Narrow Bridge Brewhouse after the Brews, Bistros, and Bonfires event at the Botanical Garden, I had no damn clue what they were talking about. The bar was proverbially around the corner from us, so there was no reason to say no. I had boundaries to push, so I pushed them. We arrived as the sun finally set and darkness descended on Green Bay, and we found a busy outdoor bar.
Open garage doors revealed the secondary bar to the outdoor seating area, and we began our night there. The main building looked busy from where we stood-- Fish fry patrons finished their meals and live music played loud enough you could hear it through the windows. It made for the perfect stop for another beer and maybe a burger to cap off a fun evening with some new friends, or at least new to me anyhow.
Around this time last year, I began doing takeout reviews of local restaurants to highlight some gems that were shifting to delivery to continue service in the pandemic. Main Street Bourbon Room is one of those my husband and I ordered during that time, but it looks like I never got around to posting it. I remembered having some mixed thoughts on the delivery itself, and I wanted to be as kind as possible to restaurants when things were so hard.
Businesses have been reopened for awhile, but we never got around to visiting Main Street Bourbon Room until this weekend where my memories of our takeout meal were completely upended by a lovely dining experience. It stands to reason that this would be the case in a location built upon an extensive bourbon list. Still, I found myself surprised by how much I actually enjoyed it.
I'll start by saying I'm not a bourbon or whiskey drinker normally. The only old fashioned I drink is a brandy old fashioned, but for the sake of getting the full experience of the restaurant, my husband and I both ordered their signature old fashioned, sweet, with bourbon. It drinks smoothly, and it's a drink that I could nurse throughout the meal without ordering a second. About halfway through, I passed mine off to my husband to order the Operation SOS 2.0 beer from 3 Sheeps Brewing in Sheboygan to show some support for their mission of helping other restaurants recover from the pandemic.
We reordered the same appetizer as we did from our long ago take out experience: their fan favorite crab and shrimp dip served with ciabatta sticks for dipping. What we got in delivery was a small container filled with the dip still cold. What we got in the restaurant was this dip served in a very tiny and very hot cast iron skillet, and it made a world of difference for the flavor. We ate the whole damn thing.
I can’t believe I forgot to take a picture of my chicken Bahn Mi sandwich, but like most of their sandwich offerings, its served on a ciabatta bun. The chicken is served as a full grilled breast with a spicy mayo, slaw, and a mix of asian greens. It was definitely not what I expected of my dinner, but it WAS tasty. That’s to say nothing of their lovely fries that I focused on the entire meal.
MSBR is a gem tucked away on the east side of Main Street where many people might not be looking for a good meal. Its a beautiful place to stop in, get a few drinks with friends, and enjoy a tasty menu. Visit their facebook for more information about their hours. Vaccination rates in Wisconsin are looking great, and it’s time to get back out there and support our local businesses!