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.
Going home for Christmas often provides the unique opportunity of reviewing restaurants outside of my traditional coverage area, and this year was no exception. It’s the first time in three years that I’ve been home. The universe gave me a gift: Schlafly Brewery of Saint Louis opened a location in the family’s ancestral home of Highland, Illinois during Christmas week.
After coming to the USA from Switzerland, the founders of the craft brewery first put down roots in a small town not far from where I would be staying this Christmas. I saw the news of the opening through the old television station I got all my news from as a kid. It struck me as unusual for many reasons. Saint Louis, while not far away, so rarely extends the tendrils of its businesses out into these rural communities. It wouldn’t be until I actually visited that I’d find out the historical significance of the choice. It also promised a dining experience to an area often underserved.
So I planned Christmas Eve lunch with my father and my husband at the new restaurant, and we arrived ahead of the doors opening to make sure we could get a table. The location wasn’t taking reservations– and they may never. That wasn’t particularly clear. What was clear, however, was that we were not the only people in the region with this idea. Even ten minutes early, car after car arrived to park along Highland Square and wait their turn to walk into the doors of the old bank turned brewpub.