April 7th, a bad crash on I-41 diverted my plans for the afternoon with detour traffic that could make the most patient driver’s head spin. I couldn’t take it anymore, so I pulled about a block or two off the detour route I decided on to stop into the De Pere location of local sandwich chain, Scott’s Subs. They’ve expanded into Green Bay East and Hobart in the last few years, but despite that growth, I never made it in for a sandwich.
Turning a bad afternoon into a better one with a decent sandwich sounded like a great idea. The De Pere location was smack in the middle of an unusual area for a restaurant, but it got me out of the detour traffic taking over the Lawrence area. I was surprised to see that more of the folks caught in the slow moving traffic away from the I-41 accident that afternoon hadn’t done the same.
The De Pere location offers sandwiches and pizzas made in house as well as ice creams from a few Wisconsin producers. I kept it simple with a Turkey Avocado sandwich and a bag of buffalo chicken wing potato chips. While I waited, however, I got a craving for the ice cream that I saw several other customers order in the meantime. I took a pint of Kemps Cake and Ice Cream home with me, and I found in that short amount of time, I was able to chart a path home through the detour traffic that didn’t take much longer than usual.
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.
Sweet Willow Herbal Wellness was a welcome addition to downtown De Pere– sustainability options for everything from your laundry detergent to reusable kitchen wraps. And for whatever reason, I didn’t make it down there as much as I wanted to at their old location. Little did I know that their business evolved to include vegan and vegetarian dining options for carry out and delivery over the years. Their new location just across the river has allowed them to further expand those options.
The Grand Re-Opening at the new location took place on an overcast, but pleasantly cool Wisconsin morning. I arrived to find a full house of eager diners and shoppers packed in from wall to wall. A number of free samples for visitors were available in the new cafe area, and I helped myself to several of them while I surveyed the cold cases.
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!
A hazy sunset came down over Green Bay one Thursday evening while my husband and I went out for dinner with a friend on his way out of the area very soon. It was our last chance to spend some time with this guy that has been a great friend to my husband when we came to Northeast Wisconsin. We decided on Graystone Ale House over in East De Pere, not far from where my husband and I now live. We’ve driven past it several times and always wondered. We ended that curiosity.
Their outdoor dining, while next to the country highway out of Bellevue, is comfortably seated and perfect for a drink or two with friends. Two firepits burned through the evening. It was the last evening of restaurant week, so on a better day I would have indulged myself in the offering. It was a bad day for my stomach, so I ate simply. My husband and our guest were a little more adventurous.
Small Business Saturday began with a coffee and breakfast at the Exchange Coffee, Mercantile, and Eatery in Downtown De Pere on a breezy November morning. It looked different than every Small Business Saturday that went before it with people wearing their masks even on the sides of the road, while they stood in line to go into the small businesses that so need their help to continue to survive the pandemic. The Exchange was no different with spots on the floor to mark proper social distancing and laminated menus to be washed off behind the counter after you ordered.
I talked about them more than a month ago when I wrote a short series highlighting favored and interesting local food businesses in the area, and The Exchange was a large part of my coffee article when I discussed other places I still wanted to go. We finally got there that morning, hungry and not at all caffeinated. We changed that quickly in their beautiful indoor dining area. Other patrons made sure to help maintain distance at tables, and the Exchange itself adopted a system where customers deposited their own dishes into washbins to limit interactions with staff during our stay.
La Nostra Strada Pizzeria in downtown De Pere opened this week, serving Italian street pizzas in what is my first experience with this style of pizzeria. I missed their soft open Wednesday night, but I couldn’t let another day go by without a visit. So, on my lunch break Thursday afternoon, I stopped in to pick up a few slices for my husband and I to try out.
Strada, as it goes by on Facebook, is conveniently located on Broadway street just a few blocks before the roundabout, and right next to Afogatto Bar. Day two, on a thursday afternoon, they had a small line waiting to grab slices for carry out. Social distancing was enforced with those little markers on the floor to tell you where to wait while others were ordering, and the short wait gave me enough time to admire the decoration inside the building.
I will always appreciate a new restaurant in an old building that maintains those gold painted, individual plate ceilings. They kept those around during whatever renovations needed to occur for them to set up the adorable interior of Strada. The seating area by the window, while not actively spaced for social distancing, is occupied by visitors in a way to maintain that distance either way. The front area of Strada doesn’t allow for as much spacing as some other locations have done since the 25% capacity order, but it looked to me that anyone visiting knew what they had to do to eat here safely. I also noticed a back room for seating and a bar along the back wall for individuals, so there is plenty of space for customers eating inside.
This Italian Street Pizza style location offers a case of pizzas every day, displayed as you enter the line. What’s there is what you can get, and if you’re ordering a full size for home, they display what you’re looking at on the wall so you know the sizes ahead of time. Given that my husband and I are interested in different types of pizza, I believe I will always be stopping in here for two different slices of pizza rather than a whole. All of the pictures I took while at Strada are displayed below, and after that is the actual review of what I ate.
I've talked up the Abbey for being massive supporters of the Eat Local wave going through Green Bay, but I had yet to actually eat there. COVID came right on the heels of me starting a new job, and I didn't have time, money or the ability to check out many of the local icons. Now that I do(and the need is so dire), it feels only right to use what I've got to support the people who are struggling most in the pandemic: our small businesses.
I’ve made it a goal to not eat another single meal from a major fast food chain for the rest of the year. Everything is going to come from a local-- coffee, sandwiches, pizzas, sushi, pasta-- all of it. This means that I’ll have to spread my net a little wider to find more people to support. Knowing that the Abbey played a major part in my decision to do this, it felt right to start Boycotting Big by Supporting Small with them.
My husband got our carryout order and brought it home. We live in Bellevue, so the meal had to survive about a fifteen minute trip from downtown De Pere. It did. When we cracked open the foam takeout boxes, our food was still warm and our fries still crunchy. Being able to enjoy almost the exact quality of a food as it should have in the restaurant is always an added bonus when the carryout goes well.