Zesty’s dots the Green Bay landscape with locations at almost all four corners. Their iconic frozen custards are the biggest draw, but when my mother came up to town for the first time this year, we wanted a quick lunch at a local location that we trusted. The Allouez Zesty’s has been a stop for my husband and I with several previous visitors for the custards. It was time to try their food menu.
The interior screams of an old fashioned diner, and after ordering at the front, we made ourselves comfortable in one of the pleather booths with our self-serve drinks. It’s a familiar feeling recreated all over the midwest in similar establishments. My husband and I were reminded of Dairy King in southern Illinois once the food arrived.
The fries appear to be lightly battered which helps with the crunch, as always. They provided a much needed relief from the softer textures of the old fashioned burgers being served up out of the kitchen. Because I didn’t order a deluxe, there was little in the way of crunch within the burger to be served up by the classic garden toppings. The diced onion helped some– but their traditional crunch was lost through slight cooking underneath the warm patty.
Not that that took away from the burger itself. Zesty’s burgers are a fast food hamburger being made in a locally owned kitchen, and that alone makes them special. Thin patties slung quickly from their kitchen to feed people like us looking for a cheaper, quicker option than sitting down at a restaurant for the afternoon have their merits.
Dishes that come from disparate inspirations come together to form the Fire and Hops Menu. It’s unusual for any part of the world. My husband sat down without having looked at it an expressed some concern that we wouldn’t be getting much of a southwestern experience at the establishment, but there are some hidden places that the flavors of the region come into play– most notably in their dessert section. But that’s for later.
Holmgren Way is home to several of Green Bay’s greatest sports bars, but it’s also home to Nakashima of Japan– a sushi bar and hibachi location hiding between tall apartments and a hotel. The building is easily identifiable when you’re driving along in the daylight. My husband and I went after a Packers game once pre-pandemic to wait out the traffic. We enjoyed ourselves, but we hadn’t been back since then.
My mother was in town. She’s also a big sushi person. Living in rural central Illinois limits her sushi options, however, so we brought her to Nakashima originally to experience their hibachi. We didn’t make a reservation. The wait would have been an hour. This is to be expected with hibachi, especially so when the restaurant expresses problems with being short staffed in a small sign at the door when you arrive.
I was too hungry to wait an hour for an open table, so we decided to go to their sushi room for dinner. The restaurant has largely converted to a QR code menu, but paper menus are available for those that aren’t accustomed to QR menus such as my mother. Nakashima has a sister restaurant in Appleton that allows for a Yakiniku experience– that isn’t available at the Green Bay location.
Blue Suede Foods at Noble Roots
The first weekend of 70 degree weather in Green Bay is a sacred one. If you waste it in your home, you’ve let the world pass you by. My husband and I couldn’t do that. We spent very little of our time at home last Saturday, and we found ourselves at Blue Suede Foods’ truck outside of Noble Roots Brewing Co. on our first visit to either business. There are few better ways to enjoy a warm afternoon.
Noble Roots has been around since 2016. I’ve sampled some of their beers at local bars since I first moved to Green Bay, but I never made the effort to take myself to the far eastern side of town and see their facility. Anything east of where I live somehow seems very far off. The closer to the college, the less it registers on my radar. Blue Suede Foods convinced us to make the trek, however, after watching their journey from sitting outside a bar just a few blocks from us night after night to making near weekly trips to breweries outside of town to serve.
The menu is stand out on its own. There are several dishes that employ the fusion of different cultural techniques to create something wild and new in Green Bay’s food truck scene. They’re also among the first I’ve been to that employ a beeper system so that you can return to the truck for your meal once its ready rather than wait around outside for the cooks to yell at you. This method let my husband and I sit and enjoy a whole beer in the meantime. Nearly every table surrounding us also had these beepers, so we didn’t mind the wait.
Blue Suede regularly opens for delivery via Eatstreet if you can’t make it out to their events that they announce on facebook. Keep an eye on their page to know exactly where they are and when they’re open, and you too can enjoy their innovative Wisconsin focused menu for yourself. My husband and I greatly enjoyed eating with them on one of the first nice days of the year, and we will be doing so more and more as food truck season ramps up properly.
The first warm Saturday of the year invigorated me to go out and enjoy the great City of Green Bay as well as I possibly could, and the best way to start a day of exploration is with a cup of coffee. Kavarna has been on the radar for a long time. The Broadway district is home to many different restaurants and shops I have yet to explore during my time here in town, and Kavarna was no exception. While my husband and I waited for the shops in the mall to open, we stopped in for a quick breakfast and drink.
Upon first glance, it looks like a very small coffee house. There is, however, significant seating behind the counter. The front area of the building is deceiving. Don’t be too scared if you arrive and find most of the first tables you see completely full. There may be somewhere to sit left yet. We showed up in the odd moment between the early risers and the brunch crowd, so getting a seat wasn’t so hard for us.
Their cookie for the day was a chocolate chunk cookie that I ordered for myself as a waystation between the early morning and the anticipated early dinner my husband and I would have at the end of our west side adventures for the day. The name tells you what you’re getting: chunks of chocolate, not little chips. Just enough dough to hold them all together and enough salt in it to counter balance the sweetness of the milk chocolate.
Kavarna is slightly out of our way for a frequent experience, but as far as Green Bay’s coffee houses go, their breakfast options are among some of the best that we’ve enjoyed with local coffee. Any daytime excursion to the Broadway district would be incomplete without a visit to Kavarna. Keep an eye out for them during the farmer’s market season. They’re often out on the street during the Wednesday night market serving drinks to keep you wandering the vendors.
We’ll be seeing them again very soon for just that. Thanks for a great start to a great day.
Sushi Lover-- I Was Not
The sushi scene in Downtown Green Bay has always been something of an enigma to me. My husband and I have to be in a particular mood for sushi most of the time, and our favorite in the region left Downtown last year. We didn’t explore the other options on Broadway after Koko Sushi Bar moved. We simply accepted the nearest option when the mood struck us, which is now Umi Sushi.
One Sunday afternoon, we made our way to the Broadway District to try out the all you can eat Sushi Lover across the street from Titletown Brewing. We arrived shortly before opening time, and a small crowd was already gathered to wait their turn at a table. I thought this to be a good sign at the time. If that many people were waiting for the doors to open, then surely what waited for us inside was worth it.
1919 Kitchen and Tap
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.
New Years Day, we had a group of friends with us for the holiday. Brunch options were limited on the holiday, and the group of football fans descending upon the city for the Packers game the next day already began to arrive. We walked up and down the streets of downtown trying to find a table that we could get into in less than an hour. The Creamery, on that day, was not that place. The line was out the door. The wait was longer than an hour for four people.
A late post from Thanksgiving 2021 Travel to Cleveland, Ohio. A few more are still in the backlog-- but local content takes priority. Enjoy!
Another morning came during our visit to Cleveland, Ohio where my husband and I would be on our own while his siblings slept in to enjoy their holiday to its fullest. We didn’t know where to go for breakfast, but we most certainly did not want to be the types that went to Starbucks while on a mini vacation. A cursory google search for favorite brunch restaurants in town lead us to Townhall down by the West Side Market. It appeared on every list I checked, and it provided us an opportunity to stop by one of our favorite locations in the city again if we wanted to bring something along for the Ohio State game that afternoon.
Townhall has been around long enough that I have vague memories of driving by the front of the restaurant and staring at it longingly. It was a very superficial fascination with the decor out front more than anything, because I had no idea what was inside it. This trip, I was able to find out because my husband left me in charge of these outings. We walked around the market and into the cafe side of the restaurant to order.
Townhall has a great menu with options for all types of eaters, including vegans. That variety is certainly what catapults the restaurant up to the top of many lists across the internet. We went for two of the most common types of brunch dishes, eggs benedict and the egg sandwich. Both can be ordered with rosemary roasted potatoes which are only available during actual brunch hours. We decided to go that route.
These special events at the market always prompt me to make a visit and buy from everyone. This was no exception. My husband and I decided to have our dessert from the newest residence in the market. The benefit of a place like Revolution Market is that you as a customer are often face to face with the owners of the vendors, and I had the pleasure of meeting Mila of Mila Vanilla Crepes to talk to her about what she does.