4 Wine Drinking Paradises You Didn’t Know were around Appleton, WI

The title says it all – calling all of you wine-o’s to draw your attention to four places that are killing the wine game in Appleton, WI. Occasionally people say, “There is nowhere with higher-end wine around here.” Or, “You can’t find good wine in Wisconsin”. False, my friends. I went on a solo hunt for some of the best places to grab a glass of wine in Appleton, and I was extremely successful. My journey consisted of four unique wine bars in or near Appleton.

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#1 – Xe54 Wine Bar

Beginning in the little town called Fox Crossing, we discovered Xe54. Only a little over a year old with a very “boujee” feel to it. The interior is filled with popping colors – blue walls, large gold lettering, purple velvet couches, quirky art on the walls – and has a very “New York” vibe to it for being located in a small Wisconsin suburb. Overall,  very sleek and elegant interior.

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Wine Options

The important part – what wine selection do the offer? First off, Xe54 uses tap wines. It’s one of their main attractions. Which means they have kegs (yes, entire kegs) full of wine. They have eight total wines on tap – four reds and four whites. Essentially, this helps to keep the wine at the perfect serving temperature and provides a fresh glass with every pour. Beyond the tap wines, they have about 12-15 wine options that they provide from the bottle. Each glass on average runs between $8-$10. They also provide a retail section which guests can either take a bottle home for enjoying, or drink in the bar for a corking fee. As for regions of wines that they offer, they just began selling international wines alongside their domestic options. For a smaller menu and retail section, they have a very wide range of grapes and regions.

Beyond the Wine Options

Beyond their wine list, Xe54 also offers a build-your-own cheese board menu. Allowing you to check mark which cheeses, meats, and extras (crackers, olives, etc.) you may be looking to snack on while drinking your wine. They also have extensive options for liquor, beer, craft cocktails, and live music on Saturday evenings around 7-10 PM. They have a plethora of events including wine tastings and pairings. Xe offers a happy hour from 3-6 offering $1 off all drinks (wine, cocktails, and beer).

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From the Staff: Candice – Wine Events Coordinator

I spoke with Candice from Xe54, who is the wine events coordinator. She runs tastings and events that help to showcase new wines the Xe54 has to offer. From speaking with her, she wants the general public to know:

“We want a broad enough spectrum of wine to fit different people’s tastes and pallets while also bringing in different varietals to help others try new things. We pick wines that can cover any occasion, birthday party or graduation, we’ve got wine for you at an affordable price.”

Taste Test

To really give you all a look into what Xe54 has to offer, I tried four different wines that all range in different taste, acidity, depth, etc.

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  • Essence Riesling – a sweeter white with fruit notes to it. I tasted notes of more green apple, a little touch of sour notes coming through but balanced well with the sweet. (Mosel, Germany)
  • Misty Cove Sauvignon Blanc – which had more of a tart and citrus taste to it with nice acidity. This taste test was my favorite that Xe54 had to show me, very tasty. When I drank it, I immediately thought of a seafood dinner for pairing. Dee-Lish. (Marlborough, New Zealand)
  • Diablo Dark Red Blend – this was a blend of Syrah and Malbec wine which gave the blend a nice, lingering finish. Notes of darker berries like cherries and raspberries. (Chile)
  • MWC Shiraz Mourvedre – a spicier, drier wine with notes of blackberry. A very bold wine with great flavor! (Victoria, Australia) 

#2 – Uncorked

My second stop was in downtown Neenah at Uncorked Wine & Bistro. Along with the rest of the downtown area, Uncorked has beautiful brick walls (inside and out) with dim and intimate lighting. There are retail options covering two full walls with plenty of options to look at, and the bar has a darker marble finish to it. While I was visiting, it was decorated for the Halloween/Fall season and was done beautifully. A very inviting setting really focusing on the socialization and intimate aspect of wine drinking.

Wine Options

Uncorked has an insane selection for wines – both retail and by the glass. They have a rotating wine menu that’s categorized into two sections: Sweet, crisp, aromatic, and rich (whites) and fruity, spicy, earthy, and bold (reds). Beyond that, they offer 11 different flight options or BYO. Within the 11 flights there is also a Port Wine flight option. Uncorked offers over 300 options for retail which guests can either drink at home or in house for a corking fee. They offer 32 wines by the glass and carry both international and domestic. They also provide a list of their “bubbly” options for guests – which are all fresh.

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Beyond the Wine Options

Uncorked offers a wine club where you can choose between all white or all red wines, a mixture of both at two different price ranges occur once a month. They offer wines from many different regions and very diverse options for varietals and countries. Uncorked offers beer, liquor, and cocktails with options in abundance for those looking for other options. As for food, they have a pretty large range of options. From crostini’s and pita pizzas to cheese platters, desserts, salads, meatballs, salmon, and daily specials. It’s a really extensive food menu for the size of the location. They also have a happy hour from 3-6 where they offer two white and two reds for $5 a glass. There is live music every other Saturday and they do occasional wine tastings.

From the Staff: Kris – Manager

At Uncorked I met with the Manager, Kris. She has been management for Uncorked for 10 years now and knows the establishment like the back of her hand. She wants the general public to know:

“We listen to customers for what they’re looking for. We love helping them find the perfect fit for where the night is leading to and what they enjoy in a wine. We try our best to do a read on them and let them try new things they have never had. We enjoy doing new wines on happy hour to teach others about different varietals that people don’t typically ask for. We try pushing them from comfort zone and helping them.”

Taste Test

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  • Spätlese Riesling – A sweeter wine that had a light and fresh taste to it. A very balanced and vibrant wine. (Germany)
  • La Plage Rosé  Du Var – Drier for a rose, yet still holding the lighter fruit flavors all the way through, very refreshing. Cool thing is, Uncorked serves this wine year round for you Rose lovers that can’t seem to find one in the depths of the winter. (Profanse, France)
  • Shooting Star Blue Franc – This was my personal first time ever trying a blue franc, and I was delighted by the flavors. It was a medium bodied red that reminds me of the kind of red wine you actually enjoy drinking during the summer. Subtle hints of darker berries. Very flavorful but drier on the back end. (Washington)
  • Freakshow Red Blend – A familiar label for most people, darker fruit notes, tastes higher end than it actually is, drier, with chocolate aromas and subtle tastes. (Lodi, California)

#3 – Mondo! Wine Bar

Third on the list was Mondo! Wine Bar in downtown Appleton. The aesthetic of Mondo! is very simplistic with most of the color coming from the menu and the wine bottles along the walls. They have very lively music playing within the bar and has a heart of the city feel to it. The owner, David, is also a bartender at Mondo! which was awesome to see from a customer standpoint. A charismatic little place.

Wine Options

To start, the owner of Mondo is very smart when it comes to wine. He really knew his stuff. Not that all of the places before didn’t, he just surprised me with how much knowledge he had about the wines he served. He considers his bar “unique to the world” due to the way he has his wine organized. He composed a period table of wine that helps each wine-o find exactly what they’re looking for. At Mondo!, the menu is organized with the lighter wines at the top of the menu and they get darker, richer and deeper as you move left to right and down the menu. He used this method to help his customers experiment with new varietals based off of wines the customer already knows they enjoy. It is also color-coded to make finding your type of wine even easier, with an icon to match every wine. Although their “by the glass” menu is a bit more limited, Mondo! has a pretty large array of wines for retail purchasing.

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Beyond the Wine Options

Mondo! offers educational tastings, free tastings once a month, and in the summer they do a wine camp one Saturday every month. Alongside wine, they also offer beer, liquor, non-alcoholic options, and food. For food, they have items such as cheese platters, pizza that is made in house, and ala carte options like nuts and olives. Their location is also right by the Performing Arts Center in Appleton making it a great stop before or after a show in Appleton.

From the Staff: David – Owner

David is the owner and creator of the unique wine bar, Mondo!. The idea of the periodic table concept was created by him and he is usually at Mondo! every day. He wants the public to know that:

“We expose people to wine and things they have not seen or heard of before. We have uniqueness of organization, and we want things to be fun for people. We want to stray away from the idea of being “stuffy”, so we go to great lengths to keep things light and fun. We love getting to know our clientele, we compare ourselves almost to ‘cheers’ – that neighborhood bar that just happens to serve wine. We don’t want anyone to feel intimidated to come in.”

Taste Test

  • Tres Ojos Old Vines Garnacha – a bright wine, flavor packed, showcases a lot of fruit, has a little bit of spice mixed with sour. (Spain)
  • Black’s Station Cabernet Sauvignon – untypical for a cabernet, tasteful and not as dry as expected, divine, fruitful but also has minor bitterness. (California)
  • Domaine De Pouy – very vibrant and bright, has good notes of acidity, with notes of fruit. (France)
  • Long Little Dog White Blend – softer acidity, more fruity mostly pear flavors/armoas. (France)
  • EXTRA Sangue di Giuda Sweet Red – chilled, reminded me of a breakfast meal or the smells of a bright morning. Not too sweet but has the perfect balance of sweet while combining what one expects from a red. Smells close to a buttery scent. (Italy)

#4 – Tandem Wine Lounge

Last on our wine tour through the Fox Valley is a relatively new option to the area – Tandem Dinner & Wine Bar. After being immediately greeted by not only the owner himself but also the earthy, aesthetic, home-y interior of the bar itself, you are overwhelmed with the beautiful chaos that is Tandem Wine Bar. It’s complicated yet also intriguing and even though it’s only in the process of being complete it feels as though the interior is a vision you’ve been searching for a long while for a casual place to have a good glass of wine. A very intimate setting with dim lighting and wooden accents everywhere you look – Tandem focuses on the less stuffy side of wine and the more freeing side.

Wine Options

Tandem has a wine menu that fluctuates every couple of weeks with their options by the glass. They do offer both retail and by the glass for their customers; with an average glass costing about $8.00-$9.00. Their wine options include both international and domestic, carrying many different flavor varietals for customers. Included in their “by the glass” options are about 13 options ranging between sweet whites and dry reds.

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Beyond the Wine Options

Beside their copious amounts of retail wine options placed along the beautiful brick walls, Tandem also offers many other bar-like amenities. They have begun dipping their toe into the food world and offer a cheese board currently for $18. Although it’s only one option, the cheese board is extensive and offers something for guests to nibble on while they sip. They also offer an extensive selection of bourbons, scotch, and whiskeys. There is a cooler in the bar filled with craft beer by the bottle along with 3 beer options on tap. Moving past food and drink – Tandem offers live music and specials throughout the week.

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From the Staff: George – Owner

“We’re a wine, beer, and spirits store with a nice lounging atmosphere. We refer to ourselves as a wine lounge rather than a wine bar. We don’t really do bar hours, typically closed by 10 PM. People enjoy the simple aesthetic and authentic space. Tandem was a swan dive into a vision.”

Taste Test

  • Bouza Tannat Reserve 2015 – Big and bold, showcases flavors of darker fruits including plum and blackberry, deep and rich, could be paired with any kind of “hardy” meal like stews, roasts, steak. Velvety finish. (Montevideo, Uruguay)
    • Very interesting and delicious try – was informed not many people are familiar with the varietal.
  • Chateau Buena Vista Cabernet – Racey, bold, a little sweeter on the tongue. Intense and powerful red. Strong flavor of cherry and dark berry. (Napa, California)
  • Chateau Ferrande Graves 2015 – Very subtle, light flavoring. Soft and earthy with bright notes to it. Nice alternative to a super sweet and fruity white. (Graves, France)

If you’re like me and love a good, rich, and flavorful glass of wine mixed with an environment to match your mood – one of these four places is bound to be the perfect match. They are all so different and so unique in their own way, allowing for each place to have an entirely different experience. Which place are you visiting first? Let us know in the comments below – and thank you so much for reading!

Until next time.

– Camille

Homey Spot with Family-Sized Portions at Rico’s Family Restaurant – Camille’s Choice

Breakfast is always something I often miss due to my habit of sleeping in or sometimes simply just not having an appetite right away in the AM. However – whenever I know I’m doing a breakfast episode for Camille’s Choice I get extremely giddy until the day comes. For my last episode of Camille’s Choice, I brought my good friend Morgan with me to Rico’s Family Restaurant in Kaukauna for the worlds biggest brunch.

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First off it was the perfect day to grab a nice warm meal in the cozy environment that Rico’s has to offer. It was raining and so gloomy outside that all I wanted was a nice cup of coffee and something to warm my belly. Sure enough, the coffee was delicious and a great start. Not only that, but the Rico’s staff are so friendly and welcoming that their presence warms you up as well. As soon as you walk in the door the feeling of “I would totally come here with my family for a Sunday morning brunch” fills your heart and you feel at home.

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Our experience continued with an awesome server. He gave us the low-down on what was good, and what was to die for. So naturally, we took his best recommendations and rolled with it. His face lit up every-time he talked about the food and the flavors that they all provided with their dishes – it was so obvious that he loved his job.

For our first dish – an appetizer of course. Because even though it was nine in the morning, courses are still important when you’re getting to know a new spot. We ordered their quesadillas, plain. Sounds typical, I know, but they were very tasty. The cheese was melty – not too little where it wasn’t gooey, but also not so much that it’s like drinking nacho cheese. And all of the spices and veggies on the side made them tasty for Morgan and I to enjoy all four pieces (oops).

Our entree’s were a mixture of breakfast and lunch – and we did happen to get three entrees for the two of us to share (oops, again). We started with their Mexican omelet that Morgan could not get enough of.
With the omelet, they gave us a potato pancake for Morgan to try for the first time. I told her she had to pair it with applesauce because… duh! She did say the texture was different but the flavor was definitely great – and she loved the applesauce with it. My taste test agrees – yummy and obviously homemade.

Next we both got a “lunch” item. So yes, we had three dishes each. My lunch entree was their JT burger which essentially is every burger lovers go-to. It had “the works” and more. For starters it was 1/3 pound patty with bacon, cheese, onions, mayo, lettuce, mushrooms, and pickles – basically you name it and it was on that burger. So good and tasty, the bun was crispy from being on the grill for a bit and the mayo tied everything together. Probably one of the only good burgers I’ve ever had at 9 in the morning. Morgan got their chicken avocado wrap – which is basically exactly what the name states. However there was some bacon and secret sauce on their to spice up the wrap. She said it perfectly – “They don’t mess around with portions at Rico’s!” The wrap and burger were both huge and it was so great how you could taste each little spice and flavor the wrap had to offer. Avocado was a friendly familiar face I was happy made a visit.

If you can’t already tell, Rico’s is a must. The environment is so cozy and welcoming for a breakfast date or a family meal on a Sunday afternoon. Good coffee, big portions, and great flavors were experienced throughout our entire time. Thank you so much to Rico’s for having us for Camille’s Choice, and we can’t wait to come back and try your amazing ice cream which we’ve already gotten a lot of comments on!

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Have y’all ever been to Rico’s in Kaukauna or any of their other two locations? If so – what did you order? Comment below so we have an idea for which dish to try next!

See you all next time.

32 of Northeast Wisco’s Best Sand Beaches

Do you ever feel like sitting in the warm sand with toes in the water of a beautiful beach – but just don’t have a clue where a decent beach is located in Wisconsin? This list will help that change with the snap of a finger. Today we’re bringing you a list of 32 beaches in Northeast Wisconsin alone so you never have to question again where to enjoy your day-cation.

Note: No man made swim lakes are included in this list. Sand beaches only.

Manitowoc County

1. Point Beach State Forest

Two Rivers, WI
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2. Neshotah Park

Two Rivers, WI
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3. Manitowoc Silver Creek Park

Manitowoc, WI

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Sheboygan County

4. Kohler-Andrae State Park

Sheboygan, WI

Note: Paid Entry

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5. Deland Park

Sheboygan, WI

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6. King Park

Sheboygan, WI

Note: Includes Blue Harbor Beach.

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7. South Shore Beach

Sheboygan, WI

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8. Fireman’s Park & Swimming Beach

Elkhart Lake, WI

Notes: Paid Entry.

Firemans Park

Door County

9. Egg Harbor Beach

Egg Harbor, WI

Notes: Watersport Rentals Available.
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10. Fish Creek Public Beach

Fish Creek, WI
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Door County

11.Sister Bay Beach

Sister Bay, WI
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12. Haines Beach

Sturgeon Bay, WI

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13.Newport State Park (Europe Bay Beach)

Ellison Bay, WI

Notes: Two separate beaches. Both technically in Newport State Park. Europe Bay is free parking, Newport is paid.

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14. Nicolet Beach

Fish Creek, WI
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15. Bailey’s Harbor Ridges Park

Bailey’s Harbor, WI
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16. Beach Front Stage

Sister Bay, WI
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17. Whitefish Dunes State Park

Jacksonport, WI

Notes: Paid EntryIMG_3603-640x440

18. Clark Lake

Jacksonport, WI

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19. Portage Park

Sturgeon Bay, WI

Notes: Secluded
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Waupaca County

20. South Park Beach

Waupaca, WI

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21. Little Silver Beach

Wild Rose, WI

Note: Paid Entry.

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22. Hartman’s Creek Beach at Hartman Creek State Park

Waupaca, WI

Note: Paid Entry. Watersport Rentals.

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Shawano County

23. Shawano Lake County Park

Shawano, WI
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Brown County

24. Bay Shore Park

New Franken, WI
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Oconto County

25. Oughton Park

Townsend, WI
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(We couldn’t find a photo with the sand/beach in it – if you have any, send ’em our way!)

26. Oconto Falls East Side Beach

Oconto Falls, WI
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27. Little Newton Lake Beach

Athelstane, WI
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Marinette County

28. Red Arrow Park

Marinette, WI

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Kewaunee County

29. City Park

Kewaunee, WI

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30. Crescent Beach & Boardwalk

Algoma, WI

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Fond Du Lac County

31. Mauthe Lake Beach

Campbellsport, WI
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32. Wolf Lake County Park

St. Cloud, WI
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Which of these Wisconsin beaches have you tried out for yourself? More importantly – which one are you going to visit first? No time to waste – snow is just around the corner!

See you all next time.

The 3 Best Hole-in-the-Wall Restaurants in 4 NE Wisconsin Cities

I’m going to go ahead and start this with my definition of a “Hole-in-the-Wall” restaurant. To me, a hole-in-the-wall restaurant is a place that is small with limited or no indoor seating. Typically a place where something about the restaurant is deceiving, AKA the food surpasses the expectations set by a usually lack-luster interior or exterior. A hole-in-the-wall to me has an infamous character, a place where not everyone within a 5 mile radius eats there, but everyone in a 5 mile radius HAS eaten there. Places that are either simply great quality, passionately patronized by droves of regulars, or carry a special history or reputation when discussed in conversation. I hope this list finds you well, and gives you a few spots to go next time you and you’re friends are on the road in an unfamiliar area, or you and your partner need a new spot in town to check out.

Green Bay

Al’s Hamburger Shop

Address: 131 S Washington St, Green Bay, WI 54301

Al’s is a Green Bay classic. In the heart of Downtown Green Bay and a few doors down from the Meyer Theater, Al’s has been serving up classic American fast food since 1934! That’s older than McDonald’s (Est. 1940)

Joe’s Texas BBQ

Address: 1800 S Ashland Ave, Green Bay, WI 54304

A quaint and long established eatery, Joe’s recently moved locations to be closer to Lambeau Field. They serve classic barbeque that surpasses the expectations of their small shop.

Taqueria Don Pancho

Address: 1807 N Irwin Ave, Green Bay, WI 54302

This “Hole in the Wall” is such a hidden gem, we haven’t heard from them online since 2016. Taqueria has very high reviews for their authentic Mexican Cuisine at very fair prices. Don’t be scared off by the exterior, the food gets high marks from their customers.

Appleton

Basil Cafe

Address: 1513 N Richmond St, Appleton, WI 54911

Basil Café is on the line as a “Hole-in-the-Wall” The location isn’t huge, but it’s big enough to accommodate, but the exterior makes the real deal feel like a mirage. From the outside, Basil appears to be basic, but once you step foot inside, you’re transported into another world! The food lives up to the expectation set by the interior. Highly regarded in the Appleton community.

Home Burger Bar

Address: 205 W College Ave, Appleton, WI 54911

Home Burger Bar is reminiscent of comfortable, delicious burger bars in larger cities like Madison and Milwaukee. Tucked in on College Ave Downtown Appleton, Home Burger Bar is clean, quirky, and delivers on their name sake, their burgers.

Mai’s Deli

Address: 104 S Memorial Dr, Appleton, WI 54911

Mai’s Deli is an awesome food shop with an awesome history. For years local immigrants sold their stuffed chicken wings essentially egg rolls but instead of the roll, the insides are stuffed into a chicken wing. Eventually, the family opened Mai’s Deli, and they’ve been consistently packed ever since. Very small, quaint location on the corner of College Ave and Memorial Drive. Mai’s Deli is a great spot for a tasty bite.

Oshkosh

Pete’s Garage

Address: 1514 Oregon St. Oshkosh WI

Pete’s has become somewhat of an unstoppable force in Oshkosh. The place barely has a chance to breath it’s often packed with warm faces, and happy customers.

Co-Owner Ryan at a Halloween event.

Leon’s

Address: 121 W Murdock Ave, Oshkosh, WI 54901

Leon’s covers the Northside of Oshkosh for it’s tasty fast food, and amazing custard needs. In fact, a custard machine from Leon’s was purchased by the Culver family for their first location. I don’t have a source for this, but I heard Craig Culver say this to the owner of Leon’s at an entrepreneurship event at UW Oshkosh (Craig Culver’s alma mater).

Ardy & Ed’s

Address: 2413 S Main St, Oshkosh, WI 54902

Ardy & Ed’s on the flip side, covers the Southside of Oshkosh’s needs. Ardy and Ed’s still has car hops on roller skates that serve their customers.

Sheboygan

Shulz’s Restaurant

Address: 1644 Calumet Dr, Sheboygan, WI 53081

Shulz’s has been around for DECADES! A truly classic American dining experience, and something that you have to see for yourself.

Chester’s Drive-In

Address: 1504 Eastern Ave, Plymouth, WI 53073

Not exactly in Sheboygan, Chester’s is a classic drive in with delicious American fast food and ice cream. The drive-in is over 40 years old.

Harry’s Diner

Address: 2504 Calumet Dr, Sheboygan

Harry’s Diner is a 1950 style diner open for breakfast and lunch. If you’re looking for a unique, quaint spot for breakfast in Sheboygan, Harry’s is a great place to start.

Honorable Mentions

The Booyah Shed – Green Bay

Mr. Taco – Downtown – Appleton

My Lee’s Egg Roll House – Appleton

Rhapsodies – Oshkosh

Notes

Hole-in-the-wall restaurants are interesting because they are always changing. For example, Joe’s Texas BBQ, just moved locations. Plus, sometimes new joints emerge or old ones lose their consistency. As Venture Wisconsin grow, and we learn more about Northeast Wisconsin, we will share the knowledge with you! What’s your favorite hole-in-the-wall? Do you agree with our definition? Let me know in the comments.

14 Off-the-Beaten-Path Wineries in Northeast Wisconsin

There’s over 25 wineries in Northeast Wisconsin! No surprise… We wanted to bring you some of the wineries that aren’t Downtown or right off a major route. These are the wineries that are tucked into the woods a little bit.

1. Stone’s Throw Winery – Bailey’s Harbor

3382 County Rd. E, Baileys Harbor

Photo Credit: Door County Today

2. Simon Creek Vineyard & Winery – Sturgeon Bay

5896 Bochek Road, Sturgeon Bay

3. Harbor Ridge Winery – Egg Harbor

4690 Rainbow Ridge Ct, Egg Harbor

4. Forgotten Fire Winery – Marinette

N2393 Schacht Road, Marinette

Photo Credit: Travel Wisconsin

5. Duck Creek Vineyard & Winery – Denmark

5046 County Rd R, Denmark

6. Cold Country Vines & Wines – Kewaunee

E3207 Nuclear Road, Kewaunee

7. Trout Springs Winery – Greenleaf

8150 River Road, Greenleaf

Photo Credit: Trout Springs Winery

8. Rushford Meadery & Winery – Omro

8389 Liberty School Rd, Omro

Photo Credit: All Events

9. Armstrong Apples, Orchard & Winery – Campbellsport

W853 County Road B, Campbellsport

Photo Credit: FDL Reporter

10. Woodland Trail & Winery – Lakewood

17153 Big Hill Rd, Lakewood

11. Silarian Winery – Reedsville

11715 Hilltop Road, Cato

12. Wild Hare Winery – Reedsville

11807 Hilltop Rd, Reedsville

13. Vines & Rushes Winery – Ripon

410 County Rd E, Ripon

14. The Blind Horse Winery – Kohler

6018 Superior Ave, Kohler

Photo Credit: Sheboygan Press

So what do you think? Are you surprised at how many local wine spots you’ve missed? Have you been to a few of these? What’s your favorite? Let us know if the comments! We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Calling All Wino’s – 26 Wineries in Northeast Wisconsin to Sip On

If you love learning about wine, trying new wines, or spending an afternoon sippin’ with your buddies you have got to check out some of these amazing spots. We’ve compiled a list of 26 different wineries here in Northeast Wisconsin (yes, just Northeast – it’s nuts) for you to skim through and enjoy on your next Sunday Funday.

Door County

1.Door Peninsula WineryCarlsville
5806 Hwy 42, Carlsville WIDoor-Peninsula-Winery2. Stone’s Throw WineryBailey’s Harbor
3382 County Rd. E, Baileys Harbordoor-county-winery

3. Lautenbach’s Orchard Country Winery & Market Fish Creek
9197 State Hwy 42, Fish Creek 

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4. Harbor Ridge WineryEgg Harbor
4690 Rainbow Ridge Ct, Egg Harborharborridge

5. Door 44 WinerySturgeon Bay
5464 County Road P, Sturgeon Baydoor446. Simon Creek Vineyard & WinerySturgeon Bay
5896 Bochek Road, Sturgeon BaySome-of-the-wines-from-Simon-Creek-Winery

7. Red Oak WinerySturgeon Bay
3017 Enterprise Dr., Sturgeon BayWebsite-Header-Red-wine-grapes-1170x680

Kewaunee County

8. Von Stiehl Winery Algoma
115 Navarino St., Algomavon-stiehl-winery

9. Parallel 44Kewaunee
N2185 Sleepy Hollow Road, Kewaunee
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10. Cold Country Vines & WinesKewaunee
E3207 Nuclear Road, Kewaunee

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Marinette County

11. Forgotten Fire WineryMarinette

N2393 Schacht Road, Marinette9b6ace55-df0f-4dbb-abf6-91ed19a4c427-forgotten-fire

Brown County

12. Duck Creek Vineyard & WineryDenmark
5046 County Rd R, Denmarkduck-creek-west-wines

13. Captains Walk WineryGreen Bay
345 S. Adams Street, Green Bay
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14. Mona Rose WineryGreen Bay
2696 South Packerland Dr., Green Bay
monarose

15. Trout Springs WineryGreenleaf
8150 River Road, Greenleaf
9930056

16. LedgeStone VineyardsGreenleaf
6381 WI-57, Greenleaf
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Outagamie County

17. Kerrigan Brothers WineryFreedom
N2797 St HWY 55, Freedom

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Winnebago County

18. Rushford Meadery & WineryOmro
8389 Liberty School Rd, Omro
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19. Vines & Rushes Winery – Ripon
410 County Rd E, Ripon

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Fond Du Lac County

20. Armstrong Apples, Orchard, and WineryCampbellsport
W853 County Road B, Campbellsport
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Sheboygan County

21. SoLu Estate Winery & Meadery – Cascade
W8269 County Road F, Cascade
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22. The Blind Horse WineryKohler
6018 Superior Ave, Kohler
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Oconto County

23. Woodland Trail WineryLakewood
17153 Big Hill Rd, Lakewood
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Manitowoc County

24. Silarian WineryCato
11715 Hilltop Road, Cato
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25. Wild Hare VineyardReedsville
11807 Hilltop Rd, Reedsville
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Waupaca County

26. Winemakers DaughterManawa
327 S Bridge St, Manawa
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Phew – you made it through the list. Be sure to share this blog with your wine-loving friends and comment below about your experiences and favorite Wisconsin wineries.

Enjoy! 

Getting Cozzy With Southern Dishes – Camille’s Choice #15

Nestled in a random alleyway in downtown Appleton, WI you can find one of the “cozzy-est” little diners, offering an array of unique and original southern options. Serving dishes all the way from freshly fried chicken to frog legs and hush puppies, The Cozzy Corner is a must-visit in the Fox Valley area.

Giving “The Blues” a Whole New Feeling

When I first entered the Cozzy Corner, I felt like I stepped into a diner in New Orleans itself. The interior is so attractive and different, and you’re constantly having something to look at. To me, the coolest thing about the interior was the records all over the ceiling. It was so cool to look up and see albums that I knew my mom had, or I had purchased, and to see so many other unique record covers.

Beyond the interior itself, the staff greeted my friend Izzy and I with huge smiles and open arms. This was my first time ever bringing my friend Izzy, and she loved the service just as much as I did (she said it was one of her favorite parts of the experience in our Camille’s Choice vlog). Our waitress, especially, was so sweet and helpful when it came to choosing the perfect dishes to try out.

Can You Eat Too Much?

One of the best appetizers I’ve ever had came from my experience at the Cozzy Corner, where Izzy and I split a plate of GUMBO cheese fries. Per recommendation of our server, the dish had character, flavor, and even a background story. The gumbo fries was an invention by none other than our server herself from a random day she happened to be fooling around in the kitchen. Lets just say our server is in the wrong field. She should be back in the kitchen fooling around with dishes more often because the gumbo fries were to die for. Izzy and I both had to stop ourselves to avoid eating the entire plate and ruining our appetite for our main entree.

We didn’t succeed very well. Our main dishes were placed in front of us and the amount of food that was sitting in front of me was overwhelming. The prices given by the restaurant are more than perfect for the amount of food you are given. I had fried chicken, mac n’ cheese, hush puppies, red beans and rice AND a slice of corn bread sitting in front of me. Long story short, I took a hefty box of left-overs home to enjoy the next day. The meal was delicious and mouth watering. All of the flavors were so different – sweet, then salty, then a little spicy – and all complimented each other very well. As for Izzy, she chowed down on something that seemed to come from a fantasy for her. A “big smokey” was a smoked sausage in a large bun covered with their homemade mac n’ cheese and barbecue sauce (yum). She also had mashed potatoes which tasted better than the homemade ones at Thanksgiving (sorry, mom). We both had to pry ourselves from our forks in order to not explode from eating too much.

The Cozzy Corner has so much to offer – unique interior, flavorful dishes, friendly staff – that it has been HARD not to go back already. Thank you to the Cozzy Corner for giving me such a unique experience to enjoy and look forward to experience again.

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Like I said, the Cozzy Corner is pretty cozy in it’s alleyway, here’s some help to find it:
Address: 111 N Walnut St, Appleton, WI 54911
Located near: ACOCA Coffee, Fox Cities Preforming Arts Center

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New Social Animation App. Raises $600k in Combined Locks, WI

Dodles App in Action. With Mario animation

Big Tech in Small Town Wisconsin

(Note: Full video interview with Dodles founder here.)

Imagine you have a crazy experience with a stranger at the grocery store. You want to tell people, but you need to show them. Do you go tell the story to your mom? Maybe your three best friends in person? What if you could quickly make your story into a cartoon, and share it to the world?

Dodles wants you to make your story into an engaging animation, and share it with your friends, all on your phone. The app was conceived by Craig Doriot with money from one of his past startups, an online mortgage engine.

Dodles sign inside the Combined Locks Headquarters. A refurbished church.

When you think about social media startups, you probably think of Silicon Valley. So what about Combined Locks, WI, a small village on the Fox River outside of Appleton? A few months ago Dodles, a mobile social animation app, closed on a $600,000 round of fundraising, and have launched the beta version of the app in smaller markets around the world.

The app is meant to bring animation to a broader audience. Just in time considering the constant rise in video content online. YouTube alone says 1 billion hours of video are consumed each day on their platform alone.

Dodles And Autism

Dodles also intends their product to be useful in engaging autistic users. Playing to their strengths by allowing them to express themselves through technologies, and also giving them an opportunity to make money on the app if they are creative enough. Doriot says that some members of the Dodles team, including himself, are on the autism spectrum.

“Traditionally we’ve had a hard time with gainful employment because of being on the spectrum usually presents a number of interpersonal challenges that employers have a hard time with.”

A senior developer at Dodles.

According to autism.org, people with autism, “are often disadvantaged when it comes to getting and keeping a job because of difficulties with social communication and interaction, other people’s lack of understanding, and sensory issues.” Dodles is a tool that works well with this group’s strengths and weaknesses.

Funding Dodles

It is unusual for Northeast Wisconsin to see this type of startup outside of Green Bay or the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Dodles continues picking up steam. They just finished their third round of funding, picking up $600,000. Doriot initially invested two million dollars of his own capital into Dodles. He says of Northeast Wisconsin, “I believe you can build a good technology company here. As well as you can build it in any other place.”

Dodles app in action.

Cost of living was cited as a benefit to starting a tech company here in Wisconsin, along with other factors. The company has launched the app in beta in secondary markets around the world.

Writer’s Thoughts

The prospect of a well executed app that can deliver on making animation accessible to a broader audience on your phone is very promising. I hope that Dodles acts as an example to local tech companies in Northeast Wisconsin. Showing the region and other entrepreneurs and investors what’s possible. I highly recommend you watch the full interview here! What are your thoughts on Dodles? Let’s start a discussion in the comments!

10 November Events & Shows You Must Look Into!

November 2018 Events List

As the leaves are rapidly falling and the pumpkin carving comes to an end, many people in the Fox Cities begin to wonder what exactly there is to do during this cold winter season. Luckily, the people of the Fox Cities come together as well this time of year, and are surprisingly lively. If you’re looking for something to do this November besides the typical deer hunting and Thanksgiving dinner, look no further!

1. JINGLE – Sip & Shop, a Vintage & Artisan Market – November 2

Have you checked out the new Fox Cities Exhibition Center? Have you gotten any Christmas shopping done? If not, here is the perfect opportunity to do both! On November 2, starting at 4 PM at the Exhibition Center, you will find tons of Wisconsin vendors selling all kinds of handmade, vintage, and upcycled items. Plus, there will be a cash bar and a food truck on site. This is the perfect opportunity to support local vendors and get your friends and family a unique gift for the holidays!

*Admission is $3

2. Downtown Appleton Indoor Farmers Market – (Every Saturday)

Reinvent Ferment at the Farmers Market
Reinvent Ferment at the Appleton Indoor Farmers Market Credit: Downtown Appleton Farm Market

How awesome is it that we barely have to go a month without a farmers market between summer and winter? To kick off the holiday season, Downtown Appleton’s Farmer’s Market starts right away on the first Saturday of November, the 3rd. Running from 9 AM – 12:30 PM weekly, you’ll find 50 vendors with all kinds of fresh fruits and veggies, unique food items, as well as crafts for sale. There really is no better way to spend cold Saturday mornings!

3. Dueling Pianos in Oshkosh! – November 3rd, 16th, & 21st

It is as awesome as it sounds. Dockside Tavern in Oshkosh is featuring the N.E.W. Piano Guys starting at 7 P.M. It will undoubtedly be a show you don’t want to miss! Dockside has phenomenal food to complement the great entertainment, as well as great drinks. If you love them (which you will) or miss the show, catch dueling piano shows on November 16th at Fox River Brewing or the 21st at Fletch’s Tap House.

4. Downtown Appleton Light Up the Town – November 9

Trout Museum Christmas Tree Lighting in Appleton
Appleton Light Up Ceremony. Credit: WLUK News

Head down to Houdini Plaza on November 9th at 4 PM, for this fun family friendly night downtown! You will experience live music from local choirs as well as tons of activities for the kids to enjoy, that undoubtedly will also keep adults entertained! The lighting ceremony begins at 6:30 PM

5. Downtown Appleton Window Walk – November 9

After experiencing the lighting ceremony, be sure to walk down The Ave and take advantage of the opportunity to check out all the special decorated windows of our local downtown businesses, as well as many specials offered on this evening only. This event goes until 8:00 PM.

6. TED talks in Oshkosh! – November 10th

TEDx Oshkosh is hosting a live program at The Grand in Oshoksh! A great opportunity to hear from 14 thinkers and doers across the region! It is a most of the day event. The live presentation costs $50+ to attend, and includes food and TED goodies. More information and tickets here!

7. Pablo Francisco at Skyline Comedy – November 15 – 17

Skyline Comedy brings in so many awesome comedians to Appleton, and this particular weekend they are featuring Pablo Francisco. A night at Skyline is the perfect date night activity or a night out in Appleton with friends. To make the night even better, consider having dinner at Stone Cellar (it’s right underneath Skyline)!

Pablo Fransisco Promotional Graphic for Skyline in Appleton
Pablo Fransisco Credit: Skyline Comedy Club

Bonus: If for some reason you can’t make this show, check out Open Mics on Wednesday nights. Hear local comedians try out their best routine, and enjoy BOGO drinks! Wednesday nights are free, and absolutely hilarious.

 

8. Downtown Appleton Christmas Parade – November 20

A holiday favorite in Appleton! Come enjoy the beautiful downtown Christmas parade that has been a hit here in Appleton for over 40 years! The parade begins promptly at 7:00 PM at the corner of State Street and College Avenue. We absolutely recommend getting there early in order to ensure you get a great viewing spot. This parade gathers quite a crowd!

9. Small Business Saturday Downtown Appleton – November 24

With so many awesome small businesses in Appleton to choose from, this Saturday will be a busy one. Download a “passport”, pick one up from a small business, or get one from the Post Crescent on Thanksgiving Day, and go shop on Saturday the 24th. When you collect 5 stamps from different local businesses, you can turn your passport in and be entered to win some amazing prizes. What an awesome way to support our local economy and tackle some holiday shopping!

10. Fiddler on the Roof at the Performing Arts Center – Nov. 27 – Dec. 2

The Fox Cities Performing Arts Center is featuring “Fiddler on the Roof” to finish off a fun filled November. Tickets start at $31.00 (maybe someone can get an early holiday gift?!). No matter what you are celebrating, or not celebrating, a night out at the Performing Arts Center is guaranteed to leave you in awe.

Fox Cities PAC
Fiddler on the Roof at the PAC Credit: Fox Cities PAC


If you’re trying to find ways to get out into the community and find some cool events before the winter comes, check out one of these events that sticks out to you. Personally, I think it’s nice to see so many live performances on the list! If you’re reading this, please know, we put these out there with the hopes that people like you will find something you like, and get out there and try it! If you do visit an event on the list, please jump back on here and let us know how it went! We will be sure to respond.

P.S. If you’re more of a hiker/photographer looking for something to do in November, you have to check out this state park within 1 hour of the Fox Cities!

Five Reasons Hartman Creek State Park Should Be Your Next Adventure

Hartman Creek is the most versatile state park I have been too within an hour of Appleton! During the two hours I spent there exploring and watching all the different activities going on there I was truly in shock with how much potential this park has to so many people. So, the whole point of writing this is to give you the insight you need to get out there and experience this truly awe-inspiring place! I had the opportunity to visit with my girlfriend this fall, and our journey was great.

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Hiking

At Hartman Creek the beauty of their hiking trails is spectacular! I had the personal opportunity to hike these awesome trails. My favorite ran right along the water, and gave us an amazing view of Allen lake and the number of trails is enough for you to hike all day if that’s what you desire to do. But I highly suggest going in the fall, the true beauty of all the fall colors on your hike is amazing. Just looking across the lake and seeing the trees filled with oranges and reds is sure to drop your jaw in awe.

Fishing

Hartman Creek has some amazing fishing! We know that’s the truth because Hartman Creek was once a fish hatchery before it was even a state park! Fun fact! Plus, all the lakes around it are all spring fed. That makes for great fishing! You can expect to catch largemouth bass, perch (my favorite), blue gill, and other types of panfish. There are four lakes to choose from at Hartman Creek: Lake Allen, Lake Hartman, Lake Grebe, and Lake Middle. Along with that if you don’t have fishing gear you can rent it for free right at Hartman Creek! If you end up going to Hartman Creek don’t forget your fishing License.

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Winter Activities

Winter is just as much fun at Hartman Creek as the fall and summer are. You have winter activities like cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and fat tire biking trails! When snowshoeing you have free reign to venture off the trials or stay right on path. There are six miles of cross-country skiing trails and three and a half miles of snowshoeing trails! That’s a lot of winter wonderland to explore!

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IMG_9592-2Kayaking/Canoeing

Kayakers can launch from Manomin Lake and paddle through Pope Lake, and Marl Lake. Don’t forget to stop and look at the crystal clear water and all the amazing red and orange colors from the trees surrounding each lake.  Then you can stop and have a lunch break at Whispering Pines picnic area!

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Swimming

Hartman Creek provides an amazing 300 foot sand beach which is great to bring your family to or go on a date! What’s even better is that the beach is right next to a three acre, multi use area which is perfect for social games like spike ball and bags or just having grill outs and getting together with family and friends for the weekend! Along with that if you’re from further out of town, they have plenty of camping sites for tents and Trailers!

From hiking to swimming and all the things in between you can clearly see how amazing Hartman Creek is. Not only a great stop during the spring and summer, but a place to explore all year long. So why not head out to Hartman Creek for an adventure?