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The Ultimate Kenosha Foodie Fun Weekend Guide

8/31/2018 - Food Travelists

Foodie, Itineraries
Food Fun Guide to Kenosha, WI by Food Travelist
Food Fun Guide to Kenosha, WI by Food Travelist
Food Fun Guide to Kenosha, WI by Food Travelist
Food Fun Guide to Kenosha, WI by Food Travelist
Food Fun Guide to Kenosha, WI by Food Travelist
Food Fun Guide to Kenosha, WI by Food Travelist

You know those weekends that zoom by and you have so much fun that you just don’t know where the time went? Prepare to have one of those weekends when you visit Kenosha, Wisconsin. We recently spent a weekend in Kenosha and would love to share a sample itinerary of the fun things to do, experience and, of course, eat!

 

Friday 

Whether you drive, fly, take a boat, bus or train, relax and enjoy the trip to Kenosha. Listen to some relaxing music or an informative podcast so you’re ready to romp once you arrive. First stop, grab a Euro-style picnic basket from the Buzz Cafe. They’ll happily load you up with quality meats, delicious cheeses, handcrafted salads, scrumptious desserts and tasty beverages. Take your lunch over to Veterans Memorial Park, HarborPark, or park yourself on a beach blanket along Lake Michigan. There are many beautiful parks and beaches just waiting for you. Soak in the sights while savoring a creative selection of fabulous eats. If you decide to grab a quick nap after lunch we wouldn’t be surprised. The lake breeze, lapping of the waves and excellent food will most likely lull you into a relaxing little doze. After a quick break, it’s time to do some exploring.

Now you’re ready to explore Kenosha. One of the things that’s so great about Kenosha is that once you set up your home base you can easily get around by walking or taking the fun and convenient street car or trolley. We stayed at the Wyndham Garden Harborside Hotel, which is ideal not just because of its central location but also for its spectacular Kenosha harbor views in Downtown Kenosha. We would suggest a stroll around the downtown area. We love to walk around destinations not only to get the real feel of the place but also to discover some local treasures along the way. 

There are many interesting local retail shops where you can  browse and find unique items to bring home for yourself or for friends and family. Once you’ve earned some steps for your fitness tracker, you’ll want to stop in Elsie Mae’s Bakery & Cannery. Be warned: once the smells meet your nose you will not want to leave. Ever. Gaze upon their tiny pies and you’ll discover how difficult it will be to buy just one. Fortunately, they understand the temptations of their deliciousness, and offer righteous discounts for multiple purchases. You’ll be able to see the pies fresh out of the ovens, along with various other sweet treats and goodies for sale. Let yourself have a treat.

Right across the street is the House of Nutrition. It’s a health food store but has so much more. Drop in and have a chat with Mark, the shop owner. He’s super knowledgable and happy to help. Everything from locally-made kombucha and honey to supplements and vitamins can be found here. 

Around the corner is the Library Park Historic District. Here you can find some wonderful examples of nineteenth and early twentieth century architecture. You can easily spend a few hours walking the neighborhood and checking out the beautiful homes and gardens, especially with help from this self-guided tour document. This is a great way to get to know more about Kenosha while also burning a few calories to make room for more tasty treats.

As your stomach starts to think about dinner we would suggest you consider a fifty year Kenosha tradition at the House of Gerhard. This family-run American-German restaurant not only has terrific authentic German food but also some of the best prime rib we’ve ever tried. If the weather is good check out the beer garden and enjoy some outdoor cocktails and dining. They have a complete list of German beers and classic cocktails like Wisconsin’s favorite the Old Fashioned. Be sure to come to the House of Gerhard’s hungry. No, seriously hungry. You’ll be treated to their supper club style meal with several starters as well as soup or salad along with your meal. They also have classic gigantic boozy ice cream desserts, so be sure to leave room to one of those.

If you’re up for an after dinner drink, music and a lively scene, stop by Captain Mike’s right across the street from the Wyndham. You can meet the locals, enjoy some tunes, try out some of the many the local brews being offered. This is just one of four restaurants that fall under the local "chain" umbrella of the Mike's Restaurant Group.

 

Saturday

Get up early because the day is going to go quickly. Head over to The Coffee Pot for a homestyle breakfast with lots of classic flavors or some of their creative health-focused options. One of their Bountiful Breakfast Bowls (ours had quinoa, egg, avocado and healthy veggies) is a great way to start the day with lots of flavor and little guilt. They’ve got original Benedicts, French toasts, special sausages and other tasty selections from which to choose.

Next head over to the Kenosha HarborMarket. With over 150 vendors there truly is something for everyone. We loved this European-style market with a vast array of local cheeses, meats, baked goods, specialty foods and flowers as well as crafts and entertainment, too!  It’s fun to stroll around tasting and enjoying all there is to see. Be sure not to miss The Sweet Life warm donuts and Olano’s Breakfast empanadas. We loved the French linen booth so much and made fast friends with the vendors as we shared our mutual appreciation of Provencal fabrics and styles.

Just a few steps from the market is the Civil War Museum and the Kenosha Public Museum.  The Civil War Museum is a thoughtfully curated, impressively realized interactive experiential museum that we highly recommend visiting. The ten-minute 360 degree video, narrated by no less than broadcast journalist Bill Kurtis, puts you right in the footsteps of the soldiers on both sides of the war. The museum’s history is focused on the seven upper midwest states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. It’s hard to comprehend that these states together sent over one million men to serve in the Union army, but you will learn about this and many other fascinating aspects of this emotionally wrenching part of American history. Don’t miss the Veterans Memorial Gallery that honors all U.S. soldiers and veterans. The dim lighting and stillness are poignant and thought provoking. 

Jump on the electric streetcar or Lakefront Trolley to explore the Dinosaur Discovery Museum, Kemper Center and many other stops in between. Each encompasses a slightly different route and slightly different schedules so be sure to check in advance to see where you would like to go. As you head back to the hotel and stroll through the Sculpture Walk along the HarborPark promenade. If you’re a street art lover keep your eyes open as you wander around Kenosha. There is street art in the most unexpected places. There are also many art galleries to wander through in the Union Park Arts District

After spending the morning in town, take a ten minute drive to Tenuta’s Delicatessen & Liquors where you will find an impressively huge Italian market. They have a tremendous selection of cheeses, meats, pastas and many other culinary delights. There are cannoli that look too good to resist and even imported Italian candies, spices, jams and other products you won’t find anywhere else. If you need a little nosh to tied you over, you can pick up a tasty sandwich or panini to take with or eat while you’re there.

Let’s face it you’re gonna need to burn a few more calories if you want keep enjoying all the local flavors Kenosha has to offer. So we recommend making your next stop the Southport Lighthouse. Climb the 72 steps to the top (if we can do it, you can do it!) for a panoramic view of the town. Be sure to leave enough time to hear all the history and operating logistics of the lighthouse from one of their curators. It’s a really in-depth and fascinating story. You’ll  also see how Kenosha has changed over the years and recognize some of the historical events that shaped the region. 

It’s getting time to think about dinner again and another spot on our not-to-miss list is Twisted Cuisine. Best defined as casual fine dining, Chef Erica Buskirk’s creative cookery will make you feel immediately at home with a familiar but inspired menu. Whether you choose from the chicken tenders (not like any you’ve had before), the sirloin steak with cheddar potato hash, or any other dish on the menu, you will be pleasantly surprised with her unique “twist” on pairing flavors. The menu is set up with lots of small plate and regular-sized plate options, so it’s easy to try many of the locally inspired dishes that are sure to please.

For more to do after dinner be sure to check out the Visit Kenosha calendar before you leave for all the other fun events that will be going on during you visit. There are plenty of pop-up beer gardens, festivals and music events happening every single weekend. 

 

Sunday

You may be thinking that you’re going to run out of food experiences in Kenosha about now but you couldn’t be more wrong. Start the day at Mike’s Chicken & Donut Bar for unique and tasty donuts and coffee. Don’t worry if you don’t make it there for breakfast. Mike’s has a full bar and restaurant open every day until 2am during the week and until 2:30am on the weekends so you’ll be able to catch some fun just about anytime you want it.

If you’re a golfer you absolutely must head over to Petrifying Springs Golf Course to play a quick 9 or not so quick 18 holes at this beautiful course. You’ll find yourself swept up in the beautiful greens, rolling hills and gorgeous surroundings. You can even grab a quick beer or cool drink or snack at the Petrifying Springs Biergarten to share stories and relive your best holes before heading on home. Or spend the day boating or fishing, or hiking or biking along the shores of Lake Michigan. There are plenty of options for a day of outdoor recreation in Kenosha. Getting out and enjoying nature in all its glory will renew your spirit for the week to come.

One last stop as you head back to I-94 is Mars Cheese Castle. A famous Wisconsin road-trip must stop, the cheese castle is not to be missed. Your head will be spinning as you sample the many, many varieties of local and international cheeses. But it’s not all cheese. Be sure to check out their complete Wisconsin beer selection, deli and bakery. We’re huge fans of their “famous” cheese bread. It makes some of the best cheesy garlic toast you’ll find. They also have plenty of cheesy merchandise that’s lots of fun.

We’re full just thinking about all the delicious food we tasted in Kenosha. We hope that you’ll take our advice and plan a date to create your own unique food trail in Kenosha very soon. For more information and details on planning your weekend in Kenosha, request a FREE Visitors Guide

Community Blog Team 2018

Food Travelists

Community Bloggers

Sue Reddel & Diana Laskaris - Food Travelists' goal is to connect food travelers with great destinations, and experiences. Traveling the world seeking memorable food and drink in every destination.

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