From a tiny converted rail car that serves a dish called “Garbage” to a legendary 46,000 square foot brat restaurant, Kenosha, Wisconsin, is home to several restaurants that have character as well as tasty food. Here are four of them:
Brats and beer are legendary in Wisconsin, and the Brat Stop has served up plenty of both since 1961. Starting out, it was only 1200 square feet. Over the years it grew to almost 40 times that size.
Order a regular brat, or choose a specialty variety like Cajun Bratwurst, Cheddarwurst or Jalapeno Cheddarwurst. If bratwurst isn’t your thing, the Brat Stop offers plenty of other options, including broasted chicken and a steak sandwich. Add another Wisconsin specialty, cheese curds, as an appetizer or side.
12304 75th Street, open 365 days a year, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
In contrast to the Brat Stop, Frank’s Diner, the oldest continuously operating car diner in the U.S. (since 1926), is so tiny that often on the weekends there is a wait time of a half hour or greater. You line up single file behind those already eating at the counter and wait your turn. The time passes quickly, though, because you are entertained by the sassy wait staff.
Frank’s Diner’s signature dish, the Garbage Plate, is anything but. A huge portion of hash browns, mixed with green peppers, onions and jalapenos, if you’d like, is topped with five eggs (three eggs for a half place), up to five meets, five cheeses and five vegetables. It’s all mixed together, fried up crisp and served with homemade bread.
508 58th Street, open 6 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday and 7 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sunday. Cash only.
The Coffee Pot
Do you like to dine where the locals go? Try the Coffee Pot. Don’t let the unpretentious ambiance of the diner, with a big wrap-around counter and a handful of tables, food you. They offer not only basic breakfast meals like bacon and eggs with a homemade bread option, but also an assortment of benedicts like salmon or a vegetarian option. For lunch, go for a simple grilled cheese or a Duck BLT, made with duck bacon and topped with an egg.
4914 7th Avenue, open Monday through Saturday, 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sunday 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Cash only.
Bristol 45 Diner
Step back to the 1950s at the Bristol 45 Diner in nearby Bristol, Wisconsin. The black-and-white checked floor, Formica and chrome tables with red chairs, and old-fashioned soda fountain and fifties music take you on a nostalgia trip. Build your own omelet or breakfast skillet, or go fancy with a homemade cheese blintz topped with berries and whipped cream. For lunch choose from more than a dozen burger options, seven wraps, seven specialty salads and lots more. Dinner suggestions include steaks, ribs and an assortment of Mexican dishes. Leave room for a root beer float or banana split for dessert.
8321 200th Avenue, Bristol, Wisconsin. Open Sunday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Winter hours October-March: Sunday and Monday 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.)
Kenosha, Wisconsin, is located about 65 north of Chicago, a few miles over Illinois-Wisconsin border.