Owners Lori Smurawa and Chris Hock stack Smurava Java Cafe's menu with a heap of breakfast platters, grilled paninis, and homemade soups to complement mugs bearing cargo from a full coffee bar. Guests can compile an original omelet from three eggs and cheese ($3.99), tossing in optional supplements of veggies and meats ($1 extra per ingredient). Gravy and sausage bits cloak a pair of biscuits in a rich blanket ($3.79), and guests hankering for midday fare can browse a savory roster of sandwiches. Sidle half of a turkey panini with cherry chutney up to a cup of homemade soup for a tangy and toasty combo ($5.25), or quash carnivorous cravings with a meatloaf panini loaded with homemade meatloaf, butter, and provolone cheese ($6.25). Sips of the coffee bar's Canyon River espresso can replenish energy stores before conferences or powerwalking races to the water cooler.
Parallel 44 Vineyard & Winery's winemaker Steve Johnson and owner Maria Milano shepherd their staff as they transmute Wisconsin varietal grapes into an array of award-winning cool-climate wines. The vineyard's vines—some of which can withstand weather 30 degrees below zero and pinches from elderly snowmen—spawn year-round grapes such as frontenac, st. pepin, and petite pearl. Guides conduct regular public and scheduled private tours of the vineyards, production facilities, and a tasting room decked in cream-colored walls and hardwood accents.
Named for a line of latitude running through Tuscany, Bordeaux, and the Green Bay area, the winery abounds with local culture and Mediterranean atmosphere. Villa arches and wide windows overlook colonnades and rolling green fields, enabling staff to ensure free-growing grapes don't wander to other pastures. The winery grounds swell with revelers during a range of seasonal events, such as festivals and a concert series.
Papa John's has carefully crafted a menu of specialty pizzas to satisfy any taste or mouth shape. Order a Hawaiian BBQ Chicken, or go all-out and get The Works, a top-heavy combination of pepperoni, ham, spicy Italian sausage, fresh-sliced onions, green peppers, gourmet baby portabella mushrooms, and ripe black olives. Satisfy herbivores and herbivoyeurs with a Tuscan Six-Cheese or Garden Fresh pie. The full list of specialty pizzas includes several more; take the hassle out of haggling over individual ingredients and boldly cast your straight-ticket ballot for the pizza party that your conscious dictates.
Evergreen Bar & Grill festoons tables in its expansive dining room with specialty pizzas, burgers and sandwiches, and traditional crispy bar eats. Patrons can plunge fingers into bottomless shrimp baskets ($10.95) for inexhaustible wells of deep-fried shrimp primed for dipping in pools of homemade cocktail sauce. Diners can bedeck personalized pies with two toppings ($5 for 9", $8 for 12", $12 for 16") or more (+$1–$1.50/topping), or sift through the classic pizza's ($10 for 12") morsels of sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, and extra cheese. Bacon and fried onions don tangy barbecue coats atop a third-pound patty and layer of american cheese on the Roadhouse burger ($5.95). The philly wrap ($5.95) mingles philly steak or chicken with mozzarella cheese and sautéed onions and peppers, swaddling its contents in an edible embrace to shield them from cutlery.
In 1892, a grand Victorian hotel hosted traveling gentlemen in luxurious $1-a-night rooms supplied with fine liquor and cigars. The proprietor’s sons, prominent Milwaukee businessmen, brought 20th-century celebrities such as Liberace to the hotel for evening performances; today, the piano he played is still displayed in the building’s grand lower level.
The carefully restored building now also houses Koehring's Grand Central House, which is both a restaurant and a bed and breakfast. Bartenders pour signature ice-cream drinks from behind a replica of the original front desk as diners eat butter-grilled steaks and seafood beneath elegant chandeliers. Despite the changes, antique dishes and photographs hang throughout the entire restaurant, and ghost hunters claim that the eatery is still overbooked with the spirits of the unquiet dead.
Pizza Ranch's pie spinners toss dough and lavishly scatter toppings to concoct a host of pizzas with western-style pizzazz. The Ranch’s Mile-Long Buffet stands ready 11 a.m.–8:30 p.m. Monday–Saturday as pairs pile plates high with crispy fried chicken and multisauced pizzas decked out in toppings such as pepperoni, cheddar, veggies, and fedoras. Loosen waist lassos and amble back to sample a host of salads flanked with dueling mashed and wedged potatoes, or cap off repasts with a nosedive into dessert pizzas buried under a snowy avalanche of soft-serve ice cream.
Snugly situated on a historic 1881 farm once known as the Schwabenlander Homestead, Mulberry Lane Farm takes its name from an ancient mulberry tree that once served as a favorite playplace for the Schwabenlander children. In those days, the 100-year-old tree was so esteemed that the children were not allowed to climb it while wearing shoes. Because of this rule, it wasn’t uncommon to find Lawrence, Harry, Norbert, and their nine other brothers and sisters swinging from its boughs, their shoes respectfully lined around its base.
Today, children still play in the shadow of that mulberry tree thanks to the founders of Green Meadows Farm, the Keyes family. Close friends of the last of the Schwabenlander boys, the Keyes adopted the farmstead and its original brick farmhouse into their petting farm empire in 2005 but gave it its own identity to honor the legacy of the original owners. Guided tours lead groups around the farm on foot and by hayride, where kids and adults are encouraged to interact and swap salad recipes with the goats, chickens, sheep, and rabbits that call the farm home. Along the way, visitors can learn how to milk cows and ride ponies or practice catching a chicken, then swing by the barn to snuggle kittens and Otis, the 900-pound boar. Before departing, visitors each receive a free souvenir in the spring and summer, and those who come in the fall have the chance to pick their own pumpkins from the 6-acre pumpkin patch.