Since its founding in 2000, Mink River Basin has blended the allure of live sports, eclectic pub fare, and beer fresh from the tap. These 14 taps, mounted atop a spacious wooden bar, pour rotating drafts from local microbreweries, such as Big Bay Brewing Company and Central Waters Brewing Company. The kitchen specializes in regional dishes ranging from half-pound burgers and slow-roasted, beer-marinated pork ribs to Door County fish and shrimp. A game room and an outdoor patio that's open late into the spring and summer evenings contribute to the festive atmosphere.
Belkis and her brother Manuel have baking in their blood. The creative duo behind CheeseCake, Etc. can trace their family history through three generations of bakers to great-grandparents who ran a small bakery in France. While Manuel attends to the café’s bread-making needs, Belkis rules over its namesake confection. She whips up more than 300 different cheesecakes, including gluten- and sugar-free varieties as well as those inspired by seasonal ingredients or stock-market trends. Some of her most popular flavors include lemon, turtle, and New York–style cheesecake set into a graham-cracker-pecan crust. The menu also offers Chocolate Shoppe ice cream and more than 15 types of Steep & Brew coffee, as well as house-made cheese breads, cheese curds, soups, salads, and sandwiches, which rotate each day. Salsa Dance Saturdays steep the small café in toe-tapping Latin rhythms as dance instructor J-Ro opens the floor for introductory salsa lessons and open dancing.
Egg Harbor Fun Park houses a multitude of yawn-busting attractions, from the whimsical 18-hole miniature golf course to a paintball target range and trampoline basketball court. Families test their ball-tapping mettle on the roundabout greens of the golf course, where hidden tunnels and watery obstacles spell doom for all but the craftiest balls. Springy trampolines launch basketball players toward highlight-reel dunks on the Jump Shot course and young kids expel some of their endless energy in the outdoor Bounce Zone. Those seeking splashes and splatters take cover in the waterlogged trenches of the Water Wars course, or create minor avant-garde masterpieces at the paintball target range. Outdoor go-karts placate preteens anxious for their drivers’ licenses and a 3,000-square-foot arcade promises shelter for limited-edition quarters featuring American heroes Big Bird and Ringo Starr.
On the shore of Lake Michigan, tucked among the towering pines, a quaint building that would be at home in a fairy tale exudes cozy Midwestern hospitality with walls made of fieldstone, log beams that arch under a peaked roof, and a fireplace that crackles in the winter. In Donny's Glidden Lodge’s welcoming setting, guests tuck into Black Angus filet mignon, Australian cold-water lobster, and Iowan pork chops. Nightly specials of prime rib and just-caught lake perch join housemade soup, fresh bread, and salads made with mixed greens that diners grab from the salad bar.
During summery days, guests lounge on a patio with views of Lake Michigan that let them watch boats playing real-life games of Battleship. When the air carries a chill, tipplers can warm themselves with libations at the bar.
Alcohol without a mixer doesn't usually taste like candy, but liquor produced by The North Woods Distillery is a special case. A slow, two-distillation process yields gluten-free rums whose flavors resemble candies such as toffee or chocolate mint. At North Woods' 10-seat bar, bartenders push those flavors even further with specialty cocktails that all resemble sweets. Heath rum takes on a Werther's creamy texture when mixed with root beer, while pink lemonade and chocolate-mint rum ring in the holidays with a candy-cane flavor. The bar even stocks new spirits still in the testing stages, which, like all of the distillery's libations, are made without hangover-causing toxins.
For 15 years, the family-run Scaturo's eatery has dished up homestyle dishes, specialty breads, and pies made from scratch. Summer-long fish boils summon whitefish straight from the wilds of Lake Michigan for a brief shadow play before a feast with potatoes, coleslaw, and freshly baked breads. Signature pies can top off any meal—including a Sunday brunch buffet—with seasonal fillings and the finest cherries in all of Door County.