Springtime sends a special buzz of activity up and down the peninsula as favorite restaurants reopen their doors and new establishments welcome guests for the first of hopefully many seasons. During the next few weeks, New Eats will showcase some of the exciting new places to add to your must-try list this season. This week, Lost Tuk Tuk, located inside what used to be Czarnuska Soup Bar in Ephraim, kicks off the series.
“We really wanted to offer food and a space that seemed to be missing in northern Door County,” said Ben McMahon, owner of Lost Tuk Tuk.
With its streamlined menu – all food fits into either the curry, rice or noodle category – and fresh ingredients, Lost Tuk Tuk serves up diverse food options featuring international flavors.
“All of the dishes are as close to what you would find traveling Asia,” McMahon said, noting the Taiwanese beef noodle soup – a classic Taiwanese dish made with the establishment’s handmade noodles – and Dakbokkeumtang, a Korean homestyle braised chicken dish, as favorites on the current menu.
Guests looking for gluten-free and vegan dishes need not worry because the menu definitely has them in mind, too.
“We wanted to be accessible to everyone, and carrying gluten-free and vegan options was a great way to do that,” McMahon said, citing a need in the county for more variety among these options. “So we ended up with half of our menu being gluten free and just over half being vegan.”
And if you happen to swing by on Friday or Saturday night, the “drinking menu” offers small bites that are perfect for accompanying the restaurant’s unconventional adult beverage list.
“Being in a town with two already incredible wine lists and an equally great beer bar, we wanted to offer a wine list of funky, experimental and unusual, natural wine along with casual beer,” McMahon said. “The inspiration [for the drinking menu] comes from wanting to offer some items that do not fit with our lunch concept.”
It’s also an incentive for guests to visit often because the drinking menu and wine list are likely to change almost weekly – or as often as they feel like shaking things up. Meanwhile, the regular lunch menu will be seasonal, with the summer menu launching sometime in mid-May and running through the end of August.
McMahon said a lot of thought went into the restaurant’s concept, given the competition that exists on the peninsula.
“Door County already has so many incredible dining options that we really looked hard at what was missing,” he said.
The option they created – quick, affordable, unusual food in a colorful, accessible space – is one you’ll want to discover for yourself, too.