Maybe it was all the downtime people had to dream up new restaurant concepts and business plans during the pandemic’s shelter-in-place days. Maybe it was our eagerness to return to bustling dining rooms, cozy cafes and local hangouts. Maybe it was a desire to try something new and experimental, or a need to make ends meet. Whatever the catalysts, the result is a boom in new dining options around the county this summer, offering something for every palate and expanding the social scene. Which ones will you add to your summer bucket list?
Clover & Zot • 8054 Hwy 57
Clover & Zot is a chic, Euro hangout featuring fresh, locally sourced ingredients in dishes designed to be shared. A well-considered European wine and beer selection complements the food in the space that was briefly home to Clover and Ash, and the Yum Yum Tree before that.
DCBC Eats • 8099 Hwy 57
Located in the former Bearded Heart location next to Door County Brewing Co., the barbecue shack opened earlier this week to serve takeout barbecue and sandwiches.
The HarBar • 8048 Hwy 57
The water-adjacent HarBar outside the Florian II Supper Club is open every Sunday through August, weather permitting, to serve frozen and regular cocktails and food from the Florian II’s kitchen. Also look for the Simply Cuban food truck, outdoor games, rafts on the water and live music.
MAX at Maxwelton Braes • 7670 Hwy 57
MAX offers a casual atmosphere for kicking back and quenching your thirst, complete with an expansive outdoor patio, firepit and yard games to entertain the whole crew.
The Vault Door County • 12046 Hwy 42
Gourmet popcorn, freshly made soft-serve ice cream and yogurt, specialty baked treats and an array of candy will tempt many a tastebud in the former Nicolet Bank space in Ellison Bay.
Czarnuska Soup • 9922 Water St., Unit 7 (Shorewood Shops)
Same name. Same recipes. Same location. New owners. Ben and Laura McMahon will continue to ladle popular “CZ” soups and provide some new options such as curries.
Sunset Harbor Grill • 10018 N. Water St.
Located above the Ephraim Shores Resort, this restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Backbone Food Truck and Lumberjack Tacos • Nicolet Beach, Peninsula State Park
Get your food-truck fix at Nicolet Beach this summer. Choose from a tasty rotation of sausages, Beyond Burgers, cheese curds and creative fries from Backbone Food Truck, as well as fresh Mexican street-food fare from Lumberjack Tacos.
Bayside Coffee • Bayside Shops (behind the Bayside Tavern, 4160 Main St.)
The owners of the Bayside Tavern are serving up daily brews and waterfront views.
Skaliwags • 4135 Main Street
After 45 years Dick and Carol Skare called it a day at The Cookery this May, selling the downtown Fish Creek mainstay to Chris Wiltfang of Skaliwags. It’s his first brick and mortar foray into Door County after building a destination spot in Algoma over the last decade. The Algoma location has now closed.
Cash Only Noodle Bar • 3931 Hwy 42
More of a concept than a name, the short-term, no-name bar located in the building that formerly housed Fish Creek Grill is serving up “noodles and booze with nothing to lose” only until September and only midweek, when many other restaurants are closed. Grab a drink at the tiki bar, or try each week’s latest culinary creation.
DC Chocolate Design • 9431 Spring Road (Top of the Hill Shops)
DC Chocolate Design specializes in small-batch, handmade truffles, bars and molded chocolates in its new home location at the Top of the Hill shops.
Door County Cherry Hut • 8813 Hwy 42
Playing homage to the building’s original inhabitant, Ray’s Cherry Hut, this new beer and wine garden from Bridge Up Brewing Co.’s Trent Snyder also offers canned jams and jellies, pies, a deli and a makers’ market.
Loft • 4170 Main St.
Loft occupies the former Juniper’s Gin Joint and iconic C&C Supper Club location. From Wisconsin cheese curds and Korean wings to hearty burgers and sizzling ribs, Loft features a diverse menu that’s sure to offer something for every appetite.
Sara’s Artisan Gelato • 4192 Main St.
Choosing Fish Creek for its second store location, Sara’s Artisan Gelato features handcrafted gelato using traditional Italian techniques, Wisconsin milk and high-quality ingredients.
Shiny Moon Cafe • 4164 Main St.
Angie McMahon’s new cafe resides in the longtime Mr. Helsinki’s space above the Fish Creek Market. It serves breakfast and lunch with a full-service coffee bar, beer and wine. Vegan and vegetarian options are also available.
Twelve Eleven Wine Bar • 10339 Hwy 57
Twelve Eleven and Thyme Cuisine are collaborating in a full-service restaurant to offer indoor and outdoor dining, private events, a wine bar and a provisions shop.
The Gnoshery, 23 N. 3rd Ave.
The Gnoshery’s board-game-cafe experience includes coffee, tea and more for casual and dedicated board-game, tabletop and trading-card fans who can look forward to meet-and-greets with game makers, new-product launches and casual play events.