Year in Review 2018: The Year in Food

Door County has become a truly exciting place for food, drink and all things involved in the dining experience. Our seasonality means that some items are here today, gone tomorrow. Season to season, we see new restaurant concepts coming and going, moving and growing. Looking back at this past year, here are some noticeable trends.


International Influence

Slowly but surely, Door County has begun to offer a variety of cuisines from many other cultures and countries around the world. Naturally, the influence of Scandinavian food has always played a role, but you’ll also find food with Spanish, Indian, Japanese, Thai, Mexican and Cajun influences. Several establishments feature an Asian-cuisine special during the week, and Ephraim is home to Czarnuszka Soup Bar, modeled after a cafeteria in Poland. Heirloom Cafe in Baileys Harbor even offered traditional Oaxacan cuisine every Friday this December. This international trend has infused more culture into our eating and opened the Door to new flavors and ways of cooking.


New School, New Rules

There’s also a trend of creating food that can’t be perfectly categorized — food that has its own rules and flavors. Craft cocktails come to mind as an area that’s continually being reinvented. The staff at Hatch Distilling Co., for instance, creates new offerings with each changing season. The European-style gastropub Bier Zot serves some of the best Japanese-style ramen around. The Kitschinn Kombucha Taproom and Juicery sells raw organic juice, smoothies and kombucha on tap, with the option to incorporate CBD (cannabidiol). The Hitching Post, a Whitefish Dunes staple, changed hands and has incorporated a new twist: “For the health of it” and “For the hell of it” menus. Molds are being broken, and the old rules don’t apply.


Fine Dining Dressed Down

It used to be that if you were in the mood for a fantastic, expertly crafted meal, it meant making a reservation and a rather sizeable investment at a fine-dining establishment. Thankfully, fresh, creative and delicious food has found its place at every level of dining, from informal to formal. You can find wood-fired pizzas using local ingredients at Wild Tomato and Door County Brewing Co.’s outdoor beer garden. There are inventive and tasty tacos at Taco Cerveza. At Culinaria, you’ll find made-from-scratch salads, meatballs and pizzas; and on certain summer days, an authentic, Spanish-style paella feast takes place on its lawn. Fine dining no longer needs to be relegated to establishments with white linens and five courses.


These trends reflect the diverse taste preferences of people who live in and spend time in the county. As a foodie, I find it energizing to know this county is becoming increasingly dynamic. Cheers to a wonderful 2018, and I look forward to all the culinary delights that 2019 will bring!

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