With its fresh-water shoreline, charming small towns, and luxurious bed and breakfasts, Door County is a popular Midwest getaway.
Located on Wisconsin’s peninsula that juts into Lake Michigan, Door County is about a three hour drive from Milwaukee and about four or five hours from Chicago.
So, whether you are planning to tour its beautiful fall colors, kayak Lake Michigan, or just escape the city, you’ll find Door County is also a culinary destination full of places to eat and drink like the local foodies do.
When I visited in June, I enjoyed eight delicious and unique Door County culinary experiences that I highly recommend to anyone planning a visit.
1. Eat Cherry Doughnuts From Wood Orchard
To start your day the Door County way, get tasty cherry doughnuts and absolutely delectable cherry strudel from the bakery at Wood Orchard. The Egg Harbor bakery also sells apple doughnuts, pies, and breads. In the fall, you’ll also find caramel apples.
2. Taste Cherry Wines At Lautenbach’s Orchard Country Winery
At Lautenbach’s in Fish Creek, you have several options for culinary experiences. Want wine? You can tour the winery or do a complimentary wine tasting. Want fruit? Pick your own cherries (July-August) or apples (September-October). Plus, you can shop the market for specialty foods, baked goods, and all your cherry souvenirs. Be sure to purchase some cherry juice!
3. Grab Lunch At Door County Creamery
Located in Sister Bay, Door County Creamery is the perfect locale to dine outside and watch the passersby. Be sure to pop around the side of the building to where goats play in their little pen! So stinkin’ cute.
Whether you nosh on cheese and meats or eat one of the delicious sandwiches, you won’t be disappointed. The market also has a great selection of craft beer by the single bottle and 30 wines under $20.
Looking for one of the most unique Door County culinary experiences? Tour the goat farm and enjoy a patio lunch complete with gelato and a cheese tasting!
And, don’t forget dessert! Door County Creamery has goat’s-milk gelato in about a dozen flavors. The roasted almond fig gelato is quite lovely.
4. Share A Pizza At Wild Tomato
Wild Tomato is a family-friendly restaurant specializing in wood-fired pizzas with locations in Fish Creek and Sister Bay. The Fish Creek location has a fantastic patio with red-umbrella-covered tables, and it’s conveniently located across the street from the beautiful Peninsula State Park. I highly recommend the veggie pizza loaded up with red and green peppers, onions, mushrooms, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, pesto, and Wisconsin goat cheese and mozzarella. Yum!
5. Drink Vino At Stone’s Throw Winery
At Stone’s Throw Winery, you can sip wines made locally from California grapes in a beautiful outdoor setting while playing bocce ball. I suggest tasting the Wine Maker Select Series and taking a look at the unique label art on the bottles. Tours, including barrel tasting tours, are available by reservation, and you can check here for more about the tours and tasting room hours. Also on the premises is Vino! Vino!, a contemporary wine bar serving 300 Italian and Californian wines and stuzzichini, Italian small plates.
6. Dine And Sip Cocktails At Wickman House
Tucked away on what seems like a wealthy family’s summer estate is the Wickman House. Once a family home turned 1920s lodge turned 14-room B&B, this beautiful three-story white house now sits on sprawling green grounds with Adirondack chairs and twinkling lights. Inside at the bar, seasoned NYC bartenders mix fantastic cocktails. Wait until you see the Tiki glasses in which the Mai Tais are served! As for the food, the dishes feature many locally-sourced ingredients and are artfully prepared. Must try: The grain bowl! It’s toasted farro, wild rice, soy-marinated soft-boiled egg, bok choy, marinated kale, ramp kimchee, crushed peanuts, and shitaki mushrooms in a miso lemon vinaigrette.
7. Sample Island Orchard Cider
If you like crisp, Champagne-like, French-style hard cider, the Island Orchard Cider tasting should be on your Door County itinerary. The cidery grows its apples on a Washington Island farm just across from mainland Door County, but the tasting room is located in Ellison Bay. I particularly enjoyed the pear cider, which I found crisp and refreshing. Also, be sure to ask for a sample of the cherry vanilla soda. It’s absolutely delightful — and alcohol-free for the under 21 crowd!
8. Savor A Sundae At Door County Ice Cream Factory
Lastly, you can’t leave Door County without an ice cream sundae. Though you have many options for frozen treats, a visit to Door County Ice Cream Factory is necessary. The Sister Bay ice cream parlor actually makes all of its own ice cream — in 45 flavors! Usually 29 flavors are available on any given day. Some are very uniquely Midwest — Blue Moon, of course. And, some are so very Door County-themed — Cherry Cheesecake, Deaths’ Door Chocolate, and Door County Cherry.
As I’m sure you’ve noticed, a culinary trip through Door County features a lot of apples and cherries!
Before you go to Door County, map your route to foodie paradise.
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Which of these Door County culinary experiences do you hope to enjoy during your next visit?