(Her) The Stone Cellar has many firsts to boast about. They are the oldest brewpub in Wisconsin and have the oldest beer garden in Appleton. The Stone Cellar is located “between the locks” ( a gorgeous historic area of Appleton) in a building over 150 years old that was the first brewery in Outagamie County. They even have a resident ghost, “Charlie” so that gives them some street cred with me.
If you were entertaining guests that weren’t from Wisconsin, this is the one place that you would take them that would best sum up our Wisconsin “culture”. There were plenty of things on the menu that I looked at and thought “I don’t need to pay for a fancy cheese plate, I’m from Wisconsin, I’ve had cheese before. ” There was however, a variety rarely seen in the appetizer menu: everything from scotch eggs, seafood, hummus, and soft pretzels with cheese. The rest of the menu was pretty straightforward. Stone Cellar has a little bit of everything for everyone. They serve pub foods like fish and chips, bangers and mash, shepard’s pie, and pizza. They also have pastas, seafood, steaks, and the Friday fish fry. If you’re vegetarian or just trying to be healthy, Stone Cellar has a ton of different organic salads. During the week the lunch special is the Fox Valley’s first organic soup and salad bar for $6.99 along with a full menu of sandwiches and wraps, not just a dumbed down dinner menu.
The twist this restaurant provides is the pride they take in both their beer and their food. Head chef Brady Ahrens tries to use Stone Cellar’s own crafted beers whenever applicable in a recipe. The restaurant shops locally for their meats, cheeses, barley, and the vegetables come from the local farmers market when in season. A complete list is provided explaining where your food is coming from. They also pride themselves in being “green” and the menu explained that they compost kitchen waste and feed grain waste to the elk that gave you that juicy burger. It’s refreshing to see, to say the least. For more on Chef Brady you can check out this great article in The scene.
Since it was Friday, I ordered the Fish and Chips and substituted the evil french fries for sweet potato fries. I ordered the chicken soup with whole wheat dumplings which was included with my meal. The soup was nothing to brag about. Being German, I guess I expect more from my dumplings which were almost non-existent. The haddock was lightly breaded and very tender and flaky. I was surprised it wasn’t beer battered. The beer batter may have held up better to the moistness of the fish. Although, I will say that the fish being billed as the “special of the evening, fresh caught the day before, flown from Alaska” was sold out by 5:30. Maybe you get what you pay for in the fish department. My Haddock was great fish, but I regretted not trying something a little less typical and I definitely wouldn’t say “go there for the fish.” Especially when there are ten other reasons why I would tell you to go there.
Food 8.93 (more so for the selection and not the quality) Ambiance 10 our waiter “Steve” who enthusiastically could describe the dishes and beers and you could tell truly enjoyed working there…. 9.75
*If you are really into craft beers check out the scavenger hunt pub crawl with incentives passport thing they got going on…it’s on their website.
(Him) Mad props on the decor of this place. I am a fan of old things and this place looked and felt old. You earn the right to eat there by traversing a rather steep staircase on the way down to the “cellar”. The walls were ancient (well circa 1860) stones that has a recent coat of varnish layered on them. Steve the waiter was very knowledgeable on everything in the menu. He made me bit suspicious as he had an answer for everything and claimed to try everything we asked about. However he was jovial and allowed me to continue to read the menu and ignore my wife well after we ordered. I ordered a Marquette Pilsner made on the floors above. The first drink was stiff as it was very dry, however as I continued drinking it became more palatable. Enough so to say I like it. My corn chowder was the same way. The first slurp was ok but it grew on me. I was starting to notice a trend. My Elk Steak with Boursin Cheese was just ok. I’m not sure a chef was needed to make this meal. It was basically a chopped steak with a little bit of fancy melted cheese on top. We paid “chef” prices though. The cheesy mashed potatoes were just mashed with a bit of melted cheese on them and my garnish of two asparagus stalks were very undercooked. So yes, I was totally underwhelmed on my dinner but I will say the one bite of Cory’s fish was enough to secure a second try at the joint. It was that good and I look forward to a whole meal of it.
Food (my meal -not the bite of fish) 4.75 Atmosphere 9.83