(Him) Tripping around the Missisipi River and gallivanting around Southwest WI we happened across The Bagley Hotel in downtown Bagely. Mind you Bagely has a population of 364 living souls so the need for a hotel seems minimal. I imagine back in the day when this place was built, the Railroad and River Trade was hopping and Bagely was a mini mecca. It is no more, but as soon as I saw this place I knew I had to stop there.
The place is old, like built in the early 1900’s old. There is a bar ,kitchen and dining area on the first floor. The Hotel office has made way for more tables. It’s wicked cool and a good reminder of days gone by. Jean a retired School teacher took over the place not so long ago and makes sure you get a good meal. She even allowed me to go upstairs and check out some of the 7 rooms they have for rent. Simple clean rooms with no fanciness. Good for you in 1901 and just as good for you in 2015.
OK NOW THE FOOD…..THE CHEESECURDS…Huge portion and hand battered. By far the highlight of the meal. Golly Jeepers these things were the best. I’ve had very few better fried curds in my life than in downtown Bagely WI. I also had a turkey club of some sort with fries. That was fine enough but THE CURDS ……. THE CURDS …….THE CURDS……
It’s a scenic drive….It’s near Wyalusing State Park…Take a drive….stop for Curds and good company. Also for you Morel Mushroom hunters you can stay here why looking for your favorite fungi which is plentiful down here.
Rating Curds 10 out of 9 , Ambiance A Jean 6 out of 6.27
(Her) I can’t really say that I shared my hubby’s “we gotta stop here” delight when I first saw the Bagley Hotel. I must admit that we passed it and then came back around. It turned out that may be quite literally the only place in town to eat. One thing we had learned about the area along the Mississippi River was that it was full of small towns just like this one with food offerings being few and far between.
That being said, I was happy once we walked in. Most of the original architecture and character are still there and it isn’t hard to imagine what this hotel was like in it’s hey day. First of all, you just know this place is haunted and has “seen some shit” and secondly, it sort of reminded me of a smaller version of the Union Hotel in De Pere. Jean, the new owner was very welcoming and didn’t get annoyed at all by our many questions. The cheese curds we started with were amazing. They were exactly how fried curds in Wisconsin should be: hand breaded curds from a local dairy in the best place to get them. This is a beautiful dairy rich portion of the state where cheese mongers take pride in their cheeses and do goofy things like build caves for them and have dinners right in their barns with their cows.
I ordered a fish sandwich which was almost overshadowed by it’s yummy bun (probably locally made at least it seemed so) and choose salsa and chips both of which were homemade. I absolutely loved the option of having my own salsa and chips instead of fries because I really wanted salsa and the hubby didn’t. (because onions) After our meal, we were treated with a piece of homemade cake that apparently was included in the meal. We were too full for cake, but I brought it back to the campground with us and it was delish.
Jean told us that the hotel has a slow time during the winter months but gets booked regularly by the Morel hunters so that’s as much of an insider tip as you’ll get from us. Somewhere in the driftless region there are Morels people!!
Anyway, I loved the quaintness of the place and it definitely felt like we had stumbled upon a hidden gem. Everyone we talked to in this area seemed to know Jean and spoke fondly of her, and if you need a place to bone up on your French and Latin she taught both for many years. I’m definitely rooting for Jean to make this work and if you are anywhere near this place for the love of corn, go try the curds!!!
Ambiance: 9 Food: 7.32 (curds were a 10) I should have just ordered my own curds and stopped right there a happy woman. Service: 9.43