Bagely Hotel: Bagley, Wisconsin

bagley(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


The 5th Quarter: Little Chute, Wisconsin

(Him)  Let’s talk about the good stuff first, and that is pizza sauce even though we didn’t indulge on pizza for this visit.  I will say this was the saving grace of our recent visit, and its use this time was as a condiment for greasy cheese curds.  Whatever they do to the sauce to make it so thick and delicious and flavorful, they need to keep doing it.  This sauce is probably the best I’ve tasted in the valley.  We arrived thrust into the tradition of the Friday night fish fry and it appeared that there was only one waitress working about 35 tables so needless to say that the service was painfully slow.  We ordered curds as an appetizer and even though I said they were greasy they were a tasty treat.  These curds were a nice departure from the standard frozen off-the-Sysco-truck fare that most places serve.  I ordered a turkey bacon club sandwich that bordered on inedible.  The “toast” was as crunchy as a crouton on the top and as soggy and wet like a pancake on the bottom.  It’s hard to eat such a bipolar sandwich.  The cheese on the sandwich was so thin that you could actually see through it.  Even if the sandwich was tasty, I would have felt the lack of ingredients was not reflected in the price. On a side note, the crowd enjoyed the Brewers game and made it fun to watch so I would suggest this place if you want to watch a sporting event and eat greasy curds.  I’ve eaten here two times and the standard seems to be good apps, bad entrees.

Sauce…..10 out of 9   Television per human ratio………pretty darn good    returnability…….4.75

(Her) The 5th quarter is close to our home and I was so sick of our “where do you wanna go? I don’t know where do you wanna go?” argument that I chose it out of exasperation. I was sort of hoping to get pizza here since my darling hubby gave up pizza for lent and I subsequently have not had it either.  It’s funny how someone can rave about pizza sauce and then order a turkey club and be disappointed. I immediately helped myself to some popcorn from the Valley Popcorn machine so I wasn’t all that worried about how slow the service was because I f@#$ing  LOVE Valley Popcorn.  I wasn’t too fond of the limp and greasy cheese curds and actually thought that for a moment they had brought clam strips out. They do come on a bed of fries to help soak up the grease though so you feel like you are getting a good deal on those curds.  I ordered a perch sandwich and a cup of clam chowder.  The perch was great, I had the option to have it breaded or beer battered.  I should have skipped the sandwich and the clam chowder was unique and more of a rich bisque therefore, some of the best I’ve had in the valley. I liked the fact that there were multiple side options including veggies and dip.  I wish more places did this.   I did feel bad for the poor waitress who was trying to keep up and even though the service was slow, she did manage to bring us plenty of drink refills.  What restaurant doesn’t know that they should have extra help on a Friday night?  I will say that watching the Brewer game here was fun.  The crowd was a bit older and really intensely focused on this game and it reminded me of what sports was like before my husband killed that too.  Alas, I will probably never be back to taste their pizza and watch their many televisions. Perhaps I will have to take a friend.
Value….6.99 for a perch sandwich with two butterflies of perch and that included a cup of soup. I’d say that’s pretty darn good on a Friday night.  Service….Understandably slow, but you could tell the poor girl was trying.  Popcorn…..TEN

5th Quarter on Urbanspoon

Birmingham’s: Sturgeon Bay, WI

(Her) I’m beginning to think that we are jinxed when it comes to burgers and recommendations.    When a friend recommends a restaurant and tells you it’s one of the best burgers they’ve ever had in their lives–walk away.  Because we were specifically coming here on the aforementioned burger endorsements, the entire table (minus the vegetarians) ordered the burger in some fashion or another.  I wish we got the burger in the photo.  What we got was basically, a lightly squashed meatball that was so undercooked it was cold in the center placed on some wonder bread that quickly turned to goo once the pink juices started flowing from the meat.  The burger was so small, the bread overwhelmed it.  The whole experience  reminded me of when you were a kid and you REALLY wanted a McDonald’s hamburger and your mother says to you in her mothery voice “we can make the same thing at home”.  I’m not sure what was wrong with the cook that day, maybe it was wrong to show up on a Friday expecting burgers and not fish.  I believe the many reviews out there that say the burgers are good and “amazing” but I don’t think we’ll be giving them a chance to redeem themselves as my hubby can be pretty unforgiving.

Value……7  Ambience…..7 (very typical Wisconsin)  Food……3

This is foggy memory here. Nothing sticks out as being good or tasty. The only redeeming thing about this place was the late 70’s Pinball machine. Lots of play for a quarter. So overpay for a tiny meatball burger on white bread and get your money’s worth in pinball. I really got nothing else to say. No need to go here or think about it.





Charlie’s Drive In: Hortonville, Wisconsin

Image(Her) We have driven past Charlie’s Drive In a few times and it always seemed to be at the wrong times seasonally speaking.  So when we heard we were going to be in Hortonville for a show we thought about them right away.  We decided to sit outside and got immediate service from the Charlie’s man himself-Carl Mann who also happens to be Charlie’s son.  Carl was outgoing and friendly and brought us some reading material and some menus so that we could really appreciate the place’s history ourselves. Continue reading

Stone Cellar Brewpub in Appleton, Wisconsin

(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. Continue reading