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Nestled in the North Woods of Wisconsin, Little Bohemia Lodge is a great place to visit if you’re looking for some peace and quiet. Located in Manitowish Waters, Wisconsin, Little Bohemia Lodge provides visitors with the opportunity to experience all that nature has to offer while enjoying an incredibly tasty meal.
The relaxing atmosphere will help you get away from it all and enjoy your vacation! In this blog post, we’ll discuss reasons why you should make the trip out there today.
5 Top Reasons to Visit Little Bohemia Lodge
Steeped in lore, Little Bohemia is the perfect place to kick back and enjoy time with your friends and family.
1) Little Bohemia History:
The roaring 20s were at an end and the Chicago Mobsters were as wealthy as the Chicago elite who loved to venture north and take a vacation from their busy metropolis.
Built in 1929, Little Bohemia became a mecca of relaxation for many, including the unsavory element. The owner, Emil Wanatka, had a mutual friend and was unaware of the real identity of his infamous guests.
Let’s face it, John Dillinger was one of the most famous criminals in US history and a new criminal boss for Chicago’s underworld at that time. With friends like “Baby Face Nelson”, he was certainly no choir boy.
Little Bohemia Dillinger Story
Dillinger’s group of friends had a cabin on the property and they would come up to Little Bohemia for their summer vacations.
Really, with a one-dollar dinner special on Sunday nights? I would have been there too!
So, the infamous Dillinger gang frequented the lodge, and eventually, Wanatka figured out who they were – leading to law enforcement officials being contacted who were eager to take out Dillinger after he eluded them for so many years. The FBI also wanted revenge because of all those agents that died while trying to capture him over the previous year or more.
Little Bohemia Raid
That night, in 1934, the poorly thought-out raid took place. The back of the property was never manned by the Feds and the gang escaped by foot until they were able to steal a few cars and head out of state.
Little Bohemia Lodge shootout
The only 2 people to lose their lives in the legendary shootout were FBI special agent Carter Baum, and lodge customer Eugene Boisneau.
Baby Face Nelson, John Dillinger, Homer Van Meter, Tommy Carroll, John “Red” Hamilton, and Pat Reilly all escaped capture while more lawmen and customers were injured.
Little Bohemia Bullet Holes
To this day, you can see the hundreds of bullet holes that sprinkle the resort restaurant. They are protected behind glass for posterity and you can even see where they went through some internal walls!
Little Bohemia Public Enemies
In the summer of 2008, Wisconsin was host to the film crew for Public Enemies, starring Johnny Depp. While the movie was a box office flop – it was a hit with the locals as scenes were filmed in Columbus Wisconsin and also filmed on location at Little Bohemia.
The results of the Little Bohemia lodge shootout were altered for creative reasons and death scenes that really didn’t happen were documented to exaggerate violence and provide exciting action scenes for viewers.
2) Little Bohemia Lodge John Dillinger exhibit
The rooms of Little Bohemia are decked out with a John Dillinger exhibit. These exhibits have artifacts, photos, and other memorabilia from the gangster’s life – all worth taking in for historical purposes!
3) Little Bohemia treasure
For those who like to explore, there is supposed to be some hidden treasure in the woods near Little Bohemia. Here is the thing – Dillinger DID stash ammo there that helped them in the famous shoot-out.
10 days after the famous shoot-out, he was seen to carry the suitcase of $200,000 that he was supposed to have buried on the grounds of Little Bohemia. The “cache legend” may or may not have stemmed from the ammunition that he hides behind the lodge two days before the shootout.
Anyone who has been to the Northwoods of Wisconsin knows how frozen the ground still is in April and how hard it would have been to dig a hole and bury something. The lakes are usually pretty frozen still and that would eliminate the theory that it was tossed in to get later.
Let’s face it – they needed the cash for their get-away. It was clear, cold with freezing temps that night and there were 2-3 inches of snow on the ground.
Considering they had to know leaving tracks in the snow would bring officers to them in a minute, would you have wanted to stop long enough to bury even a small suitcase with your bare hands in the frozen ground?
Sorry – you aren’t going to score cash in their woods.
4) Little Bohemia Bar
No doubt this is where you will start your visit. The lake is only about 50 yards from the back door of this legendary bar. Just ask them about what Dillinger used to drink and if they can make you one. If not? Go for the traditional Wisconsin Brandy Old Fashioned Sweet. Yes, Brandy – NOT Bourbon. Wisconsin makes a lot of brandy and we support our own.
Brandy-loving Wisconsin is the top market for California-based Korbel, buying more than one-third of their annual production, but small-batch brandy from Badger State distilleries are gaining attention too.
Get an ice cream drink if you go! They have huge Grasshoppers.
5) Little Bohemia dinner menu
If you’re looking to lay low or take down some great home cooking then look no further than Little Bohemia Lodge. There is something on the menu that will make every mouth water and the dining room overlooks Little Star Lake.
From traditional supper club fare like steaks and seafood, they also have a nice selection of German offerings. The hubster raves about the Pork Shank and I love the fish fry. It is hand-breaded Icelandic Cod and fantastic! The kiddo always goes for the pasta – whatever dish catches their eye.
While there is no traditional relish tray, the meals start with traditional “old school” cold salads like pea and peanut or tuna macaroni, along with breadsticks and their cheese spread … and it just gets better from there.
We love the baked in a crock french onion soup!
The only thing I want to give you a heads up on about Little Bohemia is the water. It has a high sulfur content and will smell/taste a little funny. It translates to the fountain sodas also. Stick to bottled drinks and you won’t have an issue. Our kids drink milk.
Get our Supper Club Score Card!
Little Bohemia Wisconsin
It’s a place where you can enjoy an old-fashioned Wisconsin supper, check out a little local colorful history, and take a walk outside to see the beautiful setting.
Little Bohemia hours
As it is a Supper Club – it is only open for SUPPER. The bar opens daily at 4 PM, and you can dine Tuesday through Saturday between 5:00 PM – 10:00 PM. It is highly recommended that you make reservations first.
Little Bohemia phone number
Be patient, often their answering machine blips, and you end up having to call back. A reservation guarantees your spot during prime season. (715) 543-8800