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Dining away from home can be a fun experience, but only if you get to do so in an environment that presents a “homely” feeling. Wickman House caters to your desired needs to have your taste buds satisfied and yet, be left craving for more.
2020 was a tough year for all of us, but restaurants had it particularly hard. With all of the Covid-19 sanctions in each state being slightly different, new reports from the CDC or WHO changing weekly, and people leery of being in a crowd, a restaurant had to be able to pivot to survive.
Wickman House – A Local Dining Experience
Luckily for the folks of Wickman House, they were closed for the season when this all hit. They had a little time to devise a plan and ad 2020 approached, they had big plans to create even more memorable dining experiences for you. They were able to pivot their plans due to the pandemic and switch up what they were going to do. Yes, things changed a little… like their normal menu flipped to revolve around BBQ items, and they launched their outdoor dining.
We were blessed enough to discover the Wickman House while doing research for our next book with the Midwest Travel Network Team we had partnered with for Midwest Road Trip Adventures. as well as their newly added BBQ menu.
Let me tell you: dining at Wickman House is an experience worth having. You not only get a taste of some of the best local delicacies, but you also get to dine in an environment with a vast and rich history. The team at Wickman House is passionate about providing you with an experience like you have never had before and will leave you counting down the days until your next visit.
They try to locally source about every possible thing they can – they even bake their own bread.
This dining spot has gone through a rich history to be where it is today, and we can safely say, from where it has been to now, it’s worth creating the memory there.
The Wickman House History
In 1872, a man named Andrew Wickman migrated from Sweden to the United States and acquired a property – the one Wickman House is now located. It features a three-story building with lots of land space surrounding it and creating a lush green space and atmosphere. As the years went by, it started to acquire a lot of historical feats.
In 1921, the Wickman family opened the historic house to the public for visitation and other cultural experiences. At the time, it was named The Ellison Bay Lodge. After lots of development and transformation, the house served as an amazing 14-room B&B called The Griffin Inn.
The Inn got its name from a ship (known as Griffin), which to this day, can be found on the lake floor of Lake Michigan’s Death’s Door Strait.
It has gone through many owners, but it remains that it is one of the cozy spots in Door County that always attracts people that are looking for a serene and relaxing atmosphere to unwind and enjoy themselves in. It provides that comfort as the house featured a tremendous outdoor gazebo docked on the main lawn and was home to the T Ashwells restaurant between 1998-2011.
To date, the original design of the house is still intact, with its rich history being sustained. It has always been the nature of Wickman House to serve its guests with nothing less than quality and mouth-watering dishes.
Wickman House Quality
There is no surprise that I LOVE places that locally source as much as they can. I have talked about several restaurants before that grow their own food, work with local farmers, or a combination of both to bring the freshest and best tasting ingredients to your table.
While some people call this farm-to-table, I call it farm-to-fork. Because I want to sample it all….
Wickman House has always taken pride in serving freshly-grown produce, seasonal ingredients that are sourced from local growers, and their vegetation that is grown on the premises where the house is located.
The idea to have local produce making the dishes was strengthened in 2013 when the management decided it was ideal for growing their other crop on the property, which they now use as some of the main ingredients for their menu. If you remember anything about Ellison Bay Lodge in the early days, Wickman House will bring that history back to life.
I simply adore the eclectic items they use in their garden, from old bed frames, to screen door casings. I mean, how much more eco-friendly can you get than repurposing just about everything?
Wickman House Ellison Bay Menu
So, I already shared with you how the 2020 menu was a pivot for the conditions we all found ourselves in – and I want to tempt you a little of what we enjoyed. If this was them “punting” – holy. crap.
It was all amazing.
Wickman House Safety Protocols
I know several readers are all about social distancing, etc. Let me put you at ease. All dining was outside, tables were well spaced, staff wore masks AND gloves. They still managed to make you feel pampered and like you are truly at a 4 or 5-star restaurant. Which you are.
Each serving you receive when you visit Wickman House is cooked by a team of professional chefs who has a passion for food and flavorful tastes. They are on a mission to serve each visitor with quality as they strive to maintain a warm and welcoming environment like no other. Wickman House is a legacy where memories are created.
They work together on menu creation – and each seem to have their area of expertise.
First things first – you HAVE to try the Deviled Eggs of the Day. This was a hand-held party for your taste buds. This particular gem had date-sweetened yolks, Sarvecchio. Pickled mustard seed, etc.
I tried the featured wine too.
Ultimate BBQ Wine Special: Light in body, full BBQ flavor goodness, 2018 field recordings – Caloroso – Corvina / Cab Sauv / Rodinella
That is an awful lot of words to simply say “delicious” and well worth the $12 for a glass. Just look at the color – and I wish you could smell it! The notes were heavenly.
I chose another of the specials – The Warm Smoked Beet Salad. It had a delightful mix of fresh greens, sumac macerated black currants, sauteed greens, dried fruit, candied nuts, and DC Creamery feta.
Again. Beyond Amazing.
The hubster went for the Reuben with slow-smoked brisket, house 1000 Island, baby Swiss, and caraway kraut on their house rye. His eyes rolled back up into his head and stayed there for the rest of the night. Best Reuben he has ever had.
The kiddo went for the Slow-Smoked Pulled Pork on the house brioche, with Wickman bbq sauce. I stole the sesame slaw…and the dill pickle spear. I figured it was only fair as she attacked the mac.
We all tested the Blue-Ribbon Mac & Cheese. Roasted garlic, award-winning cheese blend and only eight bucks….
What you don’t see pictured are the form marks on my hand as the 14-year-old fought me for every bite. That is why I stole the slaw and pickle.
I think she came out ahead – that was incredible mac and cheese!
Unique Features of Wickman House that make it so amazing…
Wickman House only uses locally produced ingredients for their dishes…most of which grow on their property. Everything you eat at Wickman’s is made from scratch as the chefs and cooks are food lovers and enthusiasts who find passion is satisfying taste buds and creating flavorful goodness.
Yes. an upscale restaurant can locally source their ingredients and be successful!
You will be left yearning for more as you enjoy a serene atmosphere and a diverse menu. The service is top-notch – they even passed the never-an-empty water glass test.
Best Restaurants in Door County
This certainly tops the list for us.
If you are looking for an upscale dining experience but with a touch of both casual comfort and exposure to nature…Wickman House should be your ultimate stop. From tapping their own Maple Trees to hunting down the best glass of wine, they use that downtime between Valentine’s Day to Early May for bringing only the best to your plate.
Please make your reservation through their website and get a feel of what Wisconsin has to offer.
Whether you are a local or visiting, this is a place you have to try. Keep in mind that they are a seasonal gem – and should open back up at the end of April or early May. Check out their Facebook page for updates. I know we can’t wait until we are in Door County again to indulge!
Wickman House Address
11976 Mink River Rd, Ellison Bay WI 53210