Dining and drinking in Kenosha, Wisconsin

//Dining and drinking in Kenosha, Wisconsin

Dining and drinking in Kenosha, Wisconsin

Where to eat and drink well in Wisconsin’s fourth largest city

Kenosha in southeastern Wisconsin lies halfway between Chicago and Milwaukee. For many years, my only experience with the city involved driving on Interstate 94, which connects the cities and cuts through Kenosha’s western edge. I would make an occasional stop at roadside diners or cheese shops (Wisconsin is nicknamed American’s Dairyland, after all), but never ventured out east to the center.

It wasn’t until a friend moved to the city that I became aware of what I had been missing. Downtown Kenosha is steps away from Lake Michigan, and thanks to recent revitalization efforts, the area is filled with restaurants serving diverse cuisine.

Kenosha Harbor Market

Sampling local cheese at the weekly Kenosha Harbor Market

Whether you are looking for casual Midwestern fare, haute cuisine, or local microbrews, Kenosha has it. Here are my recommended places in and around downtown.

DINING

Char’s Café ($)
5537 6th Ave, Kenosha, WI 53140
Phone: (262) 657-3677

A corner diner serving breakfast, lunch (including homemade soups), a large variety of pastries, and ALTERRA™ coffee (Milwaukee-based roaster).

Franks Diner ($)
508 58th St, Kenosha, WI 53140
Phone: (262) 657-1017

Established in 1926, Franks Diner is the oldest operating lunch car diner in the US and a registered historical landmark. Before you go, arm yourself with patience and smiles: there are often long lines outside (especially on weekends), the service can be sassy, and the inside is crowded, hectic, and loud. But the payoff is a fun, unique dining experience in an old-school setting, plus large portions of freshly-prepared food.

JA’s pick: Franks Garbage Plate (signature dish) with homemade toast; half-portions/vegetarian options available

Twisted Cuisine ($$)
7546 Sheridan Rd, Kenosha, WI 53143
Phone: (262) 564-0220

The cozy restaurant, located about a 4-minute drive from downtown Kenosha, offers creative gourmet food in a relaxed atmosphere. Their menu is seasonal and special dining events (e.g. Wine Dinners) are held periodically. Recommended for a date night.

Kaiser’s Pizza and Pub ($$)
510 57th St, Kenosha, WI 53140
Phone: (262) 653-5897

A casual, family-friendly spot whose thin crust pizza that has been voted #1 in Kenosha County. Also known for seasoned beer nuggets, pizza dough baked in olive oil and served with marinara sauce.

Franks Diner Kenosha

Garbage Plates in the making at Franks Diner (est. 1926)

Twisted Cuisine Kenosha

Fine dining in a casual atmosphere at Twisted Cuisine

DRINKING

Public Craft Brewing Co. ($$)
716 58th St, Kenosha, WI 53140

This downtown microbrewery began as a home-based operation and aims to provide “beer for the people.” The brews are available on tap and in growlers, and the taproom features chess, a shuffleboard table, and library of books about beer.

Find out more about Public from my post: Hangout: Public Craft Brewing Co. in Kenosha, Wisconsin

Rustic Road Brewery ($$)
510 56th St, Kenosha, WI 53140
Phone: (262) 320-7623

Kenosha’s oldest operating brewery, producing beer in small batches. They have brewing classes, “brew in progress” events (where you can watch how your beer is made), and live music performances on weekends.

Rendez’vous Tiki Lounge ($$)
1700 52nd St, Kenosha, WI 53140
Phone: (262) 652-0992

Not a place one might expect in the Midwest! South Pacific tiki atmosphere, specialty cocktails, and more than 40 rums. Some drinks use secret recipes and a homemade liquor mix.

Doll’s Tavern ($)
3014 Roosevelt Rd, Kenosha, WI 53142
Phone: (262) 652-2777

A laid-back neighborhood bar southwest of downtown, in business since 1924. $0.50 pool and darts, free jukebox.

Kenosha beer

Wisconsin’s brewing tradition is alive and well in downtown Kenosha

COFFEE & DESSERT

Harborside Common Grounds ($)
5159 6th Ave, Kenosha, WI 53140
Phone: (262) 652-5111

An independent coffee shop with vintage-inspired decor and harbor views. A selection of teas and homemade sandwiches is also available.

Linnea Bakery ($$)
512 56th St, Kenosha, WI 53140
Phone: (262) 484-4203

Linnea is a Scandinavian bakery downtown, selling baked goods made from scratch daily, Swedish-inspired, custom-blended coffee, and Northern European products. Located next door to Rustic Road Brewery.

Kenosha Harbor Market ($$)
514 56th St, Kenosha, WI 53140
Phone: (262) 914-1252

Open 50 Saturdays a year, this European-style outdoor market near the lakefront is a destination for artisan bakery items, fresh fruit, and other locally-sourced goods. (Note: the market moves indoors in winter.)

Linnea Bakery Kenosha

I’ll take both, please! Kanelbulle (left) and Berry Basket at Scandinavian-style Linnea Bakery

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Thank you to Kenosha Area CVB and its associates for hosting me in the city. All opinions, as always, are mine.

By | 2014-02-06T00:41:39+00:00 July 19th, 2013|CITIES|19 Comments

About the Author:

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Pola Henderson is a travel writer, city explorer, expat, and event host. Traveling has been a part of her life since she was three. Pola grew up in Krakow, lived in Chicago for many years and is currently based in Paris, where she teaches Business English.

19 Comments

  1. avatar
    Traveling Ted July 22, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    Great list of local eats in Kenosha. I will have to take a trip up there sometime. Maybe I will hijack an Electric boat in Chicago and cruise up there. I doubt I would make it through the locks though.
    Traveling Ted recently posted..If you don’t know – Chicago Electric Boat Co.My Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around July 22, 2013 at 5:28 pm

      I think you should try at least. ;) But seriously, Kenosha is fun and I hope you’ll get to check it out sometime.

  2. avatar
    Lance | Trips By Lance July 22, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    I’ve made that drive but didn’t stop. My problem when I’m on a road trip is I’m always in such a hurry to get to the destination, in this instance it was Milwaukee from Chicago. Maybe next time.
    Lance | Trips By Lance recently posted..Five Ways to Experience Baseball TravelMy Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around July 22, 2013 at 5:26 pm

      I know what you mean, Lance! It took me a while to discover Kenosha, but now I see that it’s worth a stop. :)

  3. avatar
    Anita Mac July 24, 2013 at 7:12 am

    Funny – I first heard about the garbage plate in Rochester..still not game to eat it! Seems a like a lot of food! Thanks for the tips….thinking about a US road trip next year.
    Anita Mac recently posted..A New Orleans Comedy Of ErrorsMy Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around July 24, 2013 at 5:25 pm

      It IS a lot of food!! I had to get the half portion, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to get up, haha. But so good… :)

  4. avatar
    Leah Travels July 26, 2013 at 4:21 am

    Take me to Kenosha right now. That food looks amazing and I’m STARVING!
    Leah Travels recently posted..Six Simple Amenities that all Luxury Hotels Should OfferMy Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around July 26, 2013 at 12:18 pm

      Tell me about it! I could have those pastries every day for breakfast…

  5. avatar
    Francesca July 26, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    You know how I feel about Kenosha :-) I think The Working Dad & I should join you and Mr. JA on a trip up there so we could visit those breweries. I missed out on them when I was there last Fall. Harbor Market alone is worth a return trip; it’s incredible!
    Francesca recently posted..A family bonds in Great Smoky Mountains National ParkMy Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around July 26, 2013 at 1:57 pm

      Great idea, FF! Kenosha has become one of our favorite weekend getaways and we’d love to be back!

  6. avatar
    Erin at The World Wanderer July 27, 2013 at 7:37 am

    Oh yes, I need to visit here asap. I have never been to Wisconsin, and I love cheese, but clearly there’s so much more!
    Erin at The World Wanderer recently posted..How to Make Pad See Ew Without Looking Like an Idiot.My Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around July 27, 2013 at 11:32 am

      Hehe yes: cheese, beer, and so much more! :-)

  7. avatar
    D.J. - The World of Deej July 28, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    All I can say is…yum! I remember seeing the garbage plates on Food Network sometime. Great stuff…
    D.J. – The World of Deej recently posted..Early Morning at Disney’s California Adventure – Random Picture of the WeekMy Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around July 28, 2013 at 8:02 pm

      You saw that episode? I need to finally watch it. :)

  8. avatar
    @mrsoaroundworld July 29, 2013 at 4:19 am

    Looks lovely! Maybe mrs o needs wisconsin in her life?
    @mrsoaroundworld recently posted..My hOtel: Maikhao Dream Villa Resort & Spa, Phuket by @chinmoyladMy Profile

  9. avatar
    lola July 31, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    OMG craft beer. desserts. food….YUM YUM YUM.
    lola recently posted..Four Seasons Miami – Reasons to Escape South BeachMy Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around July 31, 2013 at 8:50 pm

      That pretty much sums it up, Lola! :)

  10. avatar

    […] Get more Kenosha food recommendations from my post: Dining and drinking in Kenosha, Wisconsin. […]

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