Take in the fall colors at the ultra-scenic area near the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore on Lake Superior’s south shore. And then eat, and eat well.
This casual daytime charmer is the best thing to happen to Madeline Island — food- and drink-wise, anyway — in ages. Twin Citians Gilpin Matthews and Lauren Schuppe made the move north a little over a year ago, offering sharply rendered basics that emphasize local, seasonal ingredients: savory waffles, a grilled cheese sandwich laden with garlic scape pesto, a top-shelf burger, and more, all in the $13-and-under range. Open for breakfast and lunch Thu.-Mon.
858 Main St., La Pointe, Wis., 1-715-747-3276, farmhousemadelineisland.weebly.com
Ask for a table near the massive stone hearth and dig into pork tenderloin with risotto, meatloaf with a spiced-up glaze, roast chicken in a red mole sauce and other classics-with-a-twist, most in the mid-$20s. This being Wisconsin, there’s a Friday night fish fry: Lake Superior trout or whitefish (in a Leinenkugel beer batter), with waffle fries, coleslaw and a cheese biscuit, served in all-you-can-eat portions for $16. Open for dinner Thu.-Sat.
77180 Hwy. 13, Washburn, Wis., 1-715-373-5255, agoodthyme.com
Chef Jim Webster presides over one of the Midwest’s great restaurants, with big-city cooking (and gracious service) that would fit right into Milwaukee, Chicago or Minneapolis. For those uninterested in splurging on entrees that breezily land in the $30s, there’s a far more accessible bar menu. The striking setting has the look of a Gold Card-level North Woods summer camp, thanks to Duluth architect David Salmela. Open for dinner Thu.-Sat. through Oct. 29.
84860 Old San Rd., Bayfield, Wis., 1-715-779-9881, wildricerestaurant.com