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The Stilt House was featured in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel‘s November 25 issue. Read the full article
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The Stilt House partnered with Sprecher Brewery to provide great food at the 2016 Waukesha County Fair!


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Our top five restaurants of 2015

Download Sheboygan Press article

Brian Bernier, for Sheboygan Press Media 10:09 a.m. CST December 16, 2015

The grilled chicken sandwich, which features an all-natural oak-grilled chicken breast with bacon, guacamole, Havarti cheese, lettuce, tomato and tomatillo mayonnaise, was among the menu items during a recent visit to Field to Fork in Sheboygan.(Photo: Brian Bernier/For Sheboygan Press Media)

I can’t believe we’re already looking at the end of 2015. The year was exciting with new food sensations and creations that I was able to experience almost every week.

In choosing my top restaurants for this last year, there were a few things that had to happen in my dining experience.

When I walk into a restaurant I look at the ambiance. Does it look like the guests are having a great time and enjoying their food?  Does the restaurant flow in its décor and complement the menu.

Does the menu show off the chef’s originality? Are the flavor combinations exciting and mouthwatering.

Are the plates prepared so that even before the first bite goes into your mouth you can’t wait to taste the entrée?

From where does the restaurant source its food? Do they take extra care buying local, organic or even growing some of their own food?

And, finally, are the staff prepared to answer questions about specials or other menu items? Do they strive to make your dining experience one that you will remember with their service?

These five restaurants (listed in no particular order), met my criteria, and scored highest:.

Field to Fork Café and grocery, Sheboygan

This downtown Sheboygan spot is where Chef Stefano Viglietti strives to always bring fresh organic produce, meat and dairy products into the restaurant.  The flavor combinations of their sandwiches and salads are outstanding.

If you are looking for a unique breakfast or lunch, you can’t go wrong dining here.  I have had many of their homemade soups, burgers, sandwiches and tasty eggs Benedict for breakfast.  I have never walked away dissatisfied, and the service has always been excellent. Field to Fork also has a fresh juice bar to accompany any of your breakfast or lunch selections.

The Stilt House, Cedarburg

Owner Gordon Goggin brings small plate dining to a new level at this Cedarburg gastro bar.

Even though I dined there almost four months ago I can still taste the lobster BLT&E, which was topped with a fried egg.  I have recommended this original small plate to many people.  We also dined on portobello mushroom caps. This tasty melt-in-your-mouth small plate consisted of portobello mushrooms stuffed with a three cheese blend and drizzled with a balsamic glaze.

The soup offered the night we dined was lobster bisque.  Too many restaurants don’t get this recipe right. Theirs was outstanding.The Stilt House also offers a great selection of craft beers and wine.

Lino Ristorante, Sheboygan

This South Pier restaurant celebrated its fifth year in business in 2015.  I can understand why, you can always find Lino Autiero at the front of the house greeting guests and making sure that they feel like they just walked into a restaurant in Italy.

Lino’s son, Marco, is in the kitchen, serving sixth generation recipes like fettuccini con L’ Aragosta e Zafferano. (lobster fettuccini) or a sweet scallop recipe paired with creamy orzo that was on special the night we dined. Lino’s also serves one of my favorite appetizers, beef carpaccio, along with many other Italian favorites.

The antipasto table is exceptional and the open air kitchen is so clean it looks like it has been open two days, not one that has been open five years.

When touring the restaurant, I noticed that there were no microwaves and not a freezer to be found.  Lino believes that freezing food subtracts flavor.  That is why they make all their bread, desserts and almost all their pasta in house.  Lino’s goal is “if it comes in today, it is served today”.

Cedar Lodge Restaurant, Malone

The next restaurant on my list for 2015 can be found in Malone near the eastern shore of Lake Winnebago. The Cedar Lodge Restaurant was my favorite supper club this year.

Dale and Candi Bothe make sure that when you dine at the Cedar Lodge you will not leave hungry.  They also make sure the food you eat is the best quality available.  They buy food from Park Ridge Organics in Fond du Lac and from local vegetable and mushroom growers.  They also have 10 raised bed garden plots used to supply the freshest ingredients.

Entrees include your protein, starch and vegetables and your choice of soup or salad, and fresh baked fritter or fruit.  And in traditional supper club fashion, they serve warm bread and blueberry muffins before dinner.

The fritters remind me of the French beignets that are served in Louisiana in the French quarter.  They were so good I ordered another round for dessert.

The Cedar Lodge is known for hand cut steaks that tasted like something you’d find in Chicago.  The tenderloin Oscar we ate, was outstanding and delicious with large lump crab and hollandaise sauce. My broiled seafood combo had a 4- to 6-ounce lobster tail, broiled shrimp and two large sea scallops.  The seafood was succulent and sweet.

Koehrings Grand Central House, Kiel

My final choice this year is Koehrings Grand Central House. Fred Lubeley and Connie Brost make sure all the qualities that you love to find in a restaurant are wrapped up into this 19th century Victorian hotel.

All diners are served a cup of fresh chicken broth to start.  Your entrees are served on white lace tablecloths, making sure everyone feels like they are at a special event.  The flatware and all serving dishes are antiques.

Koehrings Grand Central House specializes in comfort food.  Entrees like the surf and turf special and the chicken pot pie that we ate can’t be found in southeastern Wisconsin.

If you don’t see one of your favorites on this list, let me know who to visit in 2016.

Brian Bernier aka Chef Bernie, is a private in-home chef, organic farmer and food blogger, who lives in Sheboygan. He can be reached at Brian@BerniersBistro.com. Visit his website at FreshStepFood.com.

For more information

Field To Fork Café: 511 south 8th street Sheboygan Wisconsin, www.fieldtoforkcafe.com or 920-694-0322

The Stilt House: W62 N630 Washington avenue Cedarburg Wisconsin, www.stilthousegastrobar.com or 262-618-4889

Lino Ristorante: 422 south pier drive Sheboygan, www.linoitalia.com or 920-457-5200

Cedar Lodge: N10872 Hwy 151 Malone Wis., www.thecedarlodge.com or 920-795-4574


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StiltHouse-outside


Stilt House Restaurant is dining at new level

Brian Bernier, aka Chef Bernie, wrote this article for The SheboyganPress.com, August 26, 2015

I have eaten at a lot of different small plate dining restaurants throughout the state and I have to rate the Stilt House in my top five places to enjoy these tempting morsels of goodness.

Along with the small plate dining they offer high end American craft beers as well as more than 30 choices of wine.

The Stilt House, located on Washington Avenue in Cedarburg, derives its name from back in the early 1900s when Nick Schuh, owner of the Nick Schuh Tavern on the same site, asked the city for permission to build a second story living quarters above his tavern, according to the restaurant’s website. His request was denied, so he raised his building up on stilts and built a first floor underneath it. People started calling it the stilt house.

When owners Keith Reid and Gordon Goggin decided to open their Restaurant at this location over a hundred years later, they did not have a name yet, but when they learned the history of the building, it had to be the Stilt House.

Goggin, a 20-year veteran in the restaurant industry, and Reid, a former sales executive with Miller Coors, wanted to create a restaurant that would stand out not only in Ozaukee County, but all of southeastern Wisconsin.

They do this by blending their experience, creating new items for their menu that changes about every three months, and offering unique specials daily.

When I asked Reid what else might set them apart from other restaurants and why they have been so successful, he said “we like to build a culture of serving others,” like his Christian faith promotes.

Before we were even finished with our first round of amazing food, I saw how the staff worked together as a team picking up empty dishes and delivering food to tables that they were not assigned to, ensuring that the guest service was their main goal.

But how was the food? We ordered five items off the menu, and there was not one that we wouldn’t rate five stars. The patio seating was also very comfortable.

We started with the special soup of the day, the lobster bisque. Many restaurants, in my opinion, ruin this soup by adding too much white wine or sherry, so I asked for a sample before I would indulge. Our server Gina gladly brought one out. The taste was everything lobster bisque should be — the perfect blend of seafood, cream, shallots, wine, and a couple of the things that I could not identify. I hope they keep this one on the rotating menu.

After looking at the column labeled “Shareables,” I thought to myself, “I think we will be sharing everything tonight. Not just the things offered in that column.”

There were 13 different items in that category, when I came with a friend about a year ago I enjoyed the tuna tartare. Everything else was new, from the breaded goat cheese or the chicken breasts sliders with Brie and pesto mayo. Our choice for the night was difficult, but we went with the stuffed mushroom caps.

This “sharable” consisted of two Portobello mushrooms stuffed with three cheeses and drizzled with a balsamic glaze. Everything just melted in your mouth and the taste was outstanding. The table next to us noticed the dish and asked us what it was. They ordered two servings and I think they finished theirs before we did. Delicious, was the only thing I heard them say.

The next item on our agenda to be sampled was one of their three flat breads. Our choices were the roasted red pear and feta, tenderloin, or Caprese flat bread. We flipped a coin between the red pear and the Caprese, and the red pear won the toss, that is the one I was hoping to try.

The flat bread was topped with roasted red pear, feta cheese, basil, applewood bacon and drizzled with honey. The combination of the salty and sweet taste sensations were brought to a new level here. I thought that if I had room for dessert I might just to reorder one of these.

The next column we explored was the “Handhelds.” The stilt burger — Portobello mushrooms, bacon, braised onions, Gouda cheese and bistro sauce — was tempting, along with six other items. My wife and I chose the lobster BLT and E. Following the advice of a good friend of mine who says “anything topped with an egg is good.”

I must admit that I’ve never had a BLT with an egg on top of it or even lobster stuffed in it. But if it tasted as good as the other small plates we discovered I knew what would be a sandwich I’ll be talking about for years.

The sandwich was served open faced with a lobster salad, arugula, bacon, tomato and a sunny side up egg on top. This choice met all expectations and more. I don’t know who created this masterpiece, but I’ll never look at a BLT the same again.

For the fifth and final item of the night, we had to decide what to choose for dessert. The desserts are baked fresh from Delicately Delicious, one block down the street, and change weekly. The offerings that night were chocolate mousse inside of a chocolate shell bowl, chocolate-chocolate cake, New York cheesecake, and pecan pie bar with caramel drizzle.

How could we pass up on the chocolate mousse inside of a chocolate shell bowl. The mousse was light, chocolaty and fluffy. And the chocolate bowl was a mix of white and dark chocolate. Nice choice here Keith and Gordon.

 

From The News Graphic, September 9, 2014 – Cedarburg Chamber annual dinner set for Sept. 24

The Cedarburg Chamber of Commerce has announced the names of those to be honored at their upcoming Annual Awards Dinner scheduled for the evening of Thursday, Sept. 25, at the Cedarburg American Established in 1899, PWSB is a family-owned fifth generation business with branches in Belgium, Cedarburg, Fredonia, Grafton, Saukville, and Port Washington, Patty Gallun Hansen will be honored with the Community Service Award for her many civic contributions to the Cedarburg community and Ozaukee County over the last several decades. Hansen is a proprietor of the family-owned and operated business, Dorothy Gallun and Associates. The family has long been a Cedarburg fixture dealing in antique, estate and fashion jewelry.

The Stilt House Restaurant will receive the Chamber Sparkplug Award for their contributions to the Chamber, while demonstrating business practices that enhance the vitality of the downtown historic district. The Sparkplug Award is given to a recipient who has shown a great “spark” of enthusiasm in support of the chamber and local community during the past year.

In addition, Marline McGrew will be honored with the first “Lifetime Business Achievement Award” bestowed upon a recipient by the chamber. Setting the stage as one of original Cedarburg retail pioneers in 1972, Marlines Creative Ideas, Ltd. has operated as many as seven retail stores in Cedarburg with two additional stores that operated in other communities.

The awards dinner will include an hour of networking, a cash bar and appetizers beginning at 5:30 p.m. A 6:30 p.m. barbecue dinner buffet catered by Atlas BBQ and the awards presentation ceremony will follow. Chamber members as well as the general public are invited to attend the event.

 

Marketplace Mondays

Marketplace Mondays: The Stilt House – Ozaukee Magazine, July 28, 2014. Click to view article.

 

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