5 of Wisconsin’s Most Overlooked Diners and What to Order When You’re There

Dinky Diner

Photo courtesy of R & T Dinky Diner

By Jessica Lee

November 3, 2022

They’re not the flashiest dining spots in Wisconsin, but these diners are still some of the best places to grab a meal.

Wisconsin is full of diners that offer great fare, including famous places like Franks Diner in Kenosha and Monty’s Blue Plate Diner in Madison. However, some of the best places to grab a bite only receive love from the locals because they haven’t garnered statewide or national attention. Some overlooked diners are located in small towns and others are hidden because their humble appearance doesn’t draw attention. So, the next time you find yourself nearby any of these overlooked Wisconsin diners, stop in, say “hi,” and grab a bite. 

Amy’s Corner Cafe, Monroe

1127 16th Ave.

Open Mon. to Fri. 5:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sat. 5:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Sun. 5:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Amy's Corner cafe
Photo courtesy of Amys Corner Cafe

Amy’s Corner Cafe is a favorite breakfast and brunch spot in Monroe. The small diner—yes, it’s actually located on a corner—offers a full breakfast menu, including delicious skillets with eggs, hashbrowns, and toast. But, like many diners, it’s the daily lunch specials and soup that tantalize the tastebuds. Stop in to try WI cheese soup, goulash, meatloaf, and other home-cooked meals featured throughout the month. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, Amy’s offers roast beef dinners or sandwiches and you can enjoy a roast pork dinner or sandwich on Tuesdays and Thursdays. 

Bristol 45 Diner, Bristol

8321 200th Ave.

Open Mon. to Fri. 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sat. 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sun. 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. 

Bristol 45
Photo courtesy of Bristol 45 Diner

Those who want to enjoy some nostalgic Americana at a small-town 50s-style diner will love Bristol 45 Diner. They have an expansive menu that includes crepes, omelets, burgers, wraps, and even a small section of Mexican food, so you are sure to find something you love no matter what time of the day you visit. They even have veggie options, like avocado toast, a veggie skillet, and veggie benedict, if you don’t eat meat. If you have a sweet tooth or visit with some little ones, check out their unicorn pancake. It comes with a scoop of sherbet, a cone for a horn, bacon, whipped cream, and sprinkles. 

Daddy Maxwell’s Antarctic Circle Diner, Williams Bay

150 Elkhorn Rd

Open Mon., Wed., Thurs. from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Fri. 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m; Sun. 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

Located a few blocks from Lake Geneva, Daddy Maxwell’s is the favorite diner of locals and visitors alike. Its igloo shape gives the diner a unique atmosphere you won’t find elsewhere in Wisconsin. Daddy Maxwell’s is an integral part of the community that has been serving amazing diner food since 1987. Their menu is so big with so many decision items, you definitely need to wear your stretchy pants. If you can’t decide what to eat, check out their regular daily specials. Visit on Wednesday to enjoy creamed chipped beef on toast, less formally referred to as SOS. What is SOS, you ask? We keep it clean here are Up North News, so you are going to have to use your imagination or Google it!

Kennedy’s Cafe, Somerset

260 Main St.

Open daily 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Kennedys Cafe
Photo courtesy of Kennedys Cafe

People often associate Somerset with camping or tubing down the Apple River, so they might not think about some of the local eats. Kennedy’s Cafe has been in the small town about an hour from downtown Minneapolis for a long time, but new owners in 2018 have taken it to a new level. Their menu changes regularly based on local ingredients but always has modern and yummy diner fare. Kennedy’s Cafe makes all its food from scratch, including waffles, biscuits, and smoked meats. Visit on Sundays to enjoy their brunch buffet with cook-to-order omelets, and don’t forget to try their Bloody Mary’s, which are made with sake. 

R & T’s Dinky Diner, Rhinelander

230 Thayer St. 

Open Mon. to Thurs. 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., Fri. 6 a.m. to 8 p.m, Sun. 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.

R & T Dinky Diner is just what you would expect for a Northwoods diner—rustic decor, rustic food, large portions, and easy on the bank account. The menu at Dinky’s isn’t as large as some other diners, but options are plenty to find something you love. Try out the Northwoods Breakfast, which is breaded blue gill, two eggs, toast, and a choice of potato. Also, you can never go wrong with their daily specials, which often include different types of bowls. Order an extra plate or two to go if you are lucky enough to visit when the daily special is Justine’s fry bread tacos. 


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