20 Wisconsin Legislators Share the Best Restaurant Dishes in Their District

By Christina Lorey

March 1, 2023

Wisconsin is home to 13,000 unique restaurants, diners, bars, and taverns.

Most are independently-owned, run by hardworking families with a passion for providing good food and warm hospitality. While the past three years have been fraught with COVID closures and inflation concerns, restaurants remain the backbone of Wisconsin’s economy and one of the fastest-growing sectors.

With so many choices, it can often be hard to decide where to eat. So we asked a bunch of Wisconsin state lawmakers their favorite restaurants in their district, and any “must-order” meals when they’re there. These are their picks.

Pro-tip: Enter your zip code HERE to find out what district you live in and who represents you. 

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Rep. Clinton Anderson, 45th Assembly District

Lives in Beloit, Rock County

Frickle rolls from the Rock Bar & Grill in Beloit and pulled pork from the Pink Heifer in Monticello.

Rep. Jimmy Anderson, 47th Assembly District

Lives in Fitchburg, Dane County

Spicy cheese bread from Stella’s in Madison, a burger and curds from Dotty Dumpling’s Dowry, pulled pork and barbecue beans from Smoky Jon’s, pizza from Salvatore’s Tomato Pies, and butterscotch pudding from Osteria Papavero.

Rep. Deb Andraca, 23rd Assembly District

Lives in Whitefish Bay, Milwaukee County

Anything from Cubanitas

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Rep. Mike Bare, 80th Assembly District

Lives in Verona, Dane County

Giant Pretzels from Clasen’s in Middleton, roesti (swiss fried) potatoes from the Glarner Stube in New Glarus, and fish fry from the Stable Grill at Quivey’s Grove in Fitchburg.

Rep. Jill Billings, 95th Assembly District

Lives in La Crosse, La Crosse County

Batter-fried cheese curds from Fayze’s in La Crosse, beer from Pearl Street Brewery, stuffed grape leaves from Soula’s Cuisina, garlic toast from Digger’s Sting, pasta from Lovechild, and any dessert from Jen Barney’s Meringue Bakery. “Nothing beats the two-time Food Network Baking Champion and all-around awesome person,” Billings told us.

Rep. Sue Conley, 44th Assembly District

Lives in Janesville, Rock County

Egg rolls from the Cozy Inn in Janesville, fish fry from Mint Mark in Madison, steak from Stage Coach Supper Club in Fort Atkinson, and dessert from Sardine in Madison.

Rep. Dave Considine, 81st Assembly District

Lives in the Baraboo Bluffs, Sauk County

“Nothing beats my own homemade sourdough pizza with fresh basil and other produce,” Considine said.

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Rep. Francesca Hong, 76th Assembly District

Lives in Madison, Dane County

Tres leches cake from Bucktales Cantina in Superior, papaya salad from Hmong Legacy Market in Madison, Khichdi (a south Asian dish made of rice and lentils) from Himal Chuli, chicken nuggets from Graze, budino (butterscotch pudding) from Osteria Papavero, and larb (a meat salad and the national dish of Laos) from Mekong Cafe in Milwaukee.

Rep. Jenna Jacobson, 43rd Assembly District

Lives in Oregon, Dane County

A Mershon’s hard cider from District 43, and prime rib, funeral potatoes, a state fair cream puff and a grasshopper or pink squirrel from any Wisconsin supper club.

Rep. Alex Joers, 79th Assembly District

Lives in Madison, Dane County

“Any brew from Capital Brewery, Octopi Brewing, and Lone Girl Brewing is outstanding, paired with cheese curds,” Joers said.

Rep. Melissa Ratcliff, 46th Assembly District

Lives in the Village of Cottage Grove, Dane County

“It’s hard to beat the walleye dinner and cheese curds from The Old Fashioned in Madison,” Ratcliff said. “Buck & Honey’s is also a local favorite—order just about anything on the menu!” 

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Rep. Katrina Shankland, 71th Assembly District

Lives in Stevens Point, Portage County

Guu Burgers from Guu’s in Stevens Point, deep fried cheese curds from Feltz’s Dairy Store, ice cream from King Cone in Plover, and old fashioneds with tapped maple syrup and siren shrubs sipping vinegar from Father Fat’s in Stevens Point.

Rep. Kristina Shelton, 90th Assembly District

Lives in Green Bay, Brown County

Cheesesteak sandwiches from Cheesesteak Rebellion, pesto fries from Rustique Pizzeria, Wisco Disco beer from Stillmank Brewery, and frozen custard from Zesty’s, all in Green Bay.

Rep. Christine Sinicki, 20th Assembly District

Lives in the Bay View neighborhood of Milwaukee, Milwaukee County

Ribeye steak from Milwaukee Steakhouse, cheese curds from Culver’s, baked french onion soup from Joe’s K Ranch in Cudahy, and tiramisu from Tenuta’s Italian Restaurant in Bay View.

Sen. Melissa Agard, 16th Senate District

Lives in Madison, Dane County

“There are so many fabulous restaurants [in Madison], it’s impossible to choose. But you can’t go wrong with any brandy old fashioned, cheese curds (both fresh and deep fried), and a fish fry.”

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Sen. Dianne Hesselbein, 27th Senate District

Lives in Middleton, Dane County

Pies from Hubbard Avenue, soft pretzels with frosting from Al Ringling Brewing Company in Baraboo, and drinks from Capital Brewery and New Glarus Brewing.

Sen. Chris Larson, 7th Senate District

Lives in the Bay View neighborhood of Milwaukee, Milwaukee County

Anything from Comet Cafe in Milwaukee.

Sen. Brad Pfaff, 32nd Senate District

Lives in Onalaska, La Crosse County

“You can’t go wrong with a fish fry from the Village Inn in Bangor. On a cold day, the chili and cornbread from the Driftless Café in Viroqua is a must. And for dessert– ice cream from The Sweet Shop in La Crosse!”

Sen. Kelda Roys, 26th Senate District

Lives in Madison, Dane County

Cheese curds with tiger blue sauce from The Old Fashioned in Madison, wedge salads from the Tornado Room in Madison, Hunkar Begendi from Meze Mediterranean Grill in Sun Prairie, smoked whitefish from Halvorsen’s in Cornucopia, and ice cream from the Chocolate Shoppe.

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Sen. Jeff Smith, 31st Senate District

Lives in Eau Claire, Eau Claire County

“I can’t resist going to Houligans for their famous candied garlic burger,” Smith told us. “I’m a big fan of condiments, and the mustard from Ray’s Place in Eau Claire knocks it out of the park. And of course, the best cheese curds in the world come from the Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery.”


READ MORE: What to Order at Each of Wisconsin’s James Beard-Nominated Restaurants

Author

  • Christina Lorey

    Christina is an Edward R. Murrow-winning journalist and former producer, reporter, and anchor for TV stations in Madison and Moline. When she’s not writing or asking questions, you can find her volunteering with Girls on the Run, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, and various mental health organizations.

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