The 5 Most Iconic Foods at Wisconsin’s Summerfest

By Christina Lorey
June 15, 2023

“A delightful mix of new and old” isn’t just a description of Summerfest’s annual musical lineup—it’s also about the eclectic food scene.

Every year, the 800,000-plus people who attend the Guinness-certified “World’s Largest Music Festival” are treated to menus packed with new fare and old favorites.

Unlike Milwaukee’s other major summer draw, the Wisconsin State Fair, not everything at Summerfest is served on a stick. But over the course of three weekends, local vendors still produce some of the strangest, calorie-laden, over-the-top foods around—using fresh Wisconsin ingredients, of course.

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We’re counting down five of the most iconic options:

5. Robby’s Roasted Corn

For more than 30 years, Summerfest attendees have been enjoying the grilled and butter-soaked flavor of Robby’s ears of corn on the cob.  If you’re feeling fancy, upgrade from plain to cajun or garlic butter!

4. Mader’s Jumbo Pretzel

Not only is this “snack” delicious, but it’s also a great deal. Easily split between two or three people, Mader’s jumbo pretzel is served with cheese sauce and Dusseldorf mustard.

Honorable Mention: The “Schnitzwich,” Mader’s weiner schnitzel, topped with lettuce, tomato, and fried pickles on a pretzel bun.

3. Venice Club’s Fried Eggplant Strips

We wanted to rank these even higher, but it’s hard to argue that fried veggies are better than fried cheese or dough. Regardless, Venice Club’s signature fried eggplant strips are impeccable. The strips are salted, rolled in seasoned flour, shaken, deep fried, and served with Parmesan and marinara.

2. Sil’s Mini Doughnuts

Sil’s booth is a fan favorite, and it’s certainly hard to pass its smell without stopping. Possibly the freshest donuts you’ll ever eat, these bite-sized poppers are fried to order. Plus, they’re mini, so how bad for you can they be?

1. Saz’ Sampler Platter

This dish quickly became a festival best-seller because it’s a little bit of everything: hand-rolled mozzarella marinara sticks, sour cream & chive fries, and Leinenkugel beer-battered white cheddar cheese curds.

RELATED: All the New Food & Drinks at Summerfest 2023

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  • 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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