Few cities in the United States feel quite like Sturgeon Bay in Door County, Wisconsin. Located at a geographically unique and strategic place, on a deep bay connected both to the bay of Green Bay and Lake Michigan by a canal, Sturgeon Bay attracts both heavy industry and tourism.
On Sturgeon Bay’s streets, you can find burly men who work in the biggest shipyard in the Great Lakes, but you can also find refined tourists from the nation’s wealthiest zip codes.
Restaurants in Sturgeon Bay reflect that mix of clientele. Some serve mainly one or the other, and others marvelously serve both. These are some of the best restaurants in Sturgeon Bay, and they reflect both sides of Sturgeon Bay as both an industrial and tourism powerhouse.
5 Best Restaurants in Sturgeon Bay
Kitty O’Reilly’s Irish Pub
In the entrance of Kitty O’Reilly’s is a sign that reads “céad míle fáilte.” This is Gaeilic for “one hundred thousand welcomes,” and it’s a fitting motto. Everybody feels welcome at Kitty O’Reilly’s.
Kitty O’Reilly’s Irish Pub is one of those rare places where you can rub elbows with Sturgeon Bay shipbuilders, professional businesswomen, and vacationers from Chicago. Everybody loves Kitty O’Reilly’s, and it’s the perfect place to celebrate the beginning of the weekend. Kitty O’Reilly’s has a large and beautiful beer garden, making it a favorite restaurant over the summer months.
One reason Kitty O’Reilly’s is so popular is its extensive menu. Nearly everyone will find something they like here. Burgers, wraps, home-style meals, and Irish fare like shepherd’s pie are some of the offerings. If you are there on a day they are offering loaded Bloody Marys, indulge in one. They are legendary.
Check out our review of Kitty O’Reilly’s to learn more!
Donny’s Glidden Lodge
With a dramatic setting right on the shores of Lake Michigan, Donny’s Glidden Lodge Restaurant offers an unforgettable dining experience. The building and grounds of this classic Door County supper club are timeless and classy. It seems that not much has changed over the decades at this supper club, and that’s a good thing. Just like Lake Michigan itself, it seems that Donny’s Glidden Lodge has always been there, and that it will be the same the next time you come, whether that’s in a month or in a decade.
People tend to dress a little nicer at Donny’s Glidden Lodge, and given its location next to the Glidden Lodge Beach Resort, it caters to many out-of-towners.
Hello Door County named Donny’s Glidden Lodge the best Door County restaurant to celebrate an anniversary in our post The Best Door County Restaurants for Every Occasion.
In addition, Donny’s Glidden Lodge is an ideal place for an authentic Wisconsin supper club experience, including the classic Friday fish fry. Check out our post on the best supper clubs in Door County to learn more about this unique culinary experience.
The Nightingale Supper Club
Is it the NightIngale Supper Club or the NightEngale Supper Club? Nobody really knows how it’s spelled, because it has signs for both spellings. This is just one of the many endearing things about this classic Door County supper club.
The Nightingale is where Door County locals go to celebrate a birthday or an anniversary. To a Door County local, the Nightingale is the fancy place to eat. And, its decor does have a certain retro upscale feel to it. However, the dress is comfortable. The ladies pair a sweater with jeans, and the men don their nicest hoodies. Yes, there’s such a thing as a “nice hoodie” for locals in North East Wisconsin.
Despite being full of locals, there’s still a place for you at the Nightingale. Get a reservation, show up early to sit at the bar, top off your dinner with an ice cream drink, and you’ll be an honorary citizen of Sturgeon Bay.
And, if there’s one thing that citizens of Sturgeon Bay love, it’s Friday night fish fries. Check out our article on the best fish fries in Door County to learn more about this tradition and where to partake in it.
If you’re still not convinced, check out our review about Nightingale Supper Club to learn more about this great Sturgeon Bay restaurant.
Blue Front Cafe
The Blue Front Cafe provides some variety to the Sturgeon Bay restaurant scene. Departing from the pub fare common in most Sturgeon Bay restaurants, Blue Front offers breakfast and lunch food with unique and fresh ingredients, including a number of Asian-fusion dishes. The meals at this restaurant are typically filling without being too heavy, and offer flavors hard to come by in most of Door County.
While this restaurant is on a side street in Sturgeon Bay’s quieter side of downtown, this restaurant is worth a visit.
Old Mexico Cantina and Grill
Old Mexico is the kind of Mexican restaurant with pastoral scenes painted on the walls, carved and painted chairs and booths, huge frozen margaritas, and portion sizes that you should be ashamed of. In short, it’s great.
You don’t come to Old Mexico to impress anybody. You come to Old Mexico to have fun and eat lots of tasty food.
Many nights they offer guacamole made fresh at the table. If this is offered, you should definitely take advantage of it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Some of the best restaurants in Sturgeon Bay, WI include the Kitty O’Reilly’s, The Nightingae Supper Club, and the Bluefront Cafe.
Sturgeon Bay offers a variety of cuisines, including American, Italian, Mexican, and seafood. Local specialties include fresh fish, Door County cherries, and artisanal cheeses.
Yes, many restaurants in Sturgeon Bay offer outdoor seating during the warmer months, allowing diners to enjoy the picturesque views of the waterfront and the city’s charming small-town atmosphere. One popular restaurant with outdoor seating is Kitty O’Reilly’s.