11 Best Washington Island Restaurants

Here are the best restaurants on Washington Island, Door County, Wisconsin:

Congratulations. You’ve found yourself in one of the most remote places in the Lower-48 that is still accessible by automobile. Involving a traverse up winding country roads and a passage across one of the most treacherous water crossings, it’s not easy to make it to Washington Island. You deserve a treat. Head to one of these best restaurants on Washington Island in Door County, Wisconsin.

Are you considering a vacation to Door County? If so, check out our guide to Door County’s best hotels. This is your best bet to find the perfect lodging for a Door County Vacation.

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Best Restaurants on Washington Island

Hotel Washington Restaurant

Nestled on the serene Washington Island, Hotel Washington Restaurant offers more than just a meal; it’s a journey into the heart of farm-to-table dining. As a local, I’ve watched this place transform ingredients from nearby farms into plates that dazzle the taste buds. It’s where freshness meets creativity, and each dish tells a story of the island’s bounty. From May to October, they open their doors to serve dishes that make you appreciate the beauty of eating locally.

Menu

At Hotel Washington Restaurant, the menu is a celebration of the island’s freshest produce. Seasonal ingredients take center stage, offering a palette of flavors that change with the seasons. Whether it’s a succulent piece of island-raised beef or a vibrant, garden-fresh salad, each meal is a testament to the chef’s commitment to quality and sustainability.

Ambiance

The ambiance here is a blend of rustic charm and modern elegance. Dining at Hotel Washington feels like being invited into a warm, welcoming home where every meal is a special occasion. The setting is intimate, with views that overlook the lush landscapes of the island, making every visit memorable.

Quick Facts

K.K. Fiske Restaurant

Signage on the outside of a restaurant that says: K.K. Fiske Restaurant. Fresh lawyers. Pictures of two lawyer fish.
Credit: fitzgene via Flickr. Used by permission (CC BY-ND 2.0).

Imagine a place where you can taste the lake, right on your plate. That’s K.K. Fiske Restaurant on Washington Island, a must-visit for anyone seeking the best eats around. Here, you’ll find an odd yet delightful specialty – fried lawyers. Yes, you heard that right. Lawyers are a type of fish, also known as burbot. They might win the title for the ugliest fish in the lake, but don’t judge a book by its cover – they’re incredibly tasty. It’s a local favorite, surrounded by tales and humor. Could their name come from their appearance? Who knows, but one thing’s for sure, they’re a culinary treat.

Menu

K.K. Fiske is famous for its fresh catch from the surrounding waters, offering a menu that’s a tribute to the lake. The star of the show is undoubtedly the fried lawyers, a unique dish that’s both a conversation starter and a mouthwatering experience. Alongside, you’ll find a variety of seafood delights, including whitefish, and a selection of homemade sides that complement every bite.

Ambiance

The ambiance of K.K. Fiske is as inviting as the warm community of Washington Island. It’s a place where locals and visitors alike gather, drawn by the scent of fresh bread and the promise of an unforgettable meal. The decor is cozy, with a nautical theme that echoes the island’s maritime heritage, making every meal here feel like a special occasion.

Quick Facts

Nelsen’s Hall Bitters Pub

Old fashioned building
Nelson’s Hall on Washington Island. Credit: Robert Haugland via Wikimedia Commons. Used by permission (CC BY-SA 4.0).

Step into Nelsen’s Hall Bitters Pub, and you’re not just entering a bar; you’re diving into a piece of Washington Island’s history. Since Prohibition times, Nelsen’s has been the go-to spot for a unique island tradition: drinking bitters. Yes, at Nelsen’s, you can sip on the world-famous Angostura Bitters, join the “Bitters Club,” and take part in a tradition that’s as quirky as it is historical. The bitters, originally consumed for medicinal purposes, have become a symbol of resilience and community spirit on the island.

Menu

Nelsen’s Hall isn’t just about bitters; their menu boasts home-style cooking with favorites like prime rib, steaks, and homemade pizza. But the real adventure begins when you join the Bitters Club by taking a shot of Angostura Bitters. It’s an initiation into an island tradition that dates back over a century.

Ambiance

Walking into Nelsen’s is like stepping back in time. The pub maintains a turn-of-the-century feel, complete with a cozy atmosphere that’s welcoming to both island regulars and first-time visitors. The historic vibe, combined with the friendly chatter of locals, makes every visit memorable.

Quick Facts

Albatross Drive-In

cheeseburger

Stepping into Albatross Drive-In is like taking a delicious trip back in time. This family-owned gem has been serving up homemade burgers and ice cream on Washington Island since 1977. It’s a spot where simplicity and quality meet, offering a menu that feels both familiar and exciting. The burgers here? They’re not just food; they’re an experience, made with beef ground fresh right on the island. And the ice cream? With 60 flavors of shakes and malts, it’s like summer in a cup. The Albatross isn’t just a restaurant; it’s a slice of island history.

Menu

At the heart of the Albatross menu are the burgers – juicy, flavorful, and made with love. Each patty is hand-formed from beef that’s ground fresh on the island, ensuring a taste that’s hard to beat. And for those with a sweet tooth, the ice cream menu is a dream come true, with a dizzying array of shakes and malts to choose from.

Ambiance

The Albatross Drive-In offers a throwback to the classic American drive-in, with a casual, welcoming vibe that’s perfect for families and friends alike. It’s a place where you can enjoy great food, laugh, and make memories, all under the open sky. The Tiki Bar and Alby’s Nest add a fun twist, serving up Door County beer and wine for the adults.

Quick Facts

Sailor’s Pub

Close up on a glass of beer and people drinking in a bar or pub
Via Depositphotos. Used by permission.

Sailor’s Pub is a gem on Washington Island, where the view is just as breathtaking as the food. Perched by the Shipyard Island Marina, this spot offers more than just a meal; it’s an experience. With its waterfront location, you can dine with the backdrop of stunning sunsets, making every dinner unforgettable. The menu boasts a rich selection of seafood and steaks, but it’s the atmosphere of dining over water that truly sets it apart.

Menu

The menu at Sailor’s Pub is a celebration of the lake. Seafood lovers will rejoice in the variety, from freshly caught fish to delectable pasta dishes that bring the ocean’s bounty to your plate. The daily specials are a surprise, always something new and exciting, reflecting the local catch and seasonal ingredients.

Ambiance

Dining at Sailor’s Pub feels like a serene escape. With its location right on the marina, you’re treated to panoramic views of the water, especially enchanting at sunset. The outdoor seating area is perfect for those warm, breezy evenings when you want to dine al fresco, sipping on a specialty drink and soaking in the vibrant colors of the sky.

Quick Facts

Fiddler’s Green

3 hands holding cocktails in a bar
Via Unsplash. Used by permission.

Tucked away on Washington Island, Fiddler’s Green is a gem that locals and travelers adore. It’s a place where the beer flows as freely as the conversations, with an atmosphere that’s both lively and welcoming. This spot doesn’t just serve meals; it serves experiences. Whether you’re in the mood for a hearty vegetarian feast, a vegan delight, or the catch of the day, Fiddler’s Green has something for everyone. Their selection of fresh beer, including Guinness, IPAs, and local Island Cider, ensures that every thirst is quenched.

Menu

The menu at Fiddler’s Green is as diverse as it is delicious, catering to all tastes. From vegetarian and vegan options to traditional carnivore dishes, there’s something to satisfy every appetite. The fresh fare is complemented by a wide selection of beers and ciders, making it the perfect spot for a relaxed meal with friends or family.

Ambiance

Fiddler’s Green is known for its cozy, friendly atmosphere, making guests feel right at home from the moment they walk in. The blend of fresh air, cheerful chatter, and the clinking of glasses creates a vibrant environment that’s hard to leave. It’s the kind of place where memories are made, over good food and great company.

Quick Facts

The Point Grille

bbq

Nestled near the ferry dock, The Point Grille is a treasure for anyone exploring Washington Island. This gem offers more than just stunning views; it’s home to the island’s best in-house slow-smoked BBQ. Ever wondered where to find a cozy spot with a pet-friendly patio that serves up delicious eats? The Point Grille is your answer. And yes, they’ve got something for everyone, including vegetarian and gluten-free options. It’s not just about the food; it’s about the experience. The blend of Southern recipes with Northern ingredients is something you can’t miss.

Menu

The Point Grille shines with its slow-smoked BBQ, a testament to the art of Southern cooking on the island. Whether you’re craving beef brisket or a pulled pork sandwich, each dish is a masterpiece. And for those looking for variety, they also offer vegetarian and gluten-free options, ensuring everyone leaves satisfied.

Ambiance

The Point Grille boasts an inviting atmosphere, perfect for those lazy island afternoons. With indoor dining and a pet-friendly patio, it’s the ideal spot to unwind after a ferry ride or a day of adventure. The casual, welcoming vibe makes every visitor feel like a local.

Quick Facts

Middle Bar II

group of friends toasting beer
Via Depositphotos. Used by permission.

Middle Bar II is the kind of spot that makes Washington Island feel like home, no matter where you’re from. It’s a local gem where the beer flows as freely as the stories, and the food is just as comforting. Don’t let the casual vibe fool you; this place serves up some seriously good eats. From hearty burgers to the catch of the day, it’s all about quality here. And if the walls could talk, they’d tell tales of island life, laughter, and the occasional fish that got away.

Menu

At Middle Bar II, the menu is a testament to classic American comfort food. Think juicy burgers, crispy fries, and a selection of sandwiches that hit the spot after a day exploring the island. The fish is fresh, and the flavors are big. It’s the perfect place to kick back and satisfy your hunger with food that feels like a warm hug.

Ambiance

This bar is where friends gather, and newcomers become locals by the end of the night. The atmosphere is relaxed and welcoming, with a decor that’s as unpretentious as it is cozy. Whether you’re here to catch a game on the TV or enjoy a night out with friends, Middle Bar II feels like coming home.

Quick Facts

WIS-CO Washington Island Coffee

coffee beans
Via Depositphotos. Used by permission.

When you’re on Washington Island and craving a cozy spot to start your morning, WIS-CO Washington Island Coffee is the place to be. This isn’t just any coffee shop; it’s where the locals go for their caffeine fix and a bite of something sweet. Their old-fashioned lattes and honey lattes are the talk of the town, and if you’re lucky enough to grab their pastries early, you’re in for a treat. It’s the kind of place that feels like a warm hug, especially on chilly island mornings.

Menu

WIS-CO doesn’t just serve coffee; they master it. From the rich and creamy old-fashioned latte to the sweetly satisfying honey latte, every sip is a delight. And let’s not forget the pastries. Baked fresh daily, these goodies are worth waking up early for. Whether it’s a flaky croissant or a decadent slice of homemade fudge, WIS-CO knows how to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Ambiance

Walking into WIS-CO is like stepping into a friend’s living room. With cozy couches begging you to sit down and the smell of fresh coffee in the air, it’s the perfect place to relax. The decor is charming and inviting, making you feel right at home. Whether you’re a local or just passing through, WIS-CO welcomes you with open arms and a warm smile.

Quick Facts

Jackson Harbor Soup

Vegetable soup in a bowl on a rustic countertop.
Via Depositphotos. Used by permission.

Nestled by the serene waters of Jackson Harbor, Jackson Harbor Soup offers a cozy retreat for anyone craving a hearty bowl of warmth. This quaint eatery is a hidden gem on Washington Island, serving up soul-satisfying soups, sandwiches, and paninis. Whether you’re just off a ferry ride or exploring the island’s natural beauty, their homemade soups, like the ones grandma used to make, are a comforting embrace in a bowl. And yes, the view is just as delicious as the food.

Menu

Jackson Harbor Soup’s menu is a celebration of comfort food. Each soup and sandwich is crafted with care, offering flavors that speak of home and heart. From rich, creamy chowders to light, refreshing broths, there’s a bowl for every palate. Pair your soup with a freshly made sandwich or panini for the perfect meal.

Ambiance

The ambiance here is as warm and welcoming as the soups. With a view overlooking the harbor, dining at Jackson Harbor Soup feels like a hug from the inside out. It’s a casual spot, perfect for unwinding after a day of adventure or for cozying up on a chilly afternoon. The outdoor seating area offers a splendid view of the harbor, making it a picturesque spot to enjoy a meal.

Quick Facts

Deer Run Washington Island

burger
Via Depositphotos. Used by permission.

Tucked away on the serene Washington Island, Deer Run is not just a spot for lodging but a unique experience where golf and dining blend seamlessly. While it might surprise some, this place serves up not just spectacular views but also scrumptious meals that locals swear by. It’s the kind of place where you can swing a golf club by day and savor a delicious dinner by night.

Menu

Deer Run’s dining experience is as delightful as its greens. Though not typically known as a restaurant, it surprises with a selection of pub fare that’s perfect after a round of golf or a day exploring the island. From hearty burgers to refreshing salads, every dish is prepared with a touch of island flair.

Ambiance

The ambiance here is relaxed and inviting, blending the outdoor beauty of Washington Island with the comfort of a cozy dining space. It’s where the warmth of the island’s community comes to life, welcoming everyone with open arms and a friendly smile. Whether you’re a golfer or not, you’ll find the vibe here perfectly suited for unwinding and enjoying good company.

Quick Facts

Washington Island Restaurants with Water Views

people dining at a waterfront restaurant in Door County, Wisconsin.

For those who dream of dining with a view, Washington Island delivers. Jackson Harbor Soup offers a cozy, scenic spot perfect for soup lovers, while Sailor’s Pub presents a more of a bar and grill experience with stunning water vistas. Both spots promise not just great food, but memorable views that enhance every meal.

Pet-Friendly Restaurants on Washington Island

family dining with a dog in Door County

Washington Island is a haven not just for people but for pets too! Before you plan a meal with your furry friend, it’s wise to call ahead and confirm the restaurant’s current pet-friendly policies. Here’s a list of spots where both you and your dog can enjoy a great meal together:

  • Jackson Harbor Soup & Sandwiches – A cozy spot known for its welcoming outdoor area where dogs can relax by your side.
  • Albatross Drive-In – Offers a nostalgic dining experience with outdoor seating perfect for dogs.
  • Bread and Water – This café not only has delicious eats but also a friendly environment for dogs at their outdoor tables.
  • The Point Grille – Enjoy scenic views and a menu that will delight you and your furry companion at their outdoor seating area.

Each of these dog-friendly restaurants offers a unique atmosphere and menu, ensuring you and your pet have a memorable dining experience on Washington Island.

Family-friendly Restaurants on Washington Island

family dining at a waterfront restaurant

When you’re exploring Washington Island with the family, finding a spot where everyone can enjoy a meal together is key. Here’s a list of family or kid-friendly restaurants that promise a warm welcome for all ages. Remember, it’s a good idea to call ahead to make sure they’re the perfect fit for your family outing. These places not only serve delicious food but also ensure a comfortable atmosphere for both parents and children.

  • The Albatross Drive-In: A classic island favorite, where you can enjoy the best burgers in Door County. It’s not just about the food; there’s a sandbox for kids, glider swings, and shaded picnic areas, making it a hit with families.
  • Island Pizza: This place offers a casual, family-friendly atmosphere with a menu that’s sure to please everyone. From cheesy pizzas to hearty sandwiches, it’s a great spot to refuel after a day of island adventures.
  • Ship’s Wheel Restaurant: Nestled in a cozy corner of the island, this restaurant offers a diverse menu that caters to all tastes, including the pickiest of eaters. The welcoming staff and relaxed setting make it an ideal choice for families.
  • K.K. Fiske Restaurant: Known for its unique offering of fried lawyers, this restaurant also provides a menu full of kid-approved dishes. Its friendly atmosphere makes it another great option for family dining on Washington Island.

Tips for Eating on Washington Island

Scene of outdoor tables set for dinner. Superimposed text says: "Best Restaurants on Washington Island."
  1. Prepare for Changing Weather: The weather on Washington Island can switch up without much warning. Always have a warm layer with you, even if it’s the middle of summer. A cozy sweater or jacket can be a lifesaver.
  2. Verify Business Hours: Door County operates on its own time, it seems. Business hours can be a bit unpredictable, so it’s wise to call ahead to confirm that the restaurant you’re planning to visit is open.
  3. Make Reservations: Especially during the tourist season, restaurants on Washington Island can get busy. To ensure you get a table at your preferred dining spot, make a reservation if possible.
  4. Explore Local Specialties: Washington Island is home to unique dishes and local specialties you might not find anywhere else. Don’t miss out on trying something new, like the island’s fresh fish or homemade treats.
  5. Travel by Bicycle: Consider exploring the island’s dining options by bicycle. It’s not only a great way to see the island’s beautiful scenery, but some restaurants are more accessible by bike, offering a lovely ride and an appetite to enjoy your meal even more.
  6. Support Local Businesses: Remember, by dining at these local establishments, you’re supporting small businesses and the island’s economy. Enjoy the charm and hospitality that only local, family-owned restaurants can offer.

Washington Island Local Cuisine

Scene of outdoor tables set for dinner in a rustic area. Superimposed text says: Best Restaurants on Washington Island.

When you step onto Washington Island, you’re stepping into a world rich with flavors that define the local cuisine. It’s a treasure trove of culinary delights that capture the essence of the island’s culture and natural bounty. From the unique “fried lawyers” to the traditional fish boil, each dish tells a story of the island’s heritage and the abundance of its waters and farms.

Fried Lawyers

Fried lawyers, a quirky name for the fish also known as burbot, are a local specialty that surprises many. Despite their less-than-appealing name and looks, these fish are a delicacy on the island, known for their delicious taste.

Fish Boil

The fish boil is an iconic Washington Island experience, a tradition that brings communities together. Fresh whitefish caught from the surrounding waters, boiled with potatoes and onions, then served with a side of butter and lemon, it’s simplicity and flavor in perfect harmony.

Cherry Pie

Washington Island’s cherry pie is legendary, thanks to the island’s lush cherry orchards. The pies are a sweet testament to the local love for cherries, bursting with the taste of freshly picked, ripe cherries encased in a flaky, buttery crust.

Sausage and Cheese

Sausage and cheese reflect the island’s rich farming heritage. Local artisans craft these products with a commitment to quality and flavor, offering a taste of the island’s agricultural roots with every bite.

Lavender

Not to be overlooked, lavender adds a fragrant twist to the island’s culinary landscape. From lavender-infused lemonade to lavender-flavored treats, this aromatic herb is a testament to the island’s innovative spirit and its embrace of local ingredients.

Washington Island’s cuisine is a palette of flavors that invites you to explore and enjoy. It’s where the heart of the island’s culture and community comes to life, one delicious bite at a time.

Places to Eat on Washington Island

Washington Island boasts a unique culinary scene, blending local flavors with breathtaking views. Among its treasures, K.K. Fiske Restaurant and Deer Run stand out, offering unforgettable dining experiences. Whether you’re craving the quirky taste of fried lawyers or a cozy pub atmosphere, these spots are sure to satisfy any palate.

Washington Island Dining

For those exploring the vibrant dining landscape of Washington Island, there’s no shortage of options. The Ship’s Wheel and Jackson Harbor Soup & Sandwiches offer a taste of the island’s rich culinary diversity. From the casual elegance of The Ship’s Wheel to the homely charm of Jackson Harbor, each establishment promises a unique blend of flavors and experiences, making dining on Washington Island an adventure in itself.

Washington Island Food

Exploring Washington Island’s food scene reveals a rich tapestry of flavors and experiences. The Ship’s Wheel and Albatross Drive-In are must-visit destinations for food lovers. The Ship’s Wheel offers a nautical-themed dining experience with fresh, local seafood, while Albatross Drive-In is famous for its classic American eats and casual, friendly atmosphere. Together, they showcase the island’s ability to cater to a wide range of tastes and preferences.

More Door County Restaurant Roundups

If you’re looking for a restaurant in Door County, we have lots of other content to help you find the perfect eatery for you. Check out our other restaurant roundup reviews:

More About Washington Island

Does this article about Washington Island’s best restaurants have you motivated to make the trek to this isolated locale? Then, you might want to learn more about this wonderful place. Our article on the best things to do on Washington Island can help you discover more about this fascinating place.

About the author
Mark Stoneman
Hi! My name is Mark! I have been a resident of Door County for almost ten years now, and I'm glad to help you say "Hello" to Door County. I believe that travel helps to change lives, and because of that, I want to help you improve your life through travel.