Everyone and his mother has been to Lake Geneva. But its neighbor to the west on the north shore of Geneva Lake deserves attention, too. First of all, there's the Yerkes Observatory. And then there's the Kishwauketoe Nature Conservancy. Plus, all the fun that one of the state's great lakes provides.
But Williams Bay also has a number of good dining spots – more than I even list here – and here are six of them, plus a bonus two in nearby Lake Geneva to check out while you're in the neighborhood.
1. Daddy Maxwell's Diner
First stop, without a doubt, is Daddy Maxwell's Diner, 150 Elkhorn Rd., which occupies the old Arctic Circle custard stand and diner, which is shaped like an igloo. These days, Daddy Maxwell's, which opened here in 1987, is hugely popular for breakfast and lunch, but it's worth the wait, especially if you treat yourself to a slice of homemade pie afterward.
2. Dip in the Bay
Dip in the Bay, 105 Walworth Ave., closes for winter, but it's a real gem, in season, when you can get fresh house-made ice cream in a wide variety of flavors, including pralines 'n' cream, pistachio almond, butter pecan, black walnut, blue moon and more. There's also sherbet and Italian ice on offer.
3. Frosty Moose
Like Dip in the Bay, Frosty Moose, 35 W. Geneva St., is seasonal, so put it on your summer to-do list. There's a little bit of everything here, including sandwiches, pizza and more, but come for the sundaes and you won't be disappointed. Arrive with an appetite and try to finish a giant Big Willy Bay sundae.
4. Joni's Diner
Joni's Diner is at 111 S. Wells St. in downtown Lake Geneva and you'll wait for a table or a spot at the counter, but it's worth it to experience this real 1954 O'Mahoney diner that was relocated to the site from its original home in Connecticut.
5. Lucke's Cantina
This tavern and restaurant at 220 Elkhorn Road dishes up Mexican fare and, perhaps most importantly, breakfast with a Bloody Mary bar on weekends.
6. Olympic Restaurant
Olympic is another downtown Lake Geneva gem, located at 748 W. Main St. Great for a quick greasy spoon breakfast or pizza in a cushy red leather booth. You can't miss the sign!
(PHOTO: Pier 290 Facebook)
Pier 290, 1 Liechty Dr., is a locavore's paradise, with comfort foods, small plates, sandwiches and more, crafted from locally sourced ingredients. Locals are also fond of the cocktail and wine lists, which are best enjoyed with a view out over Geneva Lake and the white sand beach. Boaters can tie up at the pier and stop in, too.
8. Skip's A'la Mode Restaurant Canteen
Skip's, 105 N. Walworth Ave., is bright and fun, and offers a wide range of sandwiches, burgers, pizza, wraps, salads, appetizers, soup, fish and chicken dinners, and most notably, hot dogs. You can get that heaping pile of business so beloved in the Windy City, but I ordered my favorite: mustard and sauerkraut and walked away pleased as punch. There's a great little dining room off to the side, outdoor seating in season and the two tables you can see at right in the photo have a generation of diners' names carved into them.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in an episode of TV's "Party of Five," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.