Rich history, food make Range Line Inn a winner
When we walked into the historic Range Line Inn, 2635 W. Mequon Rd., we were immediately greeted by one of the owners, Patrick Strong, who has overseen the restaurant for more than 20 years.
Our waitress, too, had been with the restaurant for about two decades. As we looked around, we realized many of the patrons were likely regulars who had been coming to the restaurant since the new ownership took over in the late 1980s, and possibly before.
This building and the existing parcel have a lengthy legacy beginning in the 1830s and early 1840s, making the Range Line Inn one of the oldest structures in Mequon. The entry foyer is decorated with newspaper articles and write-ups about the historic building, its record as a restaurant and several glowing reviews from local publications.
The inn itself is warm, cozy and intimate in a friendly and almost boisterously joyful fashion. The entrance door leads you into the bar, which separates a casual wooden booth and leaded glass dining area from a larger, more formal dining room. All three areas were busy on a recent Wednesday evening.
The menu at Range Line Inn is casual, with sandwiches, soups, chicken, steaks and ribs. All entrees come with a basket of homemade rolls and the history of the inn is shared on paper placemats, giving context both to the setting and the greeting from Mr. Strong, which is referenced on the same placement in the very first few paragraphs:
"In the finest restaurants you will see the owner roaming from table to table greeting guests ... Please be assured the staff and I welcome you to the historic Range Line Inn where a commitment to excellence in dining is our goal."
House specials include "Our Famous BBQ Chicken" that former Harley-Davidson CEO Jeffrey Bleustein raved about in a 2004 Fortune magazine interview. The chicken, like most entrées, is served with soup or salad, choice of potato, and with or without skin for $14.95.
"Our Famous Range Burger" ($9.95) also makes an appearance, not to outshine the Friday fish fry, which is a neighborhood favorite. The Range Line Inn's version includes French fries, potato pancakes or parsley and butter boiled potatoes. Diners can opt for beer battered haddock ($12.95) or lake perch ($14.95), baked cod ($12.95) or a fish sandwich ($10.95).
Unlike many restaurants that serve steaks, burgers and chops as their main theme, the Range Line Inn caters well to a vegetarian crowd, with eggplant parmesan in entrée and sandwich form ($13.95 and $9.95, respectively) and both vegetarian ($8.95) and black bean ($10.95) burgers.
Dinners can be followed with homemade apple ($2.95) or pecan ($3.95) pie, double chocolate truffle brownies ($4.95), a hot fudge sundae ($3.50) or strawberry schaum torte ($4.50). Most items are made fresh in house.
I ate here once. I drive by frequently was always curious to try it. It always seems busy. I was disappointed and would never go back. The food was fine and service good, but I was expecting a more charming rustic atmosphere, but instead it seemed more 1970s supper club. Dining in Mequon sucks.
DMcH... Amy is a food writer, typically writing about food. Your local historical society would be a good source to submit the building history to. Amy also didn't mention that my Parents had there wedding reception at Range Line over 50 years ago but I certainly don't hold that against her!!
One of the best restaurants I have ever been to. Not only is the quality vs price the best I have ever seen, but the staff is so friendly and always very helpful. I grew up in Mequon and have been there an average of once a year since 1995 and it's amazing that the service and quality have never gone down.
Classic place! What eating out used to be like and still should be. Why do people seem to prefer pre-prepared frozen boil a bag "tv dinners" franchises like Applebees over this? Places like these used to be the norm but now they just might be a refreshing change for some of you...
Lot's of in depth reporting here. No mention of the fact that this there was a tunnel from the basement to a farmhouse over a quarter mile away that was part of the Underground Railroad or that Lincoln supposedly changed horses there once. But I guess a 5 minute walk thru and a glance at the menu was all that were needed for this article.
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