December 20, 2012


Join us as we begin our journey on finding the classic Wisconsin fish fry experience, which of course includes a Brandy Old Fashioned. 

This blog serves a few purposes, but first and foremost I seek to find a classic Wisconsin fish fry experience. I will be rating establishments on whether their fish fry offering is considered "classic" and I base my ratings on research and my own experiences. I will also evaluate the service, wait time, food, and price to help you plan your Friday fish fry.

So what is a classic Wisconsin fish fry? Here is my criteria, and over time this may change based on new research or feedback from readers like you. These are components that are required to offer the classic Wisconsin fish fry experience and how I plan to rate it.

Brandy Old Fashioned
1/2 point for offering a Brandy Old Fashioned with fruit or vegetable garnish
1 point for hand muddling (hard to find these days)

1/2 point for offering a whitefish such as cod
1 point for offering a freshwater fish such as perch or walleye, and a special mention for offering bluegill

1 point for offering a potato option, this is a point every establishment should earn

Cole Slaw
1 point for offering cole slaw as a standard side

Rye Bread w/ Raw Onion
1 point for offering rye bread with raw onion

5 points - A classic Wisconsin fish fry 
4 points - Almost classic
2-3 points - Barely a classic fish fry, but has potential
0-1 points - Not a classic Wisconsin fish fry


  1. Saw your blog on Arty's Facebook page. Love it!

    I am a Wisconsin native, but grew up in Milwaukee area. We had a fish fry almost every Friday, being Catholic and often times in our Church's school.

    NEVER been served onion with my rye bread. Would love to hear the history behind this, if you know.


  2. Hi Megan,

    Thanks for stopping by. I've been talking with friends lately about the onion with rye bread and have heard mixed results. I'm working on some research to figure out where the tradition came from and how prevalent it really is.

    I added your blog to my reading list and am enjoying your commentary and review of the old fashioned.

  3. Hello!
    I am working on a story about the Old Fashioned in Wisconsin for a book about North Coast food and drink. I would love to chat with you about your supper club experiences -- specifically about variations on the classic brandy OF and where you've found interesting garnishes, methods, etc. If you're willing to send me an email, perhaps we can make a time to chat? Thank you!
    Lindsay in Madison
    lchristians08 AT gmail DOT com