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Many restaurants have special menu items that people drive miles to eat. Some feature unique soups or salads, others show off with gargantuan steaks or prime rib cuts, while some places present fancy desserts, or unique side dishes that people rave about. But the Wilmot Stage Stop, as the name indicates, a place that started life as a stagecoach stop, is famous for a very common, ordinary, you-can-get-these-anywhere item: a baked potato. But it’s not how the potato is prepared or how it’s cooked or baked that has helped the lowly spud achieve regional fame. It’s what’s in it. And although the menu says, “served with heaps of butter” one would hardly expect a full quarter-pound of pure butter would be the jauntily inserted into every baked potato served. In fact when I asked one waitress how many potatoes they served on a busy day she looked puzzled. “Actually it would be easier to count how many pounds of butter we use, then divide that by four,” she giggled. A cardiologists’ dream or nightmare, depending on their need for funds, most people actually leave the butter in the spud, sopping up the melting goodness with hunks of potato.
To add insult to carbohydrate the most popular entrée on the menu is (remember we are in the middle of Wisconsin, miles from any salt water) steak and lobster. The lobster of course served with drawn butter. Let me say that I love steak, especially a juicy rib eye, and lobster is perhaps the nearest culinary goodie to my heart. And no one should eat this briny food from the gods without dipping it in melted lemon butter. But come on! And yes, I know Wisconsin is “America’s Dairyland." Rolland Winn, one of the early owners, is the gent who came up with idea of adorning the taters with the aforementioned “heaps of butter.” For this Wisconsin dairy industry, and heart surgeons across the state, are forever in his debt. Just to be clear. I thought the cream of lobster bisque was delish. I did eat all of the lobster tail, which I did dip in drawn butter, ate 1/3 of the well-marbled and perfectly cooked steak, but immediately after shooting a keepsake photo, gently removed the brick of butter from the potato which I then ate, sans the 1/4 lb. hunk of solid cholesterol. My cardiologist would be pleased.
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