I took off in the car a few Sundays back with the intention of checking out Watertown, which is north of I-94, about halfway to Milwaukee. (Take the Johnson Creek exit -- you know, the one with the monster outlet mall.) The Jefferson County tourism booklet mentions a 106-acre park in Watertown, and a "Riverwalk" -- plus there's a historic Octagon House that offers tours. I remembered a main street classic, Mullen's Dairy Bar & Eatery, which is an old-timey soda-fountain type diner.
Sadly, Mullen's was closed that morning when we arrived at 10 a.m. But Watertown's Main Street also yielded the promising Chalet Restaurant, across the street at 107 W. Main. The blue-themed interior, which bears no resemblance to a chalet, doesn't look like a classic diner so much as it does a very narrow supper club.
The room boasts a few tables for two near the front window, seats at the counter down one wall, and three or four booths lining the opposite wall. The Sunday morning crowd included families with small children, older couples dressed presumably for church, and three hunters in camo. However, there was no problem grabbing a table immediately.
The menu has a number of draws, including chocolate chip pancakes with whipped cream, decent corned beef hash, and omelets that come in two sizes, small and large. That's a much-appreciated touch. Breakfast is served all day, every day. And breakfast for two won't run you much over $12.
We ordered eggs over-easy with hash, a ham-and-cheese omelet (small size) with whole wheat toast and a side order of two pancakes -- regular, no whip. We got a third egg out of the deal without even asking, as the kitchen had broken one of the yolks on the over-easy eggs. The ample serving of hash was rich and pink, crispy but not burned. The omelet's ratio of cheese and ham to egg was just right, although the pancake had a slight aftertaste of griddle grease. (Although some diner aficionados enjoy that.)
The coffee wasn't very memorable, but it was acceptable, and the whole wheat toast was later enjoyed by our dogs. Overall, I'd give the Chalet more than a passing grade for breakfast and I'd go back in a heartbeat.
While in town, take a gander down the Riverwalk, which is a stone's throw from the Chalet. Walk across the Rock River on the Main Street bridge; the Riverwalk runs from Main Street south to Milwaukee Street -- just one block, but a long, pleasant, scenic block. (A special touch along the Riverwalk is the open trash cans labeled "Carp Disposal.")
The 106-acre park mentioned in the tourism guide is Brandt Quirk Park, with soccer fields, baseball diamonds, cross-country ski trails and hiking trails for dogs. It's located off the west end of Main Street (Hwy. 19) near the high school. (Turn at the Kwik-Trip and look for the park signs.) The Octagon House is closed for the season until May 1.
107 W. Main St, Watertown, Wis. 53094
Hours: 4 a.m. - 8 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 1 a.m. - 8 p.m. Sat., and 1 a.m. - 2 p.m. Sun.
New Year's hours: Dec. 31 and Jan. 1: 1 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Smoking is allowed with no non-smoking area
Only local (Watertown) checks accepted, credit cards not accepted, though there's an onsite ATM