Growing up in Wisconsin, you know that the search for the perfect fish fry is ceaseless. Your dad might come home from work one Friday and casually mention to your mom, "So-and-so at work says that there's a really good fish fry out at ________," the place usually being some crossroads bar in the middle of nowhere. Moments later you'd all be piling in the car to find the joint, and more often than not, the fish would be a disappointment. The search would continue.
I finally found what I considered to be a fish fry worthy of the trip a few vacations ago just outside of Minocqua. This was not a restaurant that was listed in the guidebook. Coming into Minocqua on Hwy. 51, I saw a white arrow pointing into the woods that said "Lakeside Bar." I just had a feeling. "Let's go," I said.
The Lakeside Bar, a casual tavern right on Tomahawk Lake, is almost more dock than restaurant. There's a place where you can gas up your boat, and the gravel parking lot is full of boat trailers. The jukebox leans toward rock songs you might not have heard since the 1970s. And if the place literally does not have a screen door, it certainly has one in my imagination. Sit outside if you can.
The fish fry - walleye - is served hot out of the fryer, coated with a somewhat spicy batter, with plenty of lemon slices for squeezing, coleslaw and baked beans on the side. Have I had better fish somewhere? Probably. But it's the whole "X marks the spot" quality of the Lakeside experience that I'll never tire of.
7855 Leary Rd.