Shoe on his bike at Wilshire Trailers LLC. (Metro Wire photo)

Shoe Column: When eating was fun

By Tim “Shoe” Sullivan

If there was one thing I loved to do “back in the day,” it was to eat.

And who wouldn’t?

Stevens Point and the surrounding areas had so many great places to dine. Our fine city still has many outstanding restaurants, but it would be cool to go back to the wonderful days of yesteryear when eating out seemed to be something special.

Let’s face it. On the cuisine front, we were spoiled. There were so many tempting places.

How many of you remember the terrific ribs that Water Street Grille served? Or the cheese curds from

Aldo’s next to Skipps Bowl? And who can forget those awesome barbecues made at the Unique Bar? The “U Nee Q” was right across from the front door of the Point Journal.

If you wanted a basket of beer-battered chicken wings, Archie’s Cocktail Lounge on the South Side was THE place to go.

And many diners would agree that Mickey’s on the Northside presented the best pizza, especially 1/2 cheese and sausage and 1/2 catcher Torre. Bill’s Pizza was a close second (but that’s just my opinion).

The charburgers from the Office downtown were special, and the steak/lobster combos at the Antlers attracted a lot of out-of-town business. By the way, the Sky Club in Plover was well-known for its outstanding salad bars.

Park Ridge offered some great places also. Pete’s Silver Coach with Pete Redfield and Mrs. Mrozinski was known for the egg rolls and onion rings, and Judd’s Drive-In had delicious cheeseburgers and French fries.

If you enjoyed shrimp, you might stop in at Jerry O’Day’s on the way to Rapids. It was all-you-can-eat, but they frowned on “doggie bags.” One place that was always packed on Fridays was Bob Mancheski’s Northside Bar. Their shrimp/cod baskets were second to none.

I’m getting hungry just reading this.

It’s really hard to talk about fish fries because this area had so many great places to get one. One of my all-time favorites for a fish fry was Frank & Ernie’s Bar which is still there. And another business that was always mobbed on Fridays was the American Legion. In addition to the walleye, they also gave you rye bread, coleslaw, and a terrific tarter sauce.

Graffiti’s on the Square has a wonderful fish fry, as does Final Score, Hilltop, and RD’s Diner. Yummy!!

If I’m looking for hash browns, I’ll go to the Cozy Kitchen or RD’s Diner.

Sadie & Jerry’s and the Hot Fish Shop ranked right up there with the Antlers for steaks and chicken dinners. If you wanted a wonderful spaghetti dinner, you could try Aldo’s or S&J’s Palace.

Many of these places “downtown” are long gone, such as River City Diner, Main Street Café, Water Street Grille, Reber’s A&W, S&J’s Palace, Unique Bar, Pal Restaurant (bacon sandwich), The Office, Wanta’s Bowling Lanes, American Legion (where I met Bill Clinton), Hot Fish Shop, Fisher’s Dairy, Woolworth’s, Westy’s, and the Town Clown. They are all missed.

You could get a bacon sandwich from Main Street Café and a ham sandwich from Woolworth’s. And right across from Woolworth’s was Westy’s with the famous cherry phosphates. If you were looking for excellent popcorn, you would go visit Clarence at Jim The Blind Man’s Popcorn Stand next to the Fox Theatre.

The Town Clown had a wonderful variety of ice cream. My favorites were black licorice and New York Cherry. Reber’s A&W and Tess’s Twist offered 1/2 chicken dinners, root beer floats, and hot dogs along with other things. The Little Leaguers always stopped there after their baseball games across the river at Mead Park. And Wanta’s Bowl was home to the “Big Ern” famous hot beef sandwich.

Bill’s Pizza made great senior sausage sandwiches and hot beef sandwiches, and they still do, along with the pizza.

And I’ll say it again. Those fish fries at the American Legion across from the A&W were incredible! So tasty, and served with a smile by Gen Giese. I saw UWSP’s Lee Sherman Dreyfus and his wife frequently dining at the Legion.

Cozy Kitchen put out a nice scrambled eggs and bacon and toast offering, and the Plover VFW was known for great fish fries.

And we can’t forget pizza from Red Lantern, Orange drinks from Altenburg’s Dairy on Water Street, hotdogs from Fisher’s Dairy, and Southpoint’s AWESOME chicken dumpling soup!!

Not to mention S&J’s gyros served by Stevie and Johnny Dimakis, and Ziggy’s “318s.”

My advice: Enjoy the dining places that still remain around these parts, because everything goes away over time. That’s sad…but true.

Most of the businesses mentioned here no longer exist, but they all had their moments in the sun.

And I’ll bet you miss them too.