Ask any local where to get a good burger in Wisconsin Dells, and they'll steer you to Monk's. The storied hamburger joint got its start in 1947, when owners Monk and Helen Heineke began cooking up their signature quarter-pounders—ground chuck, cooked medium and topped with fried onions. People raved about the flavor (that supposedly came from using a well-seasoned, never-washed grill), so the Heinekes began piping the savory-smelling exhaust directly onto the sidewalk to lure customers inside.
The Heinekes' sons played football for the University of Wisconsin, so Monk and Helen transformed their restaurant's decor into a Badger shrine, a look that new owners have retained. Diners can still nosh on the Original Monk's Burger (about $5 without any sides) and an assortment of newer variations, including veggie and black bean. The menu also offers sandwiches (the Reuben and the Philly cheesesteak are especially good), salads, appetizers and kids' meals. Price range is about $5 to $9 for a sandwich or burger.
A decent selection of beer includes New Belgium Fat Tire, New Glarus Spotted Cow and Leinie's, although the signature drink is the Purple Monkey, a noxious-sounding concoction made from five kinds of liquor and exotic mixes.
Expect to wait for a table, and there's no hostess on staff—customers just have to watch for an opening and grab it before someone else does.