The Blue Ox | Midwest Living

The Blue Ox

8048 State Hwy. 57
Baileys Harbor  Wisconsin  54202
United States
(920) 839-2771
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    - Josh Wimmer

Midwest Living Review

Josh Wimmer
Hefty portions and famous chili keep locals and tourists coming back to this old tavern.

Sets of large blue footprints lead up the sidewalk to this old wooden building, which was built back when wagon wheels (which happen to adorn its exterior) were still in use. The footsteps are, of course, Paul Bunyan's, as the Blue Ox takes its name from his legendary animal companion, Babe. Inside, the walls are littered with old farming and logging tools, road signs, funny plaques, pictures and the like. (In the case of the Ox, though, the look seems a little less contrived than it does in TGIFriday's.) One wall features a mural of Babe playing the piano, complete with real longhorns set where they should be on his head. And naturally, one color in particular dominates: Blue. The carpet at the Ox is blue, the lamp shades are blue, and even the felt on the pool tables is blue. And if you're in the market for a meal that would satisfy Babe's super-size lumberjack, you've come to the right place: The half-pound Oxburger ($5.75, made of beef) is more like a block than a slab of meat, and bound to leave you full, although the flavor isn't dazzling. We tried a side of underwhelming fries ($2.50), but would try it with the bar's famous chili ($4.50) instead. The tasty quarter-pound hot dog ($4.95), served with chips and pickles, has the pop and tang of a baseball frank. While you're waiting for your food -- if you're not content to just park yourself at a table illustrated with Babe and sip a cold one -- check out the photos from Baileys Harbor's early days, inlaid on the bar counter in the room off to the side. Like many Door County spots, the Blue Ox isn't open during winter. When it is, bring cash (or plan to use the ATM in the dining room) -- they don't take credit cards.

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