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Stop-Inn Tavern

284 S. Lake St.
Elkhart Lake  Wisconsin  53020
United States
(920) 876-2600
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    - Melanie McManus
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Midwest Living Review

Melanie Radzicki McManus
Part of Elkhart Lake's venerable Siebkens Resort, it's the spot where the racing crowd comes to cool its heels.

Amazingly, the little Stop-Inn Tavern in Elkhart Lake is considered the best bar on the international racing circuit. The drinks are good, to be sure, but it's probably the ambience and history of the place that give it that reputation. The bar-restaurant, which serves lunch and dinner daily, is tucked into the exposed lower level of Ollie's Antiques and Gifts, a seasonally operated shop in an 1880s opera house, now part of the resort property. The Stop-Inn features a spacious bar area plus an airy screened porch for dining. Every Wednesday evening there's live entertainment. The food ranges from extremely casual to rather elegant. Its signature lunch items, for example, include simple sandwiches (ham, corned beef, pastrami, roast beef or turkey) on Siebkens' famous rye bread. Yet dinner entrees include Thai satay, cilantro-lime salmon and seared scallops with Asian slaw and vegetable fried rice. Prices are moderate ($5-$9 for lunch sandwiches, $15-$23 for dinner entrees). We tried the Siebken's Grinder ($8.95) -- a ham, turkey, pastrami, provolone sandwich on an Italian roll with pepperoncinis, tomatoes, onions, oregano and red wine vinaigrette -- and the seared scallops ($21.95), which were five large, pan-seared scallops with basil butter and fire-roasted tomato sauce, plus asparagus and sauteed spinach. Both were really good. Grinders often are drippy because of the vinaigrette, and the roll is typically soggy. This one had enough vinaigrette to give it good flavor, but there was no dripping and the roll was perfect -- slightly chewy, enough of a crust, no sogginess. The scallops were outstanding -- no grittiness and great flavor; maybe just a tad too much tomato sauce. The asparagus was grilled to perfection. Back to that famous rye bread. It's so popular, employees make it in shifts each day so no one outside the Siebkens family knows the secret recipe. The outlandishly sized loaves run $38, and people snap them up every day. Leave some room in your stomach for that!

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