Friede News & Updates

The 15 Best Bars & Restaurants in Southern Wisconsin

[fa icon="calendar"] Mar 8, 2018 9:46:00 AM / by Scott G. Truehl

Scott G. Truehl

The Old Fashioned | Madison, Wisconsin | Friede & Associates

The Old Fashioned, a Wisconsin-themed, retro-style tavern where “Wisconsin Is King” is located in Madison, Wisconsin.

We are always eager to read “The Top 10 [Insert A Topic] in Wisconsin” posts from Best Things Wisconsin, USA Today,, Buzzfeed, and other publications as they draw attention to the wonders of Wisconsin. Many times they focus on restaurants, water parks, attractions, resorts or retail outlets that Friede & Associates has had the pleasure to build. Who would have guessed when we constructed The Old Fashioned Restaurant about a decade ago that it would go on to be a staple on these lists in both the restaurant and bar categories.

So, we got thinking about some of the restaurants and bars we have built over the past 10 years or so and decided to compile our own “15 Best.” Bon appetit!

Old_Fashioned_ExtThe Old Fashioned | Madison
The Old Fashioned features more than 120 different beers and 10 delicious cocktails, including their namesake cocktail, The Old Fashioned. Their menu features sandwiches, salads, appetizers and nightly dinner specials that pair well with their extensive drinks menu. Despite being a relative newcomer to the Madison restaurant scene—The Old Fashioned was established in 2005—this tavern and restaurant ranks at the top of many “Best of ” lists in Wisconsin.

Vintage Brewery Daytime LRVintage Brewing Company | Sauk City
Opened in early 2018, this family-owned establishment includes a 10,000-square-foot microbrewery, a new bar, restaurant and banquet facility with seating for 250. The complex takes full advantage of the amazing views of the adjacent Wisconsin River. This local favorite features “elevated Americana” cuisine and an eclectic array of highly-acclaimed house-made brews. Coming soon...a new Madison facility.

HuHot Mongolian Grill | Wisconsin DellsHuHot_Final_02
This 5,200-square-foot restaurant in the Wisconsin Dells and is a new stand-alone building on a redevelopment site. The interior build-out includes a full kitchen with a 6-foot diameter circular grill in the dining area where patrons can watch their food being cooked. Interior finishes include curved walls and soffits, a mural, wall and floor tiles, solid surfaces, wood trim, and casework. The 1,900 lb. grill is the centerpiece of this new, interactive dining location. Coming soon...a new Sun Prairie location!

BLux_PatioB-Lux Grill & Bar | Wisconsin Dells
Another new establishment Friede has constructed, B-Lux Grill & Bar, features a deliciously unique menu, with all of their dishes made from scratch. This family-owned restaurant serves wings, sliders, salads, burgers, sandwiches, dogs and a whole lot more. At the bar, B-Lux serves classics such as the Manhattan, the Divebar Mary and the Dirty Mojito. Original drinks include the Marco Polo and Vinnie the Vagabond, to name a few. Something for everyone!

Monk's Bar_04_LRMonk’s at The Wilderness | Lake Delton
The largest of Monk’s six locations, Monk’s at the Wilderness features a full bar, large dining room and lower level for entertainment. In June of 2016, we added a new outdoor dining area and lounge, substantially increasing the amount of this popular 8,000-square-foot restaurant and bar can accommodate. Monk’s menu includes pub fare from cheese curds to monkey fries, from the Bucky Badger Burger to Crispy BBQ Chicken Mac ‘n Cheese! Their full service bars feature practically everything you need to quench your thirst.

Nitty_Gritty_Middleton_02The Nitty Gritty | Madison, Middleton & Sun Prairie
Friede has been thrilled to be a part of all three major expansion projects of this popular Madison area restaurant chain since 2000. The Nitty Gritty restaurants feature daily lunch and dinner and offers the Burger of the Day, along with other favorites from their vast menu. They serve a wide variety of bottled and tap beers, as well as a nice assortment of wine by the glass or half carafe. Diehards will love The Nitty Gritty’s “Power Hour” featuring discounted tap products, rail mixers and bomb shots. The Nitty Gritty is also known for serving locally-sourced ingredients as well as a gluten-free menu.

Double Cut_Bar_LRDouble Cut Charcoal Grill / Liquor Bar | Wisconsin Dells
This upscale bar and grill, located at The Kalahari Resort, is known for its massive wine list and cocktail offerings. In addition, they feature a dozen beers on tap. The unique interior makes it a great place to meet friends or business associates. Their dinner menu is filled with steak and seafood dishes—from Oysters on the Half Shell and Alaskan King Crab to Filet Mignon and Prime Rib. Their selection of scotch is unparalleled and includes Macallan Rare Cask and Lagavulin 16-year old. A real treat!

Culver's-West Baraboo_16 New Culvers at NightCulver’s | West Baraboo
This 4,200-square-foot LEED-certified restaurant was the first Culver’s that Friede & Associates constructed back in 2011. The project became a model for future franchises wanting to incorporate sustainable design practices. Everyone knows and loves Culver’s frozen custard, butterburgers and cheese curds! Their menu also includes sandwiches, hearty soups, fresh salads, premium chicken, fish dinners, pot roast and chopped steak. And don’t forget their shakes, malts and floats! Also visit our newest Culver’s in Reedsburg.


Hilltop_Interior_LRThe Hilltop Pub & Grill | Stevens Point
Throughout the years, the Hilltop Pub & Grill has undergone many changes, but none more dramatic that our complete reconstruction of the bar and front dining room in 2014. This one ranks especially high on our list thanks to the barrel-shaped beer taps and back bar our team created to match the Hilltop’s iconic barrel entrance. Their menu features sandwiches and appetizers as well as homemade soups, and daily lunch and dinner specials. However, the locals rave about their char-grilled hamburgers and famous fish fry, and their tap beer list includes several local micro brews from Central Waters Brewery, New Glarus Brewery, Leinenkugel’s Brewery, Point Brewery and Ale Asylum to name a few.


Chula Vista_Bar_LRChula Vista Tavern Bar | Wisconsin Dells
Friede & Associates constructed the 8,000-square-foot Cold Water Canyon Clubhouse, which features a new restaurant with seating for up to 160, to replace the former, smaller clubhouse that was destroyed by fire in 2014. Located adjacent to the golf course at Chula Vista Resort, the Tavern’s specialties are their famous Tavern brisket burgers, Friday Night Fish Fry, sandwiches and steaks. The Tavern is the perfect spot for families, sports teams and, of course, golfers.


Wilderness Swim Up Bar_LRMargarita’s Swim-up Bar | Wisconsin Dells
In April of 2014, Friede & Associates worked with The Wilderness Resort to create a truly unique adults-only, full-service bar: Margarita’s Swim-Up Bar, located in the Wild West Water Dome. Half of the swim-up bar is located in the pool, where guests can literally swim up and order their drinks. The other half of the bar is outside of the water, making it easy for visitors who want to stay dry. One interesting feature is that the bar pool is both indoor and outdoor. Swimmers can swim through the heated pool to the outdoor area in the winter time and experience a unique sensation as the cold air surrounds them.


RCC_Banquet_FacilityReedsburg Country Club | Reedsburg
In 2016, Friede & Associates embarked on a new construction project at the Reedsburg Country Club that included demolishing their club house and rebuilding a beautiful new restaurant, bar and events facility. House 1924, an upscale dining and drinking establishment has grown to be the area’s go-to place for fine dining, weddings and other special occasions. The bar features extensive millwork, custom tables and chairs, and an outdoor patio overlooking one of the state’s most attractive and popular golf courses. They serve a lunch and dinner menu and, of course, they feature a Wisconsin Friday Night Fish Fry.


Springbrook_04Springbrook Resort Bar | Wisconsin Dells
A great place to catch the game, or just to relax after a round of golf at the resort, Spring Brook Sports Bar & Grill offers a family-friendly menu with wraps, pizzas and their signature smoked wings. Local favorites include Friday Fish Fry and Saturday Prime Rib. They also feature a large craft beer selection and a variety of cocktails. Spring Brook also features two private meeting/dining rooms and can accommodate up to 300 people in their outdoor tent.


Famous Daves Interior 2Famous Dave’s | Wisconsin Dells
It’s pretty clear that Famous Dave’s has a passion for BBQ. Their pitmasters get their hickory logs smoldering at around 4:00 am everyday. They hand-rub top quality meats with fresh spices and slowly cook them to perfection. Friede & Associates renovated this building for Famous Dave’s back in 2010 and they are still making those award-winning ribs in the same location, as well as in more than 150 locations across North America. Consistently chosen as America’s favorite BBQ restaurant, Famous Dave’s has won more than 700 awards!


Uno Pizza 3Uno Pizzeria & Grill | Appleton, Lake Delton & Menomonee Falls
These 9,500-square-foot restaurants feature pizzas, flatbread, steaks, seafood, burgers, sandwiches, salads and so much more! Uno’s is well-known for its Chicago-style deep dish pizza. The bar features domestic, imported and crafts beers, sangria, wine, cocktails, smoothies and refreshers. There are more than 130 Uno Pizzeria & Grill restaurants found in 21 states across the country, and Friede has been fortunate to work on three in Appleton, Lake Delton and Menomonee Falls.

As you can see, Friede & Associates has been busy designing and building many of Southern Wisconsin's favorite restaurants and bars.

We are also proud to be a member of the Wisconsin Restaurant Association and have been an exhibitor and speaker at the Midwest Foodservice Expo. We are planning to attend this event again this year on March 12-14 at the Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee. Come visit us at Booth #520. If you are considering a restaurant or bar project and would like to tap into some of our experience, click below to request a free consultation. We look forward to hearing from you!

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About Friede:

When you select Friede & Associates, you are buying more than our quality-assured construction services. You also get the performance and reliability of some of the top suppliers and subcontractors in the area. While other contractors may be cutting quality to remain competitive on price, Friede is forging relationships with members of the project team to bring you the best value and highest quality for your investment.

Topics: Wisconsin Dells, Design Build Construction, Madison, Restaurant construction

Scott G. Truehl

Written by Scott G. Truehl

Executive Vice President & Partner—With more than 30 years of experience in site selection and commercial development, Scott is responsible for assisting clients with not only their project development, but also their site analysis/acquisition, municipal approval and development needs. Scott is an active member and presenter at the international Construction Leadership Network and is a speaker at both national and state contracting conferences on topics including: creating a positive corporate culture; marketing construction services; design-build construction; and working with Realtors and developers. He also routinely participates in “Meet the Generals” programs around the state of Wisconsin and speaks to hundreds of trade contractors each year on how to effectively work with general contractors. For more than three decades, Scott has served the Wisconsin community in various roles: as a city councilman in Madison and Stoughton, as well as on numerous municipal boards, committees and economic development commissions.

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