In all my travels the one thing that always rings true is that you can’t judge a book by its cover. There are certain fact of life as it pertains to men: Most of us like girl on girl porn and most of us like sports where we can inflict damage on each other. In the past I have introduced you to my fraternity brother Jan. He reminds me of myself when I was younger (a somewhat scary thought) and is now mentoring me back into the single life. The process is similar to an athlete who is getting ready for a new season; you need to be in shape. I have been working out and have dropped 68 lbs. The downside to this is my tolerance for martinis had taken a nose-dive, consequently I find it necessary to practice the art of cocktails & cigars on a daily basis. Such is the position I found myself in on the Friday before Halloween. I was in Dousman and trying to decide where to where to go for a fish fry. Apparently ESP is real because I get a call Jan who suggests we call our other brother John in Fond du Lac and meet at the Spinnaker in Oconomowoc for a fry. The text messages start flying and it appears the aforementioned restaurant should be avoided…too many questionable reviews. Jan suggests we go to a Biker Bar called Stolley’s Hogg Alley and do the fish fry. WTF, bikes, bars, booze, women and fish (don’t ask) are always a hit in my book. We get there about six and the joint is packed. There is an empty stool at the bar, Jan checks it out and is told it belongs to Ziggy; I don’t know who the hell Ziggy is but I am pretty damn sure were are not taking his chair. When Ziggy shows up it proves to be a wise choice.
John shows up just about the time a primo end spot at the bar opens. We settle in for the show. You just have to walk into this joint to know it’s not a Martini up kind of place so we opt for Vodka, Captain, and shots of Jack. Our Bartender is Brenda (very hot) and as she floats over to bring us a drink the air vent slowly blows her hair giving her the ‘Baywatch’ effect…we turn into puppy dogs and are in love instantly. This is a very interesting crowd; we have a mix of bike people and lake yuppies and a sprinkling of geezers. The common thread is that everyone is having a good time. In the Northwood’s when a stranger walks in the door they all give you that deer in the headlights look. Not true here, everyone is friendly. Our hostess finds us to tell us our table is ready, sadly we tell we need to drink for a while. Since it’s close to Halloween our hostess Anna is dressed like a pirate. Jan opts to call her the Wench and orders her a drink. This only proves the point that it is not what you say but how you say it. 30 minutes later we have a great table and great service. I asked Anna what she thought of the fish fry and she proclaimed it was the best think she ever had in her mouth. Can’t argue with that!
Considering this is a small place (seating looks like 40-45) they have a good menu and a kitchen pushing out a lot of food. It is Friday so we all opted for the Fish Fry, which was a deep-fried Beer Battered Cod, with Home Fries, Potato Pancakes, Applesauce and sides of Coleslaw, German Potato Salad and Sourdough Rye Bread. It is also served family style, just what I need to help me drop more weight. The Cod was hot, lightly breaded and flavorful, the fries were good. I particularly liked the German Potato Salad, probably because it was loaded with bacon. You know what they say, either you like bacon or your wrong. Jan and John liked the Potato Pancakes which were pan-fried, however, they were not my favorite part of the meal. I am still in search of the best pancake. At the end of the day it was a very good fry. They also serve other WI favorites like Blue Gill and Walleye. Rumor has it that you have to get there early for the Blue Gill.
As we go back to the bar, Hogg Alley is starting to rock, shots of Jack start flowing, the bullshit starts flying and by the end of the night I have a bar full of new friends. It has been awhile since I have stuck around to closing time and since I had a 8:00 am meeting it hardly seemed worthwhile to go to bed – so I didn’t – about 10:00 am the next day I realized I was no longer 25. The 4-hour drive home was akin to driving a nail in the back of my head. My only consolation was knowing that as soon as it got dark I would feel great and be ready to go out and do it all over again. This is another of the great truths of life, you may feel like crap all day, but when darkness comes, you are rejuvenated and ready to do it all over.
The Big Ragu gives this joint a 4 outa 5.