A Local's Love-It List

10/27/2017 - Anna Hegland

Anna Hegland Faves Blog
Anna Hegland Faves Blog
Anna Hegland Faves Blog
Anna Hegland Faves Blog
Anna Hegland Faves Blog
Anna Hegland Faves Blog

I’m away at grad school right now, but I’m definitely a Wisconsin girl at heart. Even though I’m on a beautiful campus, I miss Lake Michigan and seeing our Midwestern fall colors! As I look ahead to my trip back for the holidays, I’ve been putting together a list of places I need to visit while I’m home — my Kenosha Must Haves and Must Visits — and I wanted to share it with all of you. These are the places that I just LOVE.

1. Breakfast at Franks Diner. One of my friends and I have a tradition: whenever either of us has come back from being out of town, we have a Franks breakfast date. It’s hard to pick my favorite thing on the menu — the pancakes are delicious, the bacon and eggs are hard to beat, and no one could forget the classic garbage plate (featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives!). No matter what you pick, the chefs at Franks cook everything right in front of you, on the long grill just behind the counter. Frank’s menu says it has “tasty food and good coffee” and both are true. Just remember to bring cash, as they don’t accept credit or debit cards!

2. A visit to Kenosha HarborMarket. There is nothing better than sampling fresh baked goods, homemade toasted granola, or hearty soups at the fall and winter farmers market. I love going to HarborMarket with my parents, we walk down along the lakefront and visit all kinds of stalls. I love buying fresh produce straight from the farm and seeing what local businesses have to offer. My favorites are stalls like Wisconsin Soup Company, which has really tasty vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options — one of my go-to’s is black bean habanero —, and Sweet Impact Chocolate, for local fair-trade artisan fudge and truffles. Once the weather turns cold, the Winter HarborMarket heads inside to the Rhode Center for the Arts, where you can still get your fill of soups, breads, and local craft items like soaps, kitchen tools, and artwork. No matter if it’s inside or out, Kenosha puts on a great farmers market that’s easy to walk to and explore.

3. Along these same lines: a walk on the lakefront.I love walking along the lakefront: viewing the statues in the sculpture walk at HarborPark, looking out over the waves, seeing boats coming into the marina, passing the public museums and seeing the Schaefer mammoth lit up in the evening, and just enjoying the amount of green space and gardens in the harbor area! It doesn’t matter if I’m headed out for a hot drink and some browsing at the farmers market, meeting a friend for lunch, or taking a leisurely after-dinner stroll, I find walking by Lake Michigan is a great way to unwind and clear my head.

4.Chai at Harborside Common Grounds. Common Grounds is my favorite place to study when I’m home during a school break. There’s no wifi, which means I can buckle down and read research articles without distraction, and I can stay there for hours, with plenty of food and drink to keep me going. I personally think that Common Grounds has the absolute best chai lattes — I could rave about them forever —, which makes it one of my first stops every time I come home. During the winter months there are lots of cozy seats and tables inside, though when the weather’s nice I love to sit out on the deck overlooking the harbor entrance. My favorite thing to do is camp out with a book (or five) and an oversized mug full of chai or hot chocolate. Whether you bring a friend, split a pastry, and enjoy a chat or prefer to fly solo, Common Grounds is a great place to hang out.

5. Dinner at Wine Knot. Where to even begin. Wine Knot is one of my favorite dinner spots in Kenosha. I’ve taken my parents here for their anniversary, they’ve brought me for a graduation dinner, and we go when we just need to celebrate the end of a long day. Their menu of small and big plates is seasonal, so there’s always something new. Two of my perennial favorites are the macadamia nut crusted halibut and the hickory smoked cheddar burger. So. Good. Their soups are always amazing, the parmesan russet fries are addicting, and their aioli is incredible. Wine Knot also has a full service bar with weekly wine and cocktail specials. Their wine flights are my favorite way to try new grape varietals and imports — you get three 3 ounce glasses — and with two red flights, two white flights, a reserve flight, and a “create your own” option, you can’t really go wrong.

6. Pie from Elsie Mae’s. Confession: I tried the chocolate bourbon pecan pie from Elsie Mae’s Bakery & Cannery for the first time this summer (in my defense, the bakery opened while I was away at school) and I am now obsessed. This pie is definitely on the list of things to eat while I’m home over the holidays. It is rich, chocolatey, gooey, packed with big pieces of pecan in a buttery crust — basically everything you could want out of a pie. And since it’s available in a nice individual size (or mini-pie), I can justify not sharing a single bite of it. If chocolate bourbon pecan isn’t your thing, there’s plenty of other flavors, including cherry, salted toffee apple, Southport Sunrise, Honey Rum Ball, pumpkin, and strawberry rhubarb.

And there you have it — a few of the top items on my Must Haves list. Looking at this list, it’s no surprise that they’re almost all about food! Kenosha has way more to offer than just its restaurants and markets, but when I’m away from home that’s what I tend to miss the most. So for now, grab a slice of pie and a latte, and enjoy eating your way through my list of downtown favorites! Just make sure to leave some for me.

Anna Hegland

Community Blogger

Kenosha Native with a love for baseball, ice cream, and the arts. Studied in Iowa, Italy, and England - returned to her hometown. Works for the Kenosha Public Museum and drinks too many chai lattes.