Most of us have heard of Paul Bunyan and his buddy Babe, the big blue ox. Paul is a giant lumberjack, fictional of course, and he’s often accompanied by Babe the ox, also fictional, also a giant, and blue. Both legends are alive and well in the Midwest United States. This summer I was very excited to be able to have a hearty lumberjack lunch at Paul Bunyan’s Cook Shanty in Minocqua, Wisconsin.
Minocqua (better known as Minocqua-town per my Grandpa Joey) isn’t too far away from the family cottage, and Paenney requested a birthday meal at The Shanty. Who could resist? The touristy attraction is not only fun to visit, but the food is really good.
A bunch of us were at the cottage that weekend. We piled into two cars and made our way to Minocqua-town. The weather was perfect and it was a wonderful day for a drive through the Wisconsin countryside to the Paul Bunyan’s Cook Shanty, which was everything I thought it would be, and more.
Log cabin decor, vintage accessories, lantern lighting, and red and white checkered tablecloths really get an appetite up. Anyone who enters will most likely have the appetite of the giant lumberjack for whom the shanty is named.
One of the fun things about this place is that they offer food family-style. Don’t know what that means? Well, it’s just like the name suggests. Food is delivered to the table and everyone serves him/herself as if sitting at the family dinner table. When ordering in this fashion the restaurant offered hearty, thickly-sliced bread, barbecued ribs, fried chicken, pork chops, mashed potatoes and gravy, and corn-on-the-cob. Mind you, this is ALL YOU CAN EAT. Also included in the meal is soup or salad of your choice, as much as you want. Of course you can order individual meals, like a cheeseburger or chicken nuggets, but why? Even if you have kids at the table, do you offer them something different from what you’re eating yourself? No! Family style. That’s the way a logging camp shanty should be.
The food was delicious, our service was wonderful, and pretending to be in a logging shanty was a lot of fun. Licking fingers isn’t frowned upon and asking for more and more food isn’t judged. But we can’t forget, we visited the shanty for Paenney’s birthday. His 24th birthday. I can’t believe he’s a grown-ass man, mostly because he keeps his child-like enthusiasm. That’s something I really admire in a person.
Because it was his birthday he was presented with a lovely, paper ox-horn headpiece and a special birthday button the size of which is fit for a giant like Paul Bunyan.
If you’re ever in the neighborhood of Minocqua(town) or Wisconsin Dells, be sure to check out Paul Bunyan’s Cook Shanty. You’ll leave satiated with good grub. Really good grub. And by grub I mean food. Please don’t mistake the word grub for icky food.
*Here’s a little aside: The shanty we visited also had a huge gift shop attached to it which was filled with fun, rustic, lumberjack stuff, and stuff that’s relevant to woodsy living. I purchased something for Husby and myself that might or might not be featured on another blog post. I’ll just say this…we named him Barney.*