Thursday, October 6, 2011

Kickin' Back in Kenosha

My blog has taken a 3-month hiatus (maybe it was travelling the world) as I’ve pursued some writing goals and prepared my next travel show. Now I’m back and it’s back, so let me tell you about a fun little stop we made on our way to the Dells this summer. But first, I must announce the cookbook winner, chosen from those who left comments on the previous post.

Congratulations, Tammie Shaw! You have won the Beef, Pork, and Lamb Cookbook, composed of recipes by various chefs. And since you waited sooooo long to find out, you’ll get a little something extra, too.


Today’s destination: Kenosha, WI, which actually is not on the way to the Dells from my Chicago suburb, but was worth the extra travel time. We chose Kenosha for two reasons: 1. They have a diner there that was featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives (more on that below); and 2. My next travel show is Taste of the Midwest, and I needed photos of Kenosha’s Civil War Museum. Now we have another reason to return to Kenosha: Tenuta’s Italian Grocery and Deli. Love it!

So, for all you Food Network fans out there, here’s the scoop on FRANK’S DINER, located at 508 58th St. Unless you were specifically looking, you would drive right by it. Small front, a few tables along the sidewalk, nothing to catch your eye. But inside…pure delectable deliciousness. Their claim to fame is the “garbage plate” – a sumptuous combination of hashbrowns, green peppers, onions, jalapenos, eggs, and choice of meat and a variety of veggies. Prices run from $6.50 to $10.50, depending on the ingredients and whether you choose half or full size. Half is normally more than enough for a man-size appetite. Other signature items include cinnamon swirl French toast and a chili and cheddar omelet. We ordered a deep fried Twinkie, just for kicks. Yech. Enough said. Expect a long wait if you go on a weekend, but also expect the unexpected.

CIVIL WAR MUSEUM AND LAKEFRONT, 5400 First Ave. – The best description comes for their own website: “Through state-of-the-art museum technology, life-size dioramas, and interactive engaging exhibits, visitors travel back in history to the social, political and economic influences that contributed to the Civil War.” Across from the museum is a huge flea market and craft fair, which I believe runs every Friday throughout the summer. Across the street, the beautiful lakefront, complete with lighthouse, beach, and rocks for climbing or resting on as you gaze at the water.

TENUTA'S – Even before entering the store, you’ll know you’ve found a gem. In nice weather, the outside café is open, with menu items like eggplant sandwiches and Tenuta’s hom
emade Italian sausage. Inside, Italian food galore…and more! First, the piano player greets you with old-time music and a corny joke as you enter. That alone is priceless. As you proceed, you’ll find entire aisles of pasta, olives, giardiniera, and a huge variety of imported olive oils (the good stuff). And the delli, mama mia! Not only fresh meats and cheeses, but fresh cannolis and a plethora of other rich, gooey desserts. That doesn’t begin to cover it, so check it out for yourself if you get the chance. Here’s their website:

If you go to Kenosha, don’t miss the OUTLET MALL, which is technically in Pleasant Prairie, but close enough. All in all, a great place for a day or weekend trip.



  1. Oh, my, you made me hungry! I might have to go a little further next time I visit Racine. Glad you're back, Susan!

  2. "Garbage Plate," huh? Don't know if I'd dare order something with such an unappetizing name. LoL. Tenutas looks great - especially the part about the rich, gooey desserts.

    Thanks for the post and welcome back to blog-world. :-)

  3. Now I want to go to Kenosha! You are constantly tempting my wander lust ;-)... and my appetite!