I’ve been to several of Door County, Wisconsin’s trademark fish boils, but my favorite one is at Rowleys Bay Resort Restaurant, 1041 County Road ZZ, Ellison Bay.
What I like about this place, which is open from Memorial Day weekend through mid October, is their verbal presentation about the rich history of the area and their huge buffet and salad bar. There is also a dessert bar, which includes Swedish bakery items baked on-site.
Breakfast and dinner are served daily, and there’s a Sunday Brunch. But my wife and I attended what Rowleys says is the only all-you-can-eat fish boil in Door County, which takes place every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday night and costs $19.99.
The fish boil starts with customers seated lakeside around a large cauldron of water on a wood fire as a master storyteller, an elderly man dressed in pioneer attire and portraying the bay’s namesake, Peter Rowley, relates the history of the area, throwing in some humor along the way.
As the boiling water cooks the fresh whitefish netted from Lake Michigan, some sweet onions and red potatoes, “Mr. Rowley” pauses to educate the audience about the fish boil tradition.
Then, when the time is right and the boiling fish, onions and potatoes are ready to be served, he has everyone move safely back as kerosene is thrown on the fire and the water in the pot boils over, taking the oils of the fish with it.
Everyone moves inside then to enjoy the buffet. For those who don’t care for fish, there’s chicken and many other dishes to satisfy their hunger.
Before and after dinner, we found time to admire Rowleys Bay Resort’s view of Lake Michigan and have a drink or two in the place’s small pub.
Rowleys also offers lodging but we were staying elsewhere. Next time we may give them a try. I’m ready to go back!
Copyright 2016 by Phil Roberts, Creative Enterprises.