Shawano Country Pumpkin Party! Our Patch Picks

We Midwesterners might not all choose the approaching winter as our very favorite season, but we can all agree that there’s something magical about fall in Northern Wisconsin.  As the fall colors bloom across our woodlands and the geese honk their way south, we look forward to cozying up for baking and hunting seasons, plus we get to decorate for Halloween!

Kids and adults love the trappings of fall: warm sweatshirts, comfort food, and PUMPKINS.  These are the things that warm us up before winter’s first blast.  Here in Shawano Country, we’re lucky to have some super family-friendly pumpkin patches that not only let you pick your own favorite pumpkin but have a lot more to offer in the way of autumn entertainment!

Porter’s Patch
W4314 WI-156, Bonduel, WI 54107
Ph: (715) 758-8162

It’s hard to find a Shawano Country family that hasn’t made at least one trip to Porter’s Patch, whether in the fall to pick a pumpkin or in the spring and summer for asparagus and berries galore.

Porter’s offers décor shopping for the season: colorful mums, tons of squash and gourd varieties, pumpkins (of course) of all shapes and sizes, corn shocks, and golden straw bales.

Activities and games that are fun for the entire family are more than we can list, here, because Porter’s has their games on point.  You can try your hand at Pumpkin Bowling, take a hayride, make your own autumn bouquet to take home, lose yourself in the corn maze, and chose from more than 20 things to do.  Even the smallest child can take part in pumpkin painting or enjoy the petting zoo.  In a year without as much fun as many of us would have liked, give your autumn a burst of color and activity by heading out to Porter’s Patch.

This year, Porter’s Patch will remain open until November 1st, 2020 and they’re open every Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 am – 4:00 pm.  Porter’s Patch has taken efforts to space their outdoor activities farther apart than usual and picking pumpkins in their huge field is about as socially distant as you’re going to get, outside of your own yard.
Grab your mask and go check it out!

Schairer’s Autumn Acres, LLC
194 Western Ave., Birnamwood, WI  54414
Ph: (715) 573-8397

For those of you looking for some seasonal fun on the other side of Shawano County, we recommend Schairer’s Autumn Acres in Birnamwood, Wisconsin.   Schairer’s has a full calendar of special events, including live music, trick-or-treat in their corn maze, and hayride weekends. The kiddos will LOVE the play area!

An event at Schairer’s that caught our eye for its spooky seasonal feels is the Pumpkin Stroll: October 30th and 31st, 2020, from 6 – 9 pm, walk the rustling corn maze and take in over 100 theme-carved pumpkins.  This sounds like REAL Halloween to us.  If you want to feel like an excited kid again and are ready for some nighttime adventure – but don’t want to be scared out of your wits, haunted-house style – this low-key, cheerfully creepy evening stroll is for you.  Bring the kids… or not.  😊  October 17th is the day of the trick-or-treat corn maze, so mark that date for the kiddos.

New for this season is Saturday and Sunday wine tasting, so come and have a sip or three and take in Wisconsin’s golden season.


Schairer’s is open through October 31st, 2020, and has public hours as follows:
Friday: Noon – 7:00 pm
Saturday: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Sunday: 11:00 am – 6:00 pm
Monday – Thursday: By appointment only

We would be remiss in sending you to a pumpkin patch if we didn’t share our favorite recipe for roasting pumpkin seeds , because making a batch or two of toasty, salty pumpkins seeds are half the fun of carving your pumpkins.  If you’ve never tried this, trust us when we say it’s worth picking out the seeds (or having kids do it!) and setting them aside for this special fall treat.


Note for all venues and activities: You and your family should follow safe masking and social distancing procedures to help Shawano Country lower our Covid-19 rate and to help keep you, yours, and ours safe and healthy.  Please and thank you!

Shawano Country’s Best Spots for Late Summer Outdoor Dining

Wisconsinites have always known how to make the most of the summer months, especially here “up north,” and this year we’re cherishing our time outside even more than usual, which is saying something.  Good news for everyone who wants to savor a bit more Wisconsin summer: Shawano Country has a TON of outdoor dining – with proper social distancing in place – that you can still take advantage of our gorgeous late summer warmth before winter creeps in.  …and if you prefer not to dine in the open air, there is both indoor seating and carry-out offered at the majority of our listed locations.  We’ve also included phone numbers so you can call and get that order in if you’re looking to carry out!

Here’s who made the Shawano Country Outdoor Dining List:

Bamboo Bar 
Lakefront seating on Shawano Lake’s South Shore.  Serving pizzas made in-house, burgers, and loads of other bar menu favorites…and you can enjoy your meal (and your cocktails) on tables that are as close to Shawano Lake as you can get without eating in your boat.  Speaking of boats, Bamboo has a dock and a boat launch, so park your boat and grab a burger!
W5884 Cedar Ct.
Shawano, WI  54166
(715) 201-1158

Big City Gyros
Shawano’s only gyro joint!  Offering traditional lamb gyros, gyro burgers and salads, falafel, Italian beef sandwiches, and more – plus a full list of sides.   This newer addition to downtown Shawano has a handful of café tables outdoors, so get there early!
230 E. Green Bay St.
Shawano, WI  54166
(715) 201-1141

Brothers’ Pub  
Enjoy their terrific food outside in their expanded outdoor seating area under a large tent, all just across the road from beautiful Shawano Lake.  With menu options like their big, beefy Steakhouse Wrap, Guinness cod sandwich, and seriously amazing fish tacos, plus appetizers like hand-rolled, homemade Mozzarella sticks, this lakeside spot has something for everyone on their sizeable menu.
N5867 County Rd HHH
Shawano, WI  54166
(715) 524-5212

Crab ‘n Jack’s  
Wisconsin supper club overlooking the scenic Wolf River at Gilmore’s Mistake rapids
which is also worth checking out videos of, on YouTube, if you’re into kayaking.  Here you’ll find dandy Old Fashioneds, in true Wisconsin style, and a variety of menu options ranging from French Dip sandwiches (we hear they’re awesome) to meal-sized salads, hearty steaks, and pan-fried walleye.
N2580 WI-55
White Lake, WI  54491
(715) 882-8611

With an always-craveable custard Flavor of the Day (you can even order PINTS via drive-through) and their North Atlantic Cod sandwiches – not to mention their perfect ButterBurgers, super-satisfying crinkle-cut fries, and those Lemon Ice Coolers – this Wisconsin fast casual staple has outdoor seating, so you can stop and get yourself a treat to enjoy in the open air.
1220 E. Green Bay St.
Shawano, WI  54166
(715) 526-2002

Glas Coffeehouse  
Enjoy your favorite caffeinated beverage crafted by cheerful baristas, have a tasty pastry, or savor a meal on the patio, with a view of the Wolf River.  You’ll be looking out at a charming view of Sunset Island but what all locals know, affectionately, as “Monkey Island”.  A dock is also available for watercrafts, so if you’re out on the lake or the Wolf River above Shawano dam and you want a skillfully-made latte, you can stop in by boat!
511 N. Main St.
Shawano, WI  54166
(715) 851-4527

The Golden Cone 
This local custard shop has expanded their outdoor seating and is ready for you to come and try one of their Custom Cookie Custard Sandwiches (say that three times, fast).  We like ours made with chocolate chip cookies, stuffed with Peanut Butter Paradise custard, and then rolled in Nut Crunch, but trust us, if that’s not your thing, you’ve got LOADS of options!  They’ve got shaved ice, smoothies, sundaes, and tons of other sweet, frozen choices.  Located next door to Papa Murphy’s.
1063 E. Green Bay St.
Shawano, WI  54166
(715) 851-6919

Hungry Bear Family Café & Catering  
Dine on the patio in the heart of downtown Bonduel, a small village just s a few minutes east of Shawano.  This place has EVERYTHING.  If you can think of your diner favorite, it’s on their menu.  Want biscuits & gravy?  Yep.  Loaded nachos?  Got it.  Pancakes?  OF course.  Breakfast skillets galore?  Check.  Rueben burgers?  Absolutely. Grilled tuna sandwiches?  Why not.  Perfect for family dining, because literally everyone will find something that they love at Bonduel’s Hungry Bear.
120 W. Green Bay St.
Bonduel, WI  54107
(715) 758-2727

The Launching Pad
Go visit local favorite bartender/owner Chad Kary, and his terrific bar staff at Shawano’s “border bar” between town and the lake.  They’ll mix you a perfect drink or pour you a brew from the tap.  The kitchen will prepare your burger perfectly (our pick is a Bacon Cheddar Cheese Burger with the works) and you’ll want to pair it with any side that gives you an excuse to dip into their homemade Ranch dressing (order extra Ranch), which the author believes to be the finest ranch dressing in the state of Wisconsin, which is saying something.  Yes, they have outdoor seating and an outdoor bar, plus weeknight menu specials that locals adore.
221 Airport Rd.
Shawano, WI  54166
(715) 524-4098

The Lighthouse
A local lake favorite, this bar is as inland-nautical as Shawano gets.  They’ve got nice slips for you to park your boat and one of the area’s best outdoor dining areas for watching the water – and the people.  Stop here to enjoy the lively atmosphere of this bar and grill’s outdoor patio seating on the Wolf River Channel, just off Shawano Lake’s southwest corner.   Hit them up for Friday Fish Fry, too!
Gumaer Rd. (at the end)
Shawano, WI 54166
(715) 526-5600

Luigi’s Pizza & Pasta 
Pizza on the piazza?  Luigi’s fits the bill… join the Badalamente family and their friendly staff for pizza, pasta, and amazing desserts (we promise) on the piazza/patio.  If you were to ask any given Shawano-ite where they want to order from tonight, they will likely tell you, “Luigi’s”.  Anything you order, here, will make you happy.  The pizza is shockingly good, the desserts are homemade, the pasta is rich and filling (Killer Meat Sauce Alert), the specials are creative and well-prepared, and the cheese steak sandwiches are the real deal.  Oh, and if you love wings, theirs will NOT disappoint.
607 S. Main St.
Shawano, WI  54166
(715) 524-4791

Maple Hills Golf Course & Restaurant 
Wittenberg’s 9-hole 36 par golf course is a slice of rural beauty, with scenic bridges and views of the area’s rolling landscape.  Dining is available each day from 4:00 pm – 9:00 pm and features specials like Saturday’s Prime Rib & Steak Night, Thursday Night Wings, and, of course, a Friday Night Fish Fry.
N6621 Cardinal Ln.
Wittenberg, WI  54499
(715) 253-2448

Pigeon River Brewing Co.
Located in Marion, Wisconsin, about 30 minutes to the southwest of Shawano, this small-town brewery was awarded “Fastest Growing Small Craft Brewery” by the Brewers Association in 2019.  Owned by Nathan Knaack, who hails from the area, this brewery has beer you must try (Wet Willy Oatmeal Stout, Buxom Lass Scottish Ale) and a solid menu.  Think shrimp tacos, whiskey BBQ chicken wraps, and fried Dupont cheese curds (Dupont Cheese is practically right next door, so you KNOW they’re ultra-fresh).
1103 N Main St.
Marion, WI 54950
(715) 256-7721

Shawano’s Café 
A newer Shawano dining spot, Shawano’s Café currently offers outdoor seating in addition to traditional indoor seating and they’re just (and when we say “just”, we mean literally 1-2 minutes) outside of Shawano, south on Highway 22, right next to Boarders. Check them out for daily specials, which they have a great variety of, killer pancakes, chicken stirfry, glorious French toast, and classic Sunday baked chicken, plus a looooooong list of other menu items.
W7389 River Bend Rd.
Shawano, WI 54166
(715) 201-1122

Stubborn Brothers Brewery
Two brothers.  A meticulously restored 1900’s vaudeville theater.  A labor of love.  A lot of great beer coming your way.  In an era when we sometimes choose to cast the old away rather than care for it, Stubborn Brothers Aaron and Erik Gilling took time to burnish, paint, reveal, and restore this treasure of a building… and then they created fantastic signature brews and a menu with enough comfort foods to make any rural Wisconsinite smile (Beer Mac and Cheese! Soft Pub Pretzels!) and enough innovative dishes to keep any visiting urbanites entertained (Vegan Kohlrabi Salad, Brie-Tomato-Bacon-Basil Croissants).  This theater-turned-brewery is fast becoming downtown Shawano’s structural heart.
220 S. Main St.
Shawano, WI  54166
(715) 201-0859

The Sugar Bowl 
Know what Shawano loves, besides Sun Drop soda?  Ice cream.  Lots and lots of ice cream.   The Sugar Bowl has ice cream, beer, wine, snacks, AND Sun Drop, so what’s not to like?  Housed in what was once a bowling alley, this Main Street spot has loads of vintage character and several cute, colorful outdoor tables to the south of the building, just ready to sit at and enjoy watching downtown Shawano stroll by… and have a big bowl of Cookies & Cream ice cream, or whatever flavor is calling to you!
136 S. Main St.
Shawano, WI  54166
(715) 201-1116

The Thunderbird Club  
A restaurant, mini-casino, and convenience store, The Thunderbird Club is located on Berry Lake and has daily dining specials like Sunday’s Cajun chicken sandwich with fries, Saturday’s brats and burgers, and Tuesday’s steak sandwiches.  Hang out on the patio and order up that Friday Night Fish Fry!
W106 County VV
Keshena, WI  54135
(715) 799-6541

The Torch Lite (Anello’s Torch Lite) 
A Shawano dining tradition with everything you expect from a classic Wisconsin supper club, albeit one that’s listed as an Italian restaurant.  If you’re not from around here, know that supper clubs showcase the soul of Wisconsin dining and that means there will be:

  • Charming waitstaff
  • Perfectly-executed Old Fashioneds
  • A supper club-style salad bar, with important items like cold green peas, hard-boiled eggs, cottage cheese, and hot bacon dressing.  Oh, and those tiny fried toasts with cheese spread, because you cannot have a proper supper club salad bar without these items.  😊
  • Masterfully-cooked prime rib in a variety of weights to choose from… served with au jus, of course
  • Unforgettable twice-baked potatoes
  • Scallops in beurre blanc that will make you wish you placed a double order
  • Another round of Old Fashioneds

Several years back, the original building burned to the ground.  The owners could have just called it quits, but they chose to rise from the ashes and built a brand-new Torch Lite.  Visit and bask in true “Midwestern nice” supper club hospitality…a Shawano tradition.
1276 E. Green Bay St.
Shawano, WI  54166
(715) 526-5680