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Bay City Wisconsin Day Trip

The Chef Shack opened in November 2012. Owners bill the restaurant as a heritage restaurant, calling the style of cooking used as "ranch rustic country French." This summer, the chefs hope to have wood-fired pizzas on their patio.

Local food, local beer and great ice cream highlight a trip to Bay City

Within the past six months, the dining options in Bay City, Wis., have improved dramatically thanks in large part to the addition of one very unique restaurant.

The Chef Shack opened its doors in late 2012 and then reopened for the 2013 season in March, and so far it is drawing rave reviews.

The new restaurant isn't the only attraction in the little town of Bay City. The cutest ice cream shop you'll find, Flat Pennies, is there and is a small-town bar, Mike's Bay Town Bar and Grill. It features broasted chicken, so it's hard to go wrong there anytime.

The Chef Shack, though, is really making a name for itself in short order.

For owners Lisa Carlson and Carrie Summer, the concept began in a food truck, and it has grown all the way to Bay City.

The food truck has drawn high praise, including a spot in U.S. News and World Report among the nation's most creative food trucks for its bacon beer brats, its watermelon gazpacho and Indian-spiced mini donuts.

The truck was even named one of the Twin Cities' best restaurants in 2011 by Minneapolis St. Paul Magazine.

In Bay City for Sunday brunch recently, the menu featured primarily local fare, a theme one can expect from the Chef Shack.

A real hit with diners is the Man Hash, a deep plate with organic potatoes, vegetables, organic scrambled eggs and a generous portion of fork-tender pulled pork. The pork is local, having come from Ellsworth, Wis., Summer explained.

French toast with one of those bacon brats and real maple syrup was also a hit.

As their first season hits the peak this summer, the two plan to utilize the brick oven on the patio in back to cook pizzas, and those will go along well with the local beers and wines on tap.

Among the beers are some kegged by Dave's BrewFarm in Wilson, Wis., a unique wind-powered brewery.


So it's time for dessert and you're in the mood for ice cream -- Flat Pennies is your spot. You won't miss it on your way into Bay City. It's adjacent to a railroad caboose with the word FOOD on the side of it.

The caboose is a hit with kids, as they are allowed to hop in and look around.

But back to the ice cream: inside the cozy business, you'll find plenty of options from shakes and malts to some really fun peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Provided you are with a group, you may want to look into trying a selection on the menu called Jungle Love. It is three waffle bowls full of ice cream, chocolate sauce, strawberry topping, caramel topping, whipped cream and cherries. It serves 10 people and costs a cool $39.99.

If there are fewer in your party, then a Flat Cow is recommended. It is a sundae with vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce, caramel, cow sprinkles and whipped cream.