Fish Fry Review: Spirits, Waupun, WI


As mentioned in my previous entry, my aunt, uncle, and cousin were in town to attend the fundraiser, and while I had a bit of an opportunity to chat with them, I didn't get to spend as much quality time as I would've like to have. So, I contacted them to inquire about a fish fry... and they obliged.

After perusing the long list of recommended places to try, we settled on Spirits. Spirits is located a bit out of the way - it's in Waupun, Wisconsin, which is about an hour and 20 minutes north of Madison. That's a bit of a hike when it comes to a fish fry, but ultimately it was worth the drive.

Spirits is located on Highway 26, on the far east side of Waupun. According to my aunt, it's been there forever, although not in its current version. For the longest time, it was strictly a blue collar bar; it sits directly across from a large manufacturing plant (that was at one time the Carnation plant). She said it used to be quite small - seating maybe 10-12 people, and served burgers.

The place recently underwent an expansion and a refresh, and the results are quite nice. The inside features high ceilings, plenty of seating, a nice bar area, and a bunch of crisp flat panel televisions.

We settled-in at a 6-top table in the bar and after a rather lengthy wait, were greeted by a waitress who took our drink orders. The tap selection is somewhat limited; no New Glarus brews available on tap... I went with a Capital Fest, for $3.00. Not a bad deal.

After receiving our beverages, we ordered some appetizers - cheese curds and "chippers," which were homemade, thick cut chips. They both arrived after a short wait - the curds were the typical brown bag variety, but featured white cheese and a light breading.


The chips were a bit greasy, which made them slightly chewy, but in a good way. I cringed a bit with each bite, knowing that my arteries were absorbing a fair amount of oil, but oh well...

Following on the heels of our appetizers was a bread basket that featured non-homemade rolls (they looked like the kind that come in a thin white cardboard 'box' with a bag over them from the grocery store), and cinnamon butter. The butter was very interesting...


Orders for fish were placed - I went with the "poorman's lobster," which is essentially baked haddock; my cousin went with the 2-piece cod, and my cousin's husband went with the 6-piece lake perch dinner. My aunt followed my suit and chose the baked haddock as well.

We had a bit of a wait for our fish, which was fine - it gave us plenty of opportunity to chat and to catch-up. When the fish did arrive, it looked fantastic. Here's my poorman's lobster:


Despite the appearance of a heavy seasoning, the fish was actually flavored quite well. It wasn't overly "dilly" or overly "paprika'd" - the fish was firm, flaky, moist, and delicious. There wasn't any butter or grease to be detected, and the filet itself was quite large. Easily worth the $11.95 price tag.

I sampled the fried varieties of fish, starting with my cousin's deep fried cod, as seen here:


The batter was "just right" - a nice texture, not too heavy, lightly salted and peppered, and it clung well to the cod. The fish was also quite tasty, and unlike the chippers, didn't suffer from any excess grease. Very solid cod.

My cousin's husband ordered the lake perch plate, which featured six large perch fillets, each dipped into a slightly crunchy breading. The breading didn't have the same seasoning as the cod, but it was still quite excellent. It also came with a MOUND of french fries:


The perch was delicious, even if it did have just a tiny bit of greasiness - but I suspect that's normal for perch. And, as much as I enjoy my cod and haddock, there's just something about lake perch... slightly chewy, very "meaty," and it has just enough of that seafood flavor to remind you that you're actually eating fish. Note to self: always go with perch from now on.

We enjoyed a leisurely dinner pace - we wrapped-up at around 9:00pm or so. Our waitress was largely absent, which was a bit surprising, as the place wasn't terribly busy. The check arrived and our dinner for four, with appetizers and drinks came to $70. Not too bad, but maybe just a touch steep.

Spirits = WIN

Food = 3.5 stars
Service = 2.25 stars
Value = 3 stars
MISC = 3 stars

Summary: Nothing extraordinary, but nonetheless quite solid. If you find yourself up near Fond du Lac, Waupun, Juneau, or any of those areas, consider stopping-in to Spirits. While it wasn't a top-10 contender, it didn't disappoint. I'd list Spirits as a very reliable and recommended option.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Steve published on August 30, 2011 11:28 AM.

A great cause, great support, and truly great friends was the previous entry in this blog.

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