Long-Standing Diners Along The Great River Road
The Wisconsin Great River Road offers historical experiences all along the Mississippi River, including historical places to stop in for a bite to eat. There are a number of diners, restaurants, bars, and other establishments that have stood the test of time along the river road and become staple destinations within their communities. Of these places, long-standing diners seem to bring the most charm and enjoyment to river road travelers, many of which have been operating and serving their communities for over 80 years or more.
Pete’s Hamburger Stand
Owned and operated by the original family, Pete’s Hamburger Stand in Prairie Du Chien has been serving delicious hamburgers since 1909 still using the original recipe by founder Pete Gokey. With 102 years of experience, Pete’s is one of the oldest diners on the Wisconsin Great River Road and a great place to stop in for food and friendly service. Starting out as an actual hamburger stand serving food on street corners, Pete’s Hamburger Stand has grown over the years into an established, family-centered business operating now out of their permanent location on Blackhawk Avenue in Prairie Du Chien. You can visit the stand Friday through Sunday from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm to try one of Pete’s burgers and learn more about this long-standing gem on the Great River Road.
The Dawg House
Found in Lynxville, Wisconsin, The Dawg House has been serving up Chicago style hot dogs, corn dogs, burgers, tacos, fresh Mississippi Catfish, and more to locals and Wisconsin Great River Road travelers since 2009. This river road diner pairs great food with views of the beautiful Mississippi River and the Upper Mississippi River bluffs. You can enjoy a loaded hot dog, or whatever you choose from the menu, and watch the towboats, eagles, and trains as you eat. The Dawg House also offers Bill’s Fresh Squeezed Lemonade, Ice Cold Fruit Smoothies, and a variety of ice cream cones, shakes, sundaes, and other frozen treats which are perfect for curbing the hot summer weather. You can stop in all summer from April to October on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 11:00 am till 6:00 pm.
Rudy’s Drive-In Restaurant
After serving not one, but two river road communities for 88 years, Rudy’s Drive-In Restaurant is another charming, well-loved Wisconsin Great River Road diner. Rudy’s was founded in 1933 by William Rudy as an A & W Root Beer Stand in Chippewa Falls. Over the years the business changed location several times, but ultimately stayed in the family with son Dale Rudy and grandson Gary Rudy. Today, the diners entice lots of customers with their unique drive-in style parking lot and wait staff that deliver food on roller skates at both their La Crosse and Sparta locations. The whole experience can be a lot like stepping back into the 50s with plenty of delicious food options including burgers, hot dogs, french fries, cheese curds, ice cream and of course their signature root beer and root beer floats.
The Monarch Public House
Perhaps the longest running tavern on the Wisconsin Great River Road, The Monarch Public House has been in business in Fountain City since 1894. The tavern features the original hand-tooled oak back-bar, tables, and chairs and is considered a place for all things Irish, including food, atmosphere and friends. Additionally, a beer garden, two outdoor decks, and a fountain were added in more recent years. The menu offers a variety of traditional Irish foods, burgers, pizza, fish and more, giving you plenty of options, and of course many on-tap beers. You can enjoy the private lofts for a quiet dinner, gather with friends in the main hall, or take advantage of the Mississippi River views from the elevated decks, making it a great stop for any occasion.