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Fine dining isn’t just a nice meal – it’s an experience. It’s an opportunity to be pampered, dress to the nines and eat amazing food in an elegant atmosphere. Door County has a vibrant culinary scene with a wide range of options, including upscale dining, that rival restaurants found in many larger cities.
“It’s the small details that add up, that’s why we call it “thoughtful food,” says Kendall Johnson, daughter of JJ and Kris Johnson, who own Waterfront Restaurant as well as JJ’s and La Puerta in Sister Bay. “It’s worth it to us and our goal is to make our guests feel like it’s worth it to them.”
Kendall, who grew up in Sister Bay, has over ten years of experience in the wine and food world doing Public Relations, Marketing and Special Events. She has worked in San Francisco, Argentina and has recently moved back to Door County to work with her parents at the Waterfront Restaurant.
Dining at Waterfront:
JJ and Kris Johnson opened Waterfront restaurant after their son Jesse graduated from culinary school and came back to Door County with the creativity and vision to prepare food very different from their family’s other casual restaurant. As the name suggests, Waterfront offers tourists and locals a night out surrounded by Door County’s most famous asset: the miles and miles of shoreline and nightly sunsets. The restaurant wanted to create a dining experience that was the whole package for diners. “We offer a beautiful setting, professional yet personable staff, world-class food, a diverse wine-list, and most importantly making every guest feel special when they’re here,” says Ms. Johnson. It’s a perfect location for any special celebration.
What ‘Upscale’ Means in Door County”:
There are a large variety of culinary options within the Door County communities. Fine dining adds to the diversity, much like the people in the county. Door County’s culinary puzzle has pieces that appeal to all its’ visitors. Fine dining often appeals to city-dwelling tourists or anyone who wants a special night out. Fine dining in Door County offers a retreat from fast food culture and provides a setting for great conversation, relaxation and world-class food.
Evolution of Fine Dining:
Upscale dining has changed and adapted quite a bit in recent years. What many once thought of as a prim and straight-laced experience has become more welcoming and accepted by the general masses. According to Kendall Johnson, there has been a better job of “proving that fine dining is not just about linens, glassware and a stuffy attitude, but rather about offering superior food products.”
It’s now widely recognized that grass fed meats, wild-caught fish, fresh herbs, local cheeses and vegetables and food without additives all taste and cook better. These products come at a cost, but guests at upscale restaurants often feel this is worth the larger price tag. These superior foods and the passionate details put into each specific dish are the reasons why fine dining is such a special treat.
Visitors should treat themselves to a meal in one of Door County’s upscale restaurants because everyone deserves to be pampered and eat thoughtful, delicious food. Door County wants to erase the stigma that fine dining is unapproachable so no matter what your background or style is, it’s a great experience to try for a night – especially if it’s a special occasion like an anniversary, birthday or night out with friends. Consider fine dining next time you’re looking for a memorable night in Door County that you can’t replicate at home – that’s why we all go out, right?
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