Ethnic goodies galore await you in Kenosha

This showed up in my inbox last week and I wanted to share it. Kenosha is one of our family's favorite spots to visit for a short getaway or weekend trip. There a plenty of fun attractions and, of course, Lake Michigan is a huge draw -- but the food, oh, the food...

From a hearty breakfast at Frank's Diner to a juicy burger and shake at The Spot Drive In to some Wisconsin cheese and sausages at The Brat Stop or Mars Cheese Castle to German specialties at House of Gerhard to sweets at the Jelly Belly Center, Kenosha is a foodie's paradise. Then there are great summer events like the Taste of Wisconsin and Bristol Renaissance Fair  and the Kenosha HarborMarket (which actually is runs most of the year and is indoors during the winter) where even more good eats can be found.

But...this piece is on the ethnic cuisine that can be found around Kenosha. I have not yet been to Linnea Bakery, but will have to add it to my list for our next visit. And House of Gerhard remains one of my favorite German eateries that I've ever been to. For us Chicagoans, it is just a hop, skip and a jump away. So, if you are traveling through Kenosha, be sure to make a stop and bring your appetite along!

The World is at Your Fingertips in Kenosha
The Proof is in the Palette

While Kenosha’s strong Italian roots are still very evident, at Tenuta’s Deli among other places, the city’s dining palette showcases a variety of cultures. Located in southeast Wisconsin on the Lake Michigan shore, you’ll think you’re actually in Sweden or Norway when you visit Linnea Bakery in Downtown Kenosha. This Scandinavian Bakery and Nordic Café turns a year old this July.

In honor of their Swedish and Norwegian grandparents, Mark and Kim Rutkowski created an authentically Scandinavian business - a mix of traditional and modern. The bakery serves breakfast and lunch and features Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, Danish and Icelandic breads and pastries, and gourmet soups and sandwiches – all made from scratch. There is also a selection of imported grocery products and one-of-a-kind, handmade gifts from the Nordic countries.

The bakery’s most popular item is also Sweden’s most well-known sweet treat: Kanelbulle. What can be described as a Swedish pretzel-esque cinnamon pastry, this treat is made every day. Sweet cardamomdough is used with a cinnamon filling, and then it’s twisted. The word translates to cinnamon bun. Among the other popular items: braided cardamombread, Swedish Limpa Rye bread, and cardamom coffee. The coffee is regular black Swedish dark roast, roasted in Milwaukee. It’s brewed at the bakery with cardamom (a powder/spice). There is nothing fried on the menu.

Kim recently returned from an educational/purchasing trip to Sweden. Among her stops: a visit to the Tea Centre of Stockholm in Södermalm where the bakery gets its Söderblandning tea. Recipes were gathered, and in Stockholm, ingredients were purchased, including cloudberry. Up in the Arctic, handmade crafts were acquired at an annual market in a small village, where Laplanders (the Sami people) gather to sell the goods they’ve been making all year. Birch mugs, antler keychains, and wool tomtes (similar to gnomes) were among the treasures she returned with.
Visit to read more about Linnea Bakery, including the owners’ future goals, the Scandinavian holidays celebrated at the bakery, and the meaning behind its name. Linnea Bakery is located at 512 56th Street. For more information: (262) 484-4203.
Soon’s Sushi Café serves authentic Sushi, Korean and Japanese cuisine. It’s owned by Soon and her husband Robert Noel, after Soon operated her own restaurant on an island off of Korea for about 17 years. A family friendly place, it’s recommended that sushi first-timers start with a California Roll, or an AAC (Asparagus, Avocado & Cucumber) Roll.

Authentic Mexican food traditionally has been thought of as hot and spicy, however Tacos el Rey is determined to change that fallacy. The restaurant’s family recipes are subtly spiced. The food is prepared fresh daily with no preservatives, from the flour tortillas right down to the refried beans and guacamole.

Gerhard Dillner came to the United States from his native Germany and with his wife Ruth opened House of Gerhard in Kenosha in 1964. To this day, the family continues to serve outstanding authentic German cuisine and American favorites. ‘If it's a taste of Deutschland you seek, you needn't fly to Bavaria.

Kenosha certainly has its top-notch Italian restaurants! At Casa Capri, the Stella Family has maintained its reputation for fine Italian-American dining and personalized service for 60 years. The menu’s original recipes date back to the early 1900’s of Northern Italy. In all, the whole of Italy is covered, along with excellent steaks and seafood. The restaurant’s signature pasta dish is the baked stuffed rigatoni.

25 years ago this April, Mangia Trattoria opened its doors in Kenosha. The date was April 26, 1988, to be exact. Four-star chef Tony Mantuano and his sister Susan Mantuano-Tishuk own the restaurant, which is filled with hearty Italian aromas and a warm, inviting atmosphere. Cooking classes are offered at various times during the year. The internationally known chef owns many other restaurants, including Spiaggia in Chicago.

For more on these restaurants:

Let’s not forget Kenosha HarborMarket ( This weekly bustling European-style mixed market returns outdoors to Kenosha’s lakefront May 18 (Winter HarborMarket is inside Rhode Center for the Arts until then). With findings of African tiger melons, baklavaGreek ‘pizza’, and fresh, homemade ricotta, the market was referred to as the “United Nations of food” on The Working Mom’s Travels blog.

For more information about things to see and do in the Kenosha Area, or for a 2013 Kenosha Area Visitors Guide, log on to or call the KenoshaArea Convention & Visitors Bureau at (262) 654-7307 or (800) 654-7309. The Visitors Guide is also available by visiting a Kenosha Area Visitor Information Center: located at I-94 & Hwy. 165 and at 812 - 56th St. in Downtown Kenosha. Follow us on Twitter and “Like” us on Facebook to receive updates about events, specials, and more.