Food for Thought: Three New Menus
Menu change ups at three local favorites
As the global health crisis continues to evolve and impact businesses, please be aware that menus and hours may change. Check in with each establishment for their current offerings.
SAP Brunch, Brown Bag & Bakery, Appleton
Breakfast big-hitter SAP Brunch, Brown Bag & Bakery in Appleton changes its menu several times a year, when staple items like breakfast benedicts, sammies and snacks get the seasonal treatment to showcase the freshest ingredients. The most recent menu update in February debuted entrees like panko crusted crab cakes with sweet corn and peppadew coulis and a ginger-mushroom broth ramen made with RP Pasta noodles (the same pasta used at sister restaurant Carmella’s located next door). And short rib fans, rejoice. The menu now features short ribs two ways – as a taco trio and a benedict with creamy caramelized onion hollandaise. Looking for something lighter, yet super satisfying? Check out the new green goddess salad with pickled beets and chive yogurt or the baby kale salad topped with roasted squash, pomegranates and a cherry maple vinaigrette.
The upscale diner-style restaurant sources grass fed lamb from Boulder Creek Farm in Tigerton and keeps a fully-stocked freezer at SAP so their lamb and beef can be sold directly to guests. “All lamb and beef in the freezer is grass fed, local and humanely raised using practices that honor the animal and their well being,” says Nicole DeFranza, who owns both SAP and Carmella’s with her sister, Kristen. Both restaurants closed due to COVID-19, but will be resuming operations on May 5. A limited menu of both SAP and Carmella’s favorites will be offered for curbside pickup at Carmella’s. For the latest menu updates, visit SAP or Carmella’s on Facebook or Instagram.
Wilder’s Bistro and Wilder’s Lounge & Tapas, Appleton
Wilder’s Bistro and Wilder’s Lounge & Tapas share a ceiling, but they are two distinct restaurants. The bistro opened in December 2017. A year later, the lounge opened to offer guests a nighttime hang out with a focus on small plates, craft drinks and live music. Both restaurants have seen menu updates over the last year. On the bistro side, chef and owner Terrance Wilder says he added a “comfort food classics” section (a.k.a. soul food) to the menu. Wilder first ran the new menu items as a special last February in honor of Black History Month, but the response was so strong that he added them to the regular lineup. New items include garlic Cajun shrimp and savory grits, a catfish po’ boy served on a grilled French Creole roll and Wilder’s award-winning chicken and waffle wings topped with Mississippi maple glaze. The bistro also offers a Friday seafood menu and “Saturday Steakhouse” specials.
The lounge and tapas menu also got an update last year. “After the first year, we decided to revamp the menu and make it more about shareables,” Wilder says. Playing off the lounge’s popular drink flights, Wilder added three food flights. The Southern sliders flight offers a variety of small sandwiches including pulled pork, andouille sausage, chicken and smoked prime rib. Flights of signature dips and bruschetta were also added. Wilder’s outdoor patio was expanded last year and a privacy wall was added to eliminate noise from the nearby highway. The patio now offers seating for 100 people. Wilder’s is currently open 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. for curbside pickup and delivery through EatStreet, Food Dudes and Grubhub.
The Maple Pub, Oshkosh
Everyone knows that the Menominee Nation Arena is the place to be for Wisconsin Herd games and events, but you might not realize it’s also the destination for some top-shelf dining. The Maple Pub, by the arena’s Verve entrance, recently debuted a new menu inspired by the area’s history. The menu features elevated pub-style fare including appetizers, sandwiches and wraps, salads and desserts as well as healthy options, including plant-based and vegan entrees. The arena’s head of food and beverage JD Gildemiester says the revamped menu launched in February and highlights unique aspects of the region and arena. “The pub needed an identity,” he says. “We’ve taken it in a new direction and now it showcases Oshkosh’s roots. The name influences some of the menu items.”
Local maple syrup and Wisconsin wild rice are key ingredients in many of the menu items. For example, the popular salmon cakes are prepared like crab cakes using local salmon, wild rice and maple syrup for sweetness and the seasonal salad is tossed a maple mustard vinaigrette. Outdoor seating is available in the warmer months. During the winter farmers market on Saturdays, a plated brunch is served with classics like pancakes, bacon and eggs. The Friday fish fry, featuring beer batter made using Fifth Ward Brewing Co. beer, is offered every week, even on event nights. While Menominee Nation Arena is currently closed, concession stand partners are still offering curbside pick up.
Get more dining scene updates in Food for Thought, available May 1.
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