Posted on June 30, 2024 by Grace Olson

The iconic lighthouse, expansive beach and boardwalk, and water recreation might draw you into the city of Algoma, but it’s the strong welcoming demeanor of its people that will make you want to return time and time again.

“People are going to say hello, they’re going to ask you questions. We’re very accommodating,” Rosemary Paladini, Executive Director of the Algoma Area Chamber of Commerce, says. “The warmth of Algoma comes through. When you visit, you leave with happy memories.”

“Friendly Algoma” isn’t just a tagline, it’s clearly a way of life for the city of 3,200 in Kewaunee County.

“(We are) very friendly and outgoing. We’re always willing to look at new ideas,” Matt Murphy, City of Algoma Administrator/Director of Public Works, says. “Five or ten years ago, you probably would have been told that this is just a fishing community. Everybody comes here for fishing, but we’ve spread our wings to so much more here in Algoma.”

Still, water recreation is at the heart of Algoma: charter fishing, boating, kayaking and spending days at the beach; but now the city can add a new venture to their list of pride points.

“We’ve stumbled upon cruise ships. People from all over the world are coming into little Algoma. It’s a very neat experience,” Murphy says. “We’ve seen now that those people come back… we’ve left an impression on people who are coming from Florida, Texas, overseas. We must be doing something right.”

With Lake Michigan, the Ahnapee State Trail, Ice Age Trail at your doorstep, Algoma’s outdoor recreation is bolstered by its cool atmosphere—literally.

“We are so fortunate to have our beach,” Murphy says. “It’s right in our downtown and it’s a landmark. When it’s 90 degrees in Green Bay and the Fox Valley, people flock here to cool down.”

“We always hear ‘We want to live here!’ and it happens way more than you think,” Robyn Harper, Social Media Coordinator/Webmaster of the Algoma Area Chamber of Commerce, adds. “People feel comfortable here. It’s a nice balance of being able to relax and have activities… concerts and dancing… walking, biking… And we now have an entertainment district… it’s kind of a triangle of space where you can walk around with an open container of alcohol with special plastic cups. People can stroll and check things out.”

And there’s an impressive amount to see in a quaint area. Algoma boasts a creative dining scene, has entertainment options and an impressive art presence (the community has 17 murals!).

“The minute you come down Highway 54 and you see that water and you see the beach and the lighthouse, the view alone is worth the drive,” Paladini says. “This lake changes every day. It can be as flat as glass and blue one day and then the color changes, the emotion of the lake changes. It’s a beautiful view that you never get tired of.”

“Enjoy the ride up the lakeshore, the scenery… (Algoma) is the door to Door County,” Murphy agrees. “There’s always something to do. That’s the biggest surprise for people. If you visited ten years ago and you haven’t been back, we invite you to come back and see what it’s become.”


With a little something for everyone, Algoma’s food scene varies from casual and health conscious to elevated and indulgent. From morning to night and even the wee hours of the a.m., check out these local food and drink haunts.

Breakfast + Brunch

When it comes to beginning your day or weekend away, start with fresh, healthy options at Blue Yorkie Juicery, also known as being a friendly hangout for locals and visitors.

“(We) specialize in cold pressed juices, made from scratch, gluten free/vegan bakery and artisan salads, handcrafted smoothies and bowls, and even treats for our four-legged friends,” Owner Ginger Mills says. “Popular items include the Algoma Sunrise, cold pressed juice made of organic apple, orange, pear, lemon and ginger.” 

Fun fact: The Juicery was named after Mills’ Yorkshire terrier, Sprocket, and sales of all homemade dog treats and tote backs are donated to animal rescue each month.

If espresso or tea is more your style, look no further than Caffe Tlazo, directly across from the lake. The eatery is also known for their specialty sandwiches, wraps, soups and outdoor seating with an enclosed porch and picnic tables in the back.

Have a sweet tooth? Northwater Bakery can fix it with their selection of fresh baked goods: donuts, muffins and more.

Captains Galley Room is a part of it and right next to the bakery. It’s a perfect big breakfast before you go out on the water,” Paladini says.


Family friendly, cozy and a hometown hangout, Millie’s Pub & Grub is a “meet your neighbor kind of place” according to co-owner Megan Lautenbach.

Known for their Friday Fish Fry and signature dishes like the Hammer Wrap, thinly sliced beef, onions, peppers, tomatoes, cheese and their own Hammer sauce; and massive Hall of Fame Burger.

“Try the Hall of Fame Burger,” Lautenbach urges. “(It’s) two of our cheeseburgers with shredded lettuce, diced onions and pickles, topped with bacon, our own Hammer sauce and served on Texas Toast. A full half pound of potatoes is served with this burger. Our Smoked Salmon Salad is served with smoked salmon right from a local fish house, and we make all of our delicious pizzas right here! Be sure to try our homemade soup of the day, or Mom’s Chili is always an easy choice.”

Fun fact: Millie’s Pub and Grub is named for daughter, Amelia.

Off the Hook Bar-n-Grill recently won first prize for the Cajun Cod Chowder, and you can’t go wrong with their location on the Ahnapee River and outside seating on the dock.

Fun and family-friendly, complete with outdoor sake and beautiful lake view dining is Red’s Pub & Grill.

Under new ownership since September of 2023, the menu has remained the same and offers popular lunch and dinner items like Ahi Tuna and Grilled Salmon Sandwiches along with Friday Fish Specials and Saturday Prime Rib dinners.

“The Salmon Sandwich is char-grilled with homemade lemon and garlic aioli on a telera roll, while the Ahi Tuna Sandwich is grilled rare with homemade cilantro lime sauce on a telera roll,” Owner Jessica Aldama says. “Red’s Pub & Grill holds a special place in the hearts of many locals here in Algoma… it has been a go-to spot for birthdays and celebrations with loved ones… I am truly grateful for the supportive community and my family who have helped me achieve a dream I never thought possible.”

Look to Dairy Dean’s Family Restaurant for classic lunch (and breakfast) options and big portions, plus stay tuned for an ice cream window, perfect for its proximity to the beach.

Happy Hour

After a long day of exploring, hit up Happy Hour at Ahnapee Brewery. Open since 2013, 

Lindsey Brehmer, Taproom Operations Manager, says the history and great beer make it a no-brainer.

“Originally founded in 1868 Ahnapee Brewery was located in Ahnapee, which is now named Algoma,” she says. “Known for their Ahnapee Lager, they produced beer for the local area until 1886 and in 2013 Ahnapee Brewery was re-imagined and reopened in a two-stall-garage-turned-taproom two doors down from the original brewery location.”

Most popular brews include Little Soldier, an American Amber Ale and Two Stall, a Chocolate Milk Stout. Keep an eye out for their special release brews.

If wine is more your speed, you won’t have to travel—in fact, walk—far. Nearby Von Stiehl Winery’s reputation as the oldest licensed winery in Wisconsin precedes itself.

“Our historic tasting facility dates back to the 1860s, and features limestone tunnels perfect for aging our dry red wines made from grapes sourced from top regions in California and Washington State,” Anthony Bilwin, General Manager, explains.

“Our state of the art production facility features the only Isobaric bottling line in Wisconsin and allows us to continue to evolve and raise the bar for quality year over year within Wisconsin wine, ciders, and spirits. The Cider Bar is our tap room and showcases all of our hard ciders as well as a few taste test batches, and craft cocktails featuring our line spirits.”

Von Stiehl’s Sweet Cherry Wine, Cherry Bounce (a fortified wine blend of Cherry Brandy and Sweet Cherry Wine) and Riesling and Blueberry Moscato are among the most popular.

Colorful, eclectic and unique, visitors to Algoma can’t miss Smashed on the Rocks, and you won’t want to.

“Imagine a unique and eclectic saloon nestled in the heart of Sunrise Cove Marina on the dreamy shores of Lake Michigan,” Owner Rana Ninneman describes. “Picture yourself on our patio, entertained by live music, sipping on exotic cocktails from our tiki bar, all with a front row view of boats navigating in and out of the harbor. It is the essence of summer bliss.”

Their Famous Bloody Marys have been voted best in the state three years running, clinching the title because of their homemade mix, variety of toppings and the essential beer chaser.

Fun fact: (We are) proudly female-owned and operated by three generations,” Ninneman says. “Myself, my mom, and the legendary Grandma Smashed! Whether you come by land or sea you’ll find a collection of nautical and tropical décor from around the globe adding unusuality and charm to our establishment.”


When Homestead Kitchen & Tap promotes themselves as “farm to table,” they mean it. Not only in looks (the restaurant resembles a red round barn), but also in history.

“Our story starts down the road at our dairy/beef farm, Ebert Enterprises, where we are a seventh generation farm,” Owner Renee Ebert says. “We are so thankful for the generations before us and for our valued employees that help us 365 days a year.”

The restaurant has a full dinner menu Thursday through Saturday and also offers Sunday brunch. Favorites include Ebert Grown Burgers, Homemade Pizzas with Salmon’s meat products and local cheese, Steaks and Fish Frys.

New on the scene at a little over a year old, Three Eleven Bar & Bistro brings European inspiration to Algoma both in charming looks and taste.

They’re known for their Lobster Rolls, sweet and savory claw and knuckle lobster with fried capers on a buttery New England Roll, Pan Seared Salmon, Charcuterie Board and their Proper Old Fashioned, muddled with orange, cherry, and sugar, made with Korbel, bitters, and sweet topped with a Luxardo cherry.

Fun fact: “We designed and built the majority of the bistro ourselves, between the owners and a few friends and family members,” Co-owners Matthew, Ivy and Haley relay. “It is located in the shell of a historic 19th century building in the heart of Algoma.”

A self-proclaimed “five star dive bar” Son of Skaliwags provides a unique experience for those who love elevated food in a casual atmosphere. 

Chef Marshall Wiltfang took over for his father in 2022, excited to offer a spin on their great reputation and culture.

“We’ve always been known for our seafood quality, but backing it with great cuts. Our chalkboard and our food options are limited. Besides Old Fashioneds, our number one food items are our Crispy Shrimp, Shrimp and Grits and Blackened Grouper

Fun fact: “The building was purchased by my Gram Gloria in hopes that my father could start a future family run business in our lovely small town.”

Founded in 2020, you can catch Steel Belly BBQ at events and pop ups throughout the year.

Known for their Central Texas style barbecue using prime meat cuts and smoked with 100% oak, Paladini says they also offer surprisingly sophisticated items.

“Their Pear Gorgonzola Balsamic Flatbread is the best!”


It’s not just guests of the city that Algoma citizens are supporting, it’s each other. Collaboration over competition reigns supreme in the city where small businesses hype and back each other up. 

“Everybody kind of helps everybody,” Paladini says. “And we also have a lot of women-owned and women co-owned businesses. More than 50!”
“Most of the shops you go into you’re going to be speaking with the owner,” Harper adds. “There are so many behind-the-scenes stories that draw people in.” 

The Country Cupboard, now open 7 days a week, has a bit of everything in terms of gifts, kitchen gadgets, wine accessories and even favorite pastries and chocolates from Wisconsin.

Co-owners Tina Lawrence and Katie Brandt stock their store with their guests in mind.

“If we don’t have it, we’ll get it for you,” Lawrence says. “Our windows and products are ever changing. People are amazed at the variety we have between our four walls.”

Unique items include their immense variety of greeting cards, cribbage boards, take and bake kringles from Old World Pastries of Suamico and Guth’s chocolate from Waupun.

For fresh produce, Wisconsin cheeses, Bearcat’s Smoked Salmon, Door County coffee, wines and fudge and more, Wineke’s Market is an easy go-to for locals and visitors alike.

“We produce a line of pickles, pie fillings, jams and jellies and homemade bakery,” Owners Sigrid Slaby and Marit Virgin say. “People LOVE our pickles. We strive for great quality products and customer service.”

Fun fact: Wienke’s Market has been around for over 55 years. Now run by founders Don and Jane Wienke’s daughters, Sigrid and Marit, along with Sigrid’s husband and son and many team members considered family.

You can find Wienke’s Market products in many grocery stores and other markets around Wisconsin, Illinois and northern Michigan. 

With the name Havegärd Birdseed, LLC, you may think you know all you can expect when you stop in their Algoma shop, but you’d likely be mistaken.

Focusing on providing fresh, high quality food for birds, the shop prides itself on being innovators in the industry with everything from unique seed mixes, birdfeeders and more. But the store also offers eclectic art from sea glass jewelry and ornaments to bat houses and squirrel toys.

Housed in a Queen Ann style building with a turret is Steele Street Trading Co., known for their traditional and nontraditional floral expressions and art gallery representing local artists.

Fun fact: “After the first of May, ‘the Boyz’ come out to welcome everyone to our space. They are two life size pirates that are on the sidewalk and have been a part of many candid photos.

“I recently had another mural painted on my Third Street side of the building for people to catch a beautiful selfie spot. This mural is in honor of my mom and the beauty she saw in everything.”

For locally made soaps, soy candles, lotions, lip balms and scrubs—to name a few—The Honeycomb is the place to be.

“I started making soap in 2011 as a fun project and fell in love with it,” Owner Kimberly Iwen explains. “My store offers artisans that make jewelry, leather goods, paintings and photographs, clothing, purses, pottery, soup, dips, teas and candy… every year the store is getting stronger and more well known with returning customers. I am very grateful for the tourists that come through Algoma and the support from the locals.”

The city’s first Artisan Marketplace is found in Waterfront Creations, and was founded on none other than dairy goat’s milk. 

“We handcraft our premium goat milk products like soap and lotion, which is what we’re known most for across the state…they are what founded the business when I was in high school,” Kyle Gau, Media Manager/Founder, says… in addition to our bath and body products, we design and print custom and Algoma themed T-shirts, cups, tumblers, keychains, and other great items. We also have a huge selection of freeze dried candies that are a staple for us, providing a well curated group of products for our amazing customers!”

Described as a collection of uplifting smells, good energy, unique items and magical trinkets, BellaLuna’s Apothecary and Boutique is known for its relaxed and happy atmosphere.

“We offer everything from boho style clothing to natural body products,” Owner Gloria Moore says. “We have a variety of Young Living essential oils, sage, incense, crystals, herbs along with books, cards,  tarot decks (and) a lot of locally made jewelry and art.
If you stop at different shops in the Art District on historic Steele St, you’ll notice a lot of us still have the original decorative tin ceilings. It’s nice to be able to have such a beautiful piece of our town’s history.”

Fun fact: BellaLuna’s is named after Moore’s two daughters.

If you’re looking for unique art and fine craft, stop at Ladybug Glass Gallery to peruse its core work or catch a guest artist and special exhibit each month.

“We try to bring in different styles of artwork that aren’t usually expected in small town Wisconsin,” Kimberly Lyon, Owner, says. “We are known for our glass art and glass macro photography… we like to say we have something for everyone. Stained glass, fused glass, kaleidoscopes, marbles, photography, jewelry, textiles such as table linens and wearable accessories crafted using fabrics designed by (me).

Fun fact: Lyon had been selling her artwork for over 30 years when  she decided to open her own gallery in 2020 in the middle of the pandemic. “I thought, ‘It can only get better, right?’” she says.


While it’s clear Algoma has expanded from its once focused upon fishing reputation, the industry is still alive and well, and provides fun for all.

Offering full-service fishing charters 7 days a week, Gail Force Sportfishing utilizes over 50 years of combined experience on the water catching salmon, steelhead and lake trout to give their guests a quintessential Algoma experience for the whole family.

Our captains Tyler Yunk, Riley Mancl and Blane Poore are extremely passionate about providing the ultimate Lake Michigan experience,” Owner Dave Rueckl says. “We often say we are making memories, not just catching fish… being fathers themselves, they are really good with younger children and making their first experience on Lake Michigan one to remember.

“Your fish are cleaned and put into bags for you to transport home. The only thing you need to bring is a fishing license with a great lakes trout stamp and anything you would like to eat and drink,” Rueckl says.

Fun fact: Boats “Gail Force” and “The Mad Russian” are both named after Rueckl’s wife Gail (approved by her, of course!).

Captain Jimmie D (Owner James D Sullivan) and The Fishin’ Magicians offer charter fishing and deluxe lodging options, and even offer smoked fish products and seafood at their office nearby.

“We offer basic 5, 6 or 8 hour charters on the lake,” Sullivan explains. “Algoma is the central most part of the Lake so the fish tend to stay in the area most of the summer. We love the sport and take pride in what we do. Always love the smiles when someone young to old catches a big fish or even a small one.”

Other outdoor recreation abounds in Algoma, and The River By Bayshore helps make it accessible to all with e-bike, kayak, canoe and paddle board rentals throughout the summer. They even have Algoma Swans to explore in!

After a long day in the fresh air, peruse Robert Ray Gallery, a contemporary space as well as an antique store.

We represent midwestern artists in a variety of mediums including paintings, drawings, ceramics, jewelry, sculpture, and photography.”

Take in a show at the Algoma Performing Arts Center, a staple in the community since 1935.

“(It) has retained much of its now historic charm over decades of use by the Algoma School District and its community,” David Robertson, Vice President says. “The space is large enough to accommodate around 500 and small enough that audience members feel welcomed and connected to the performers.

“The Algoma Performing Arts Center is attached to and a part of the Algoma Elementary School. As such, it serves as the performance home to nearly all of our school performances.  Each year our students perform concerts, musicals, and other shows on the stage. It is also home to the Algoma Community Band which has been performing annually since 1976.

The center also welcomes a variety of musical performers like orchestras, jazz bands, acapella groups and more, plus holds an annual summer musical, consisting of both young and old performers in the community.

With a mission to promote and support the arts experience in the regional and local community, you can thank Yonder for Algoma’s colorful, artistic ambiance and those 17 murals we mentioned.

“Yonder is a creative space run by artists,” Erin LaBonte, Co-founder explains. “Don Krumpos and (I) began Yonder as a brick and mortar storefront in Algoma  in 2019. We do this by offering workshops, exhibition opportunities and through public arts and puppetry. We strive to create a culture that celebrates and promotes dialogue and creative problem solving.”

Fun fact: “We have painted over 40 murals throughout Wisconsin,” LaBonte says. “Many of these murals have included a paint by number component where community members join us to paint the wall. We have a very cool etching press that we love to get rolling for workshops and with friends. We love living on the lakeshore and the raw authenticity of our little fishing village and artist community.”


Established in 1857, Hotel Stebbins is the longest continuously running business in Kewaunee County.

“We carry the distinction of being the cornerstone of downtown Algoma and are proud to work closely with our surrounding retail businesses to ensure we are fostering a prosperous and growing community,” Kristine Yvonne Ruehl, Owner, says.

The space is an owner-operated full-service hotel, complete with a restaurant, bar/lounge and billiards room. 

“Our inn is designed to create a home away from home experience and we truly want you to feel pampered and depart with lasting memories made,” Ruehl says. “Our units and kitchen suites are all different shapes and sizes and each one is decorated with a unique theme. Our repeat customers mean the world to us!”

If enjoying fresh air and nature to the fullest are a priority for your Algoma getaway, Timber Trails Campground and Ahnapee Shores Camping Resort provide RV, tent and travel trailer rentals.


Algoma isn’t just a summer town, and that’s evidenced by their First Friday Art series. 

It’s twelve months of the year from 5-8 p.m.,” Paladini says. “Our art community extends their hours and opens their doors… Yardstick Bookstore a lot of times will have an author come… Bayshore Outfitters will display art of others on that night. It’s exciting for our small businesses. They’ve rallied around it and that’s when they’ll have their events.”

“A lot of the galleries will have exhibition openings for certain artists on that first Friday too, Harper adds. “Shops are open late and some have sales.”

If warm weather is more of your thing, Concerts in the Park in Algoma happen every Thursday beginning at the end of June in Heritage Park, and include an altruistic twist.

“Everybody brings their chairs, we have a wine and beer tent and we’ll have a nonprofit do a food tent. All of that money goes to the nonprofits and everyone else is enjoying free music,” Paladini says.

Shanty Days: The Celebration of the Lake is well-known in the area, and for good reason. 

Celebrating its 37th year on August 9, 10 and 11, it’s three days of all the fun you can imagine in Algoma: a beach volleyball tournament, 5k run, a parade, car show, arts and crafts vendors, food, fishing contest, music—you name it! It wraps up on Sunday night with an impressive fireworks display thanking the community for another successful year. 

August 17 will bring a slew of kite-fliers, from professional stunt fliers to amateurs.

“Our Soar on the Shore Kite Festival” has taken off leaps and bounds,” Murphy explains.
“Everybody is on the beach watching the kites. They spin, they dive. There’s food, face painting… it’s just a great family-oriented event.” 

Sponsored by Von Stiehl Winery and Community Improvement of Algoma (CIA), Wet Whistle Wine Festival returns September 20 and 21. 

Whether you’re there to stomp grapes, try award-winning wines, eat great food or listen to live music, it’s for a great cause. A fundraiser for CIA and the Algoma Fire and Rescue, the festival is a staple in the community.

“(CIA) has really done some great things for our city in terms of beautifying,” Paladini says. “They’re really about helping the city. They do pocket parks… small little spaces to make it prettier, mural touch ups, flowers. The festival is a great, fun time, but it’s for a good cause.”

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