Posted on June 30, 2023 by Grace Olson

Known for its rich history in the automotive industry and the tagline “Trucker Pride,” you may think you know what to expect in terms of what Clintonville offers visitors.

But, you’re likely wrong.

Firstly, the city of about 4,500 is conveniently and centrally located: about 35 miles north of Appleton, 45 miles west of Green Bay and 55 miles east of Wausau.

“We kind of think of ourselves as ‘the outlet to the north,’ Emily Grosskreutz, Executive Director of the Clintonville Area Chamber of Commerce, says. “We’re proud of that.”

Grosskreutz, not originally from the area, used to vacation at her family’s cottage in the city. For her, Clintonville has never lost its charm, and she adds that it’s hard to describe in words why the city was and still is so similarly appealing to other visitors.

“For me, it was just about getting away, getting away and slowing down,” she says. “It felt like I belonged. It really is just a feeling while you’re here. There’s a charm to it.”

“Clintonville is the place to come if you want a nostalgic experience with a giant family community feel,” Michele Herter, Department of Public Works Coordinator, adds. “We are full of customs and traditional events each year and welcome you like you are part of our family. You will not feel like a tourist visiting a local diner on a Saturday afternoon. Instead, you will be welcomed into the conversation of the locals.”

Mayor Steve Kettenhoven agrees. He describes Clintonville as “a small community with big features,” citing the numerous staples and annual events that both members of the town and visitors participate in.

“Our Main Street hosts several events like the Spring Cruise Car Show, Sidewalk Sales and Fall Frenzy,” he says. “At the heart of Main Street, you’ll find our amazing Veteran’s Memorial. Every Thursday (May-October) we have a farmers market with fresh produce, homemade pies, and handcrafted items. And our Fourth of July fireworks is a “Must See” event that draws thousands of spectators.

“History buffs will love our FWD Seagrave Museum. Clintonville is home to the founders of the first four-wheel drive automobile! The museum displays over 80 old and rare trucks and firetrucks, as well as historical memorabilia.”

It’s also up and coming. With new businesses opening all the time, their downtown thriving and projects (hello, Aqua Park!), Clintonville is a worth-the-drive destination this summer and beyond.

“Clintonville is continuously growing with a unique variety of businesses, and new and exciting activities, events and opportunities,” Mayor Kettenhoven says. “I encourage you to stop by and visit us. We’d love to put a smile on your face!”

Dining To-Do List

If not all, most people realize the importance of fuel while they explore a new city. And I’m not talking about the kind you fill your car with to get from point A to point B.

It’s all about the food and drinks, and Clintonville has a notably great variety.

Brewed. A Coffee Shop.


Stop first for a caffeine fix or refreshing smoothie at Brewed. A Coffee Shop.,  a quaint stop—or drive-thru!—offering hot and cold coffee drinks, tea, bakery items and more.

For a more relaxed, “lived in” experience, The Living Room Coffee Shop & Vintage Décor, LLC takes their welcoming philosophy as seriously as their breakfast burritos and sandwiches, specifically the ever popular Chicken Bacon Ranch Panini for which they are known.

“I like to describe (it) as “A Gathering Place,” owner Beth Mielke says. “While we have our share of take-out orders, our main loyal customers like to meet up with friends and linger for a few hours. We also have groups of people who regularly meet each week for activities in our meeting room such as Bridge, Scrabble, Mah-jongg and Book Clubs.”

The Main Street staple also offers fun shopping, offering a rotating selection of unique soaps, jewelry, mittens, hand towels and more.

Fun fact: “We are a historical building that was built as a Horse-Buggy and Harness Shop in the 1890s,” Mielke says. “We have preserved many of the original features. We have a history wall with some great photos showing what the building has been used for throughout the years.”

If the classic diner experience is what you’re after, hit Adelle’s Bluebird Cafe. With popular items like Cinnamon Roll Pancakes—complete with cream cheese frosting—and the Hunters Skillet—golden hash browns with meat, veggies, local Wisconsin cheese, eggs and toast—you’ll have a hard time leaving room for dessert. But you should, because there’s a variety of homemade pie to consider.

Adelle’s Bluebird Cafe

“I am extremely proud of my pies,” owner Adelle Mentz says. “What makes my pies unique from others is that I make my pastry crusts thin. I like a clean crisp pie edge versus the normal thick bulky edges.”

Fun fact: “My mom opened Schultz’s Bluebird Cafe in 2008 and I took ownership of Adelle’s Bluebird Cafe in 2018. When I took over I created a big list of everything I could imagine that I would want for my little restaurant,” Mentz says. “This summer I will be adding an outdoor patio area for dining… I am a firm believer in manifesting my life and I have no doubts in my mind that what I am doing now is aligning everything up for me to continue living my best life. Adelle’s Bluebird Cafe is where kindness serves you.”

Lunch + Happy Hour

Offering dine-in or takeout, local favorite Jarritos Mexican Grill is a great spot to stop on the way in or out of Clintonville. You can’t go wrong with any of the Mexican meals (or flavorful margaritas!) on the menu, including classic menu items like Fajitas, Carne Asada, Tortas, Enchiladas and more.

“They have amazing shrimp tacos!” Grosskreutz recommends. “They’re very, very authentic.”

The restaurant is also vegetarian-friendly, serving up Veggie Fajitas, Tacos, Chimichangas and Burritos for guests.

A quaint Mexican American restaurant with “excellent food and excellent service,” Kenya’s Family Restaurant serves the best of both worlds in terms of flavors.

Whether you’re craving a burger and fries or authentic Mexican cuisine, they’ve got you covered.

“We love to see our customers leave happy and satisfied. We hope you love our homemade food and we hope to see you at our restaurant often!”

For Fish Frys with all the fixin’s, Good Time Charlie’s Bar & Grill LLC is the place to be in Clintonville on Fridays. The establishment also offers take and bake pizzas, and specials like free shots during Green Bay Packers touchdowns.

Be sure to stop at an ATM and ditch the credit card, though; they only accept cash.

While Clintonville does boast a couple of supper clubs (more on that during dinner), you may think of a different sort when it comes to Supper Club Cocktails.

Arty’s Premium Beverages, Inc (Arty’s) is the original ready-to-drink Old Fashioned,” Timothy Pappin says. “Supper Club is another brand of beverages with a slightly different mix of ingredients. Both equally awesome.”

The company is also known for Bloody Marys, Marinated Mushrooms, Summer Hummers and Vodka Strawberry Lemonades, as well as Stillwater Spirits: a line of tequila-based juice flavored cocktails. You may likely see the brand in your neighborhood grocery store, but if you’re in Clintonville, it’s worth a try.

“People can stop by for a tour and samples,” Pappin says. “They can also buy directly from our facility.”

Stay tuned as they’re growing quickly and are looking to expand within the next 12 months.

After a long weekend exploring Clintonville, you may need more relaxation than a simple happy hour, and for that, Peaceful River Winery and Spa is the ticket.

Rick and Sharon Pingel started making wine as a hobby, but were so successful that they began producing their wines commercially.

Their goal is to “produce single batch fruit wines that taste like fresh picked fruit… of the finest quality.”  Known for unique sweet wines which are meant to be paired with fresh fruit and desserts to finish a meal, their wines are served chilled and leave a fresh fruity finish in your mouth.”

Sharon’s love of massage therapy is combined with winemaking at the winery and spa, leaving guests calm and refreshed.


If you’re exploring a small town in Wisconsin, it’s lucky to find a traditional supper club. In Clintonville, there’s two.

Family-owned Meyer’s Clint Mar Supper Club offers the highly sought after Wisconsin supper club experience, without the fuss.

“(We’re a) supper club with a bar atmosphere. Come as you are! No dress code,” Angie Meyer, manager and cook, says. “Customers come from all over to have a good time here!”

The establishment is especially known for their Prime Rib on Fridays and Saturdays and Giant Grilled Shrimp on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

You can’t go wrong any day of the week, though, with broasted chicken and fish being served every day as well.

Known for their Old Fashioneds and being a “dining experience,” Mathew’s Supper Club has everything it takes to be a traditional supper club plus a few twists like made-to-order pizzas.

“Their Seafood Alfredo is terrific,” Grosskreutz suggests. “You can also of course get a great steak. It’s traditional. Traditional Wisconsin.”

Retail Therapy 

With a dining agenda figured out, Clintonville’s shopping scene is on the horizon and offers eclectic home decor, thrifted treasures, fashionwear and more.

Urban Cottage Shop, for example, is a boutique style shop featuring a bit of everything.

“(We) feature vintage and vintage inspired home decor and accent pieces—like seen on HGTV shows—vintage and new jewelry, purses, hats and ladies clothing; new florals and fun garden decor; and other vintage, antique, and new finds that are unique and interesting to our customers,” owner Jodi Harris explains.

But it’s also the unique view that keeps customers interested.

“Our customers always express how much they love the beautiful unique interior of the historic building. The second floor is open to the first floor with a wrap-around balcony. There is a grand staircase leading up to the second floor, where they can walk over and see the art deco floor to ceiling windows facing main street. The unique building adds to an enjoyable shopping experience.”

If a variety of antiques, refurbished furniture, clothing, woodwork, metal art and even homemade jam, honey and maple syrup is up your alley, mosey over to The Robbins Nest – Rustic, Recycled, Refurbished.

“(We’re) a family owned, warm and welcoming shop with over 30 vendors that offer multiple items,” Candace Robbins explains. “We are located inside the old Pamida/Shopko building where there will be multiple other stores coming… eventually it will resemble a small strip mall!”

Clintonville is growing in ways that both visitors and locals appreciate, and that includes their very own coffee roaster.
“Mile 22 Roastery (is) a proud start-up small batch roastery established in 2021,” the Forsberg family says. “At Mile 22, we are all family. Founders are Greg, Charlee and Alicia Forsberg. We often get asked, ‘How does one get into roasting?’ It’s so unique! The simple answer is Greg got curious and the curiosity grew.”

The rest is history, but more is to come. You can find the coffee—including blends with natural flavoring like French Vanilla and Blueberry—on shelves at Clintonville’s Tadych’s grocery store, and at the city’s weekly farmers markets.
“All of our coffee is completely authentic,” they say. “We believe in extracting all natural tasty tones during the roasting process. Our goal is to expand within our hometown as they’ve been so welcoming to our start up company. Clintonville took us in and continues to help us grow and achieve our goals.”

Attractions + Recreation

It would be foolish to visit the city with the “Trucker Pride” tagline without finding out the story behind it. Enter the FWD Seagrave Museum where you’ll learn about the city’s immense impact on the automotive industry—all while perusing really cool cars.

“Our museum is a historic exhibit of vehicles and inventions that had a global impact on the world beginning in 1909 with the invention of the world’s first successful four wheel drive vehicle by William Besserdich and Otto Zachow,” Terry Lorge, Director of the FWD Seagrave Museum, explains. “Around 1914, William Besserdich left FWD and began another truck company in Clintonville, calling it Wisconsin Duplex Drive, and sometime after 1917, he moved his new company to Oshkosh and renamed it Oshkosh Truck.”

Some of the vehicles you’ll catch at the museum include the Battleship, (the first successful four wheel drive vehicle), a Teracruzer (minus the missile and trailer), FWD and Seagrave fire engines and large trucks dating back to 1915, a Topp-Stewart tractor, one of only two known to exist, two FWD-Eliason Motor Toboggans (snowmobiles), and an FWD-Wagner tractor. “Altogether, we have approximately 70 vehicles as well as many historic items related to FWD and other companies that it owned and operated,” Lorge says.

“They did such a great job at the museum,” Mayor Kettenhoven adds. “They took an old factory and turned it into a museum for people to get a chance to see exactly how far that industry has come.”

The museum is currently open by appointment only due to a shortage of volunteers, but Lorge hopes to be open a portion of every day through October.

Who doesn’t love a hometown bowling alley plus potential party space? Memory Lanes Bar & Grill provides both: from decorating, cooking, cleaning, and even entertaining. Packages include something for everyone, from bowling lanes, food (they’re best known for their Friday Fish Fry and made-from-scratch pizza!), volleyball and an arcade full of games.  
They’re also home for the Jolly Mixers Dance Club one Saturday a month, bringing with it multiple genres of music, a good time and dancers from all over the state.

While the skies are blue and sunny, consider taking in a round of golf at Clintonville Riverside Golf Course.

“Our golf course was established in 1929 and sits on one of the highest points in Waupaca County,” Stacy Hooyman says. “Our course is well established with mature trees, is one of the best maintained courses in NE Wisconsin,  and has beautiful views throughout the course and from the Clubhouse.

“Our signature Hole #12 has a true island green, which is a unique feature to golf courses. We also have an abundance of wildlife and many deer that are relatively tame that our golfers enjoy to watch as they play their round.”

Owned and operated by 5th generation farmers Steve and Tammy Kluth, Glendale Farms is an impressive 1200-acre dairy farm with 330 cows. In addition, they offer strawberry picking (after mid-June) with photo opportunities and an added, delicious bonus:

“We have 26 acres of strawberries, along with 10 acres of three varieties of peas; green and yellow beans; table onions and kohlrabi that we grow and sell during our strawberry picking season,” Tammy Kluth says. “You can also pick your own sugar snap, garden and snow peas, along with green and yellow beans. We hire a fantastic crew for our berry season, many of them coming back year after year. We couldn’t do it without them!

“Many of our customers have been picking at our farm for years. It is wonderful to see the grandparents, parents and kids come out to pick and have fun. We offer tractor and wagon rides out to the fields. You can take a picture in front of our giant strawberry in the bed of our old pickup truck. The kids can play on the Glendale Farms wooden toy tractor.”
Boasting an almost unheard of 17 parks for their size, Clintonville’s Park System promoting outdoor recreation is boosted further by nearby water.

Pigeon Lake is a popular recreation destination that offers a boat launch for boaters and is a great place to fish, kayak and canoe on a sunny Clintonville summer day,” Michele Herter, Department of Public Works Coordinator, relays. “If you attend the Clintonville Area Chamber of Commerce Fall Frenzy this third weekend in September, you must participate in the Pigeon Lake Protection & Rehabilitation fundraiser Kayak Race. This event is for all ages and raises money to give back to the beautification and rehabilitation of the area so generations can enjoy the area.

“The most significant buzz around town is the new Clintonville DPW-Parks & Recreation Division Aqua Park, currently under construction. We are slated for a soft opening this winter, weather permitting, for ice skating and a grand opening next summer for water aquatics fun. (It) will be an excellent addition to our small community… a beachfront floating water park that will be fun for the entire family. We will even have a party rental room on site.

Seven Maples Nature Area offers 17.2 acres of outdoor adventure in the beautiful wooded area and a captivating trail system to hike that is good for the beginner and the experienced hiker. Do you like disc golf? Then check out the Walter A. Olen Park 9-Hole Disc Golf Course. It’s fun, relaxing, and a ridiculously inexpensive sport.”


If you’re making a weekend out of your time in Clintonville, you’ll not only get lodging, but unique-to-Clintonville national history too.

The Landmark Motel and Cobblestone Inn & Suites are both options for extended stays in Clintonville, but did you know the latter is the first ever built in the United States?

“They have hundreds of them now, but this was the first one that was ever built,” Grosskreutz explains. “They’ll never sell it because it’s their first. They obviously saw something in Clintonville to say ‘let’s put the hotel right here on Highway 45.’ Like I said, it goes back to the ‘outlet to the north’ thing.”

The hotel offers modern suites, whirlpool suites, business and fitness centers, complimentary breakfast and other amenities.

Clear Your Calendar!

Small town charm and an active community are combined to create fun yearly events for the whole family in Clintonville. Below are just a few of the several offered to locals and visitors.

Clintonville A’s Fireworks, on July 3 this year, isn’t for the unpatriotic!
“It takes over our beautiful city,” Herter says. “Get to Main Street early to reserve the best viewing spots. This memorable annual event is 100% funded by local businesses and residents in the area. Support the Clintonville A’s by purchasing food and refreshments.”

“It’s very much a staple in this area,” Emily Grosskreutz, Executive Director of the Clintonville Area Chamber of Commerce, agrees. “It attracts thousands.”

A more appropriate event likely doesn’t exist for the Trucker Pride city than the Clintonville Spring Cruise Show.

“This event has dated back 21 years as of 2023, with over 200 classic (and even some new) cars on display, free to the public,” Herter says. “Even if you are not into cars, this is a great event to come out and grab a bite to eat and listen to music or even take your chance at the 50/50 raffle. If you have kids or are just a kid at heart, you can also check out the Annual Lions Club Carnival that takes place the same weekend only a block over.”

Enjoy summer in Clintonville, but be sure to come back as the temperatures cool off, because happenings in town heat up.

Clintonville Area Chamber of Commerce Fall Frenzy brings craft vendors, music, food and refreshments and even a pie contest.

Start off any new year the right way by checking out Winter Whirl, an all-day winter festival and annual tradition in Clintonville. Several events are held within the larger event.

“This last year, we hosted the 33rd Annual Tummy Warmer Cook-off, the 3rd Annual Polar Express Scotch Doubles 8-ball Pool Tournament, and the 5th Annual Corn Hole Tournament, all along with live music and a kids’ corner for the little ones,” Herter says. “It’s a great event to get everyone out of the house during those cold winter months. It is held yearly in January.”

Visit for details and upcoming event dates.

Stunning Selfies!
Snap a picture and capture a memory at some of Clintonville’s best selfie spots:

Tina Schulke mural

  • Olen Park Walking Bridge
    10 Memorial Circle
  • Seven Maples Nature Area
    150 13th Street
  • Downtown Clintonville Mural
    26 10th Street


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