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Town Council Kitchen & Bar, Neenah

For three years, the team at Town Council Kitchen and Bar – including owner and chef Jonathan Horan and manager Sean Hathaway-Casey – have been delighting their guests with their take on new American fare complemented by craft cocktails, craft beer and a great wine list. Located at 133 W. Wisconsin Ave. in Neenah, Town Council opened in March of 2016, dedicated to serving craft food and beverages that reflect Northeast Wisconsin’s local food movement.

“Basically, Sean and I wanted to create a restaurant that we would want to enjoy ourselves,” says Horan of the original vision. “My take on classical, well-prepared cuisine combined with Sean’s ability to create masterful cocktails and curate an eclectic wine and beer list unlike any other in the area.”

If you haven’t had a chance to visit yet, Horan says he always encourages new guests to come in and try their house-made charcuteries.

“My favorite is the country pâté, which is a typical French-style terrine consisting of liver, lean meat, fat, herbs and spices,” says Horan. “It’s delicious. We also make all of our pastas in-house, and each pasta dish is delightful. As for entrees, you can’t go wrong with any of them.”

Horan says that rather than having one menu item that serves as the restaurant’s signature dish, it’s the overall experience that represents an evening out at Town Council.

“I think our signature is more in the way that we produce and deliver food to customers,” he explains. “There is a ton of production that goes into creating our food – all in a tiny space.”

Enriching the experience for guests is the aforementioned beer and wine selection. Horan says their cocktails on draft, in particular, have become staples.

“Both the TCKB Old Fashioned and the Charctails Garden Gimlet have gained wide reception throughout the region, so much that even first-time guests are privy to their popularity,” he states. “Beyond the draft program, the remainder of the nine cocktails rotate based on seasonality and innovation.”

The wine program is heavily focused on bottle sales, he adds, offering aggressive margins with the hope that the average patron will receive the benefits of perhaps splurging on a bottle, but getting more for their dollar. The 10 beer lines are always rotating, as well as the 24 slots they have dedicated to craft cans in the cooler.

“We tend to be focused on barrel-aged and sour styles because we think they pair well with our style of cuisine,” he says of the beer.

Dining at the 12-seat bar is encouraged at Town Council, which allows guests to view the chefs and bartenders as they create. The space at Town Council is small, so it’s a perfect fit for date night – but not so much for large parties, Horan explains.

“We have one table that accommodates parties of five to eight, which we reserve nightly at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. All other tables are first come, first serve.”

While reflecting on the past three years, the team at Town Council is excited to see what the future holds for them and build upon what they’ve established thus far.

“I believe that ‘white tablecloth dining’ is dead,” Horan says. “Today’s diner wants to go out for a salad or appetizer, great drinks, a main course and maybe dessert. In that endeavor I believe we have been greatly successful. In the past three years I believe that we have stuck with our original vision while striving to improve all the time.” -MD

Author’s Kitchen & Bar, Appleton

[Editor’s note: On March 13, the building which housed Author’s restaurant was destoryed in a fire. The restaurant is currently not operational. We will update this story with details on the restaurant’s future as we recieve them.]

On June 22, 2018, chefs Matías Whittingslow and Joshua Sickler saw their dreams of working for themselves become a reality when they opened the doors to Author’s Kitchen and Bar in Appleton. Located at 201 N. Appleton St., what started as a “few crazy conversations” between the two of them became a reality when they found a location that suited their needs.

“It was about a year and a half of looking for the right spot, the right fit, gathering up our resources and our income, and [handling] a lot of the business side of the restaurant while we were still looking for a place,” Sickler explains.

“The original inspiration was that we wanted to do it for ourselves,” he adds. “We saw the potential for Matías and I to do something great around here. We worked like mad dogs for all these other people – imagine what we could do for ourselves. So that’s how it all started.”

Sickler and Whittingslow wanted to create a restaurant that served homemade comfort-style food taken to the next level in an inviting and warm atmosphere. While the food is brought to guests through the hands of two well-traveled, experienced and skilled chefs, “pretentious” is not served as a side dish to the meals. Menu favorites like the braised short ribs, pasta made fresh daily and fresh seafood options help set the stage for an enjoyable weeknight meal or Saturday lunch in a space where Sickler and Whittingslow want guests to feel like they belong.

“You can come in, in jeans and a T-shirt and it’s totally fine; it’s not about us, it’s about the food,” Sickler says. “The food is the superstar here. Everything else is a nice addition to it, but the food is what brings people in – the comfort of the food and the consistency with it. That’s where the passion is.”

Over the last several months of business, Sickler says there has been a lot of great feedback for what they’ve started. Whether it was a guest asking for them to open a restaurant in Milwaukee or winning accolades as “best new restaurant” by the readers of Fox Cities Magazine, it’s been a good start for Whittingslow and Sickler, who Sickler humbly describes as simply “two people who love to cook.”

There will be no resting on laurels for the duo, however. Sickler and Whittingslow know that they need to continue improving and setting the bar even higher for themselves, which will in turn ensure their food continues to tell stories that helps their guests feel at home.

“That’s what I would like when going out,” Sickler adds. “That’s what I want to feel like when I go out somewhere; I want to feel like I’m a part of something. It’s about the experience of it all. We’re all just trying to have the best experience possible.” -MD

Koreana, Appleton

Koreana is bringing a new evolving sushi trend, new-style sushi and sashimi, to the Fox Cities area. This trend is able to give sushi a host of new flavors coming from French, Italian and some Latin influences. These dishes are great for those who aren’t familiar with eating sushi. The different flavors that come with each bite of articulately cut piece of fish can make it seem like it’s not raw fish at all. One popular new-style sushi and sashimi dish is the poki poki bowl. This contains cubed tuna, salmon, yellowtail and avocado that’s seasoned with in-house ponzu sauce and served over sushi rice. It is topped with smelt fish roe, scallions and sesame seeds. Koreana offers over ten different new-style sushi and sashimi dishes on their menu. Each have their own unique mix of flavor, ingredients and type of fish. -SW

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