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Worth the Drive: Plymouth

Touted as “The Cheese Capital of the World,” Plymouth is the second largest city in Sheboygan County and offers visitors so much more than delicious dairy products – although what more do you really need? With as much as 15 percent of the nation’s cheese moving through Plymouth, visitors can expect to find nods to the city’s cheesemaking past and present, as well as cultural offerings like a set of renowned murals and an acclaimed arts center, boutique shopping and even a new distillery.

Dining To-Do List

These restaurants will keep you fueled morning to night

Breakfast:

Exchange Bank Coffeehouse

If you like a side of history with your coffee, check out Exchange Bank Coffeehouse. This converted 1906 bank is the perfect spot to kick off a day in Plymouth. The cafe-style menu features light breakfast items like bakery, oatmeal and quiche. (Try the swiss and spinach quiche for starters.) For a diner-style breakfast, head to Hub City Family Restaurant just down the street. From sweet crepes to savory breakfast skillets, the menu offers up a little of everything making it a great option for travel buddies with varying taste preferences. 

Lunch:

For a light and refreshing lunch, head to The Hub Studio Cafe where organic green salads, hot and cold sandwiches and homemade soups await. For a midday caffeine fix, try a cheeky “coffee cocktail” – non-alcoholic coffee or espresso-based beverages that play on craft cocktails. The “C” old fashioned is made with signature brewed coffee, orange bitters, simple syrup and a fruit garnish, served on the rocks. Another solid lunch option is Antoinette’s Casual Dining which is a local favorite for creative macaroni and cheese preparations. Their menu presents eight different variations, including the one made famous at the restaurant’s Sheboygan County Fair booth. Plus, we have it on good authority Antoinette’s boasts the best Broasted chicken in town. Looking for pizza? DeO’s Pizzeria & Pub is located on Mill Street in downtown Plymouth and slings pies loaded with locally produced Grande mozzarella, Henning’s colby jack and Sargento Parmesan. During the summer, free live music is offered on their back patio and is the place to be for grabbing a slice and a drink with friends. 

Dinner: 

The Fig and the Pheasant. Image by Patrick O’Toole Food Photography

German food hotspot PJ Campbell’s at the Depot is adored by locals and visitors alike, so reservations are required. The renovated train depot, owned by Patrick and Judy Campbell, also has a popular bar and patio in addition to the dining room. Starting your meal with the gigantic twisted Bavarian pretzel is a must, just try to save room for your entree. The menu highlights German favorites like schnitzel, sausages and leberkäse (German meatloaf). Celebrating a birthday or anniversary? Sweet Basil is the special occasion restaurant of choice. The only thing better than the cozy atmosphere is the menu loaded with Italian comfort food like lasagna bolognese and chicken parmesan. For a more casual experience, many guests enjoy sitting at the bar to dine. A new addition to Plymouth’s vibrant dining scene is The Fig and the Pheasant, a boutique hotel in downtown Plymouth with an onsite restaurant that shatters the hotel restaurant stereotype. New owners Ronna and Patrick O’Toole are celebrated chefs who have developed a vegetable-forward menu and bar program that are equally exciting. With a focus on locally-sourced, seasonal ingredients, the menu changes frequently and includes a signature terrine of pheasant confit, Angus beef short ribs and a Friday night fish fry. Snag a reservation on Wednesdays when a live Irish band serenades diners. 

Meal You’ll Remember: Cheese Counter & Dairy Heritage Center 

Adams Reserve Black Raspberry Panini

What’s a visit to “The Cheese Capital of the World” without a stop at the Cheese Counter and Dairy Heritage Center? This cheese mecca opened in October 2017 and was designed to educate visitors on Plymouth’s prolific cheese production, both past and present. “There are so many people who have been touched by the dairy industry, whether grandpa drove the milk truck or owned the farm,” says Manager Tracy Foss. “We think we will share stories with visitors, but they end up sharing stories with us.” Open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday, The Cheese Counter and Dairy Heritage Center makes for a fun and educational midday meal destination. Before lunch, challenge your cheese knowledge with a quiz on one of several interactive displays. Although not a traditional restaurant, The Cheese Counter’s cheese-forward menu focuses on all the best foods like macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese and Kelley Country Creamery ice cream. We suggest the Adams Reserve black raspberry panini which marries grilled Johnsonville sausage with Adams Reserve aged cheddar dressed in seedless raspberry jam for a sandwich that is both sweet and savory. Grab a seat at the vintage-inspired lunch counter or take your meal to-go and enjoy a picnic at nearby Stayer Park. The products used in the kitchen are also sold in the store, so be sure to pick up your favorites to take home – many are award-winning Wisconsin cheeses that aren’t easily found in regular grocery stores. 

Old School Eats: Chester’s Drive-In 

Chester’s has been locally-owned and loved for more than 40 years and it’s easy to see why. It’s laid back vibe coupled with a large selection of specialty burgers, deep fried sides and ice cream make it an obvious stop during a day sightseeing in Plymouth, especially if you have kids who need to let off some steam. Stay in your car for carhop service, order at the side window to eat outside or call ahead for carry out orders. Chester’s old fashioned draft root beer can be ordered with your meal, or by the half gallon or gallon to take home. 

Drink Up!

A day of sightseeing can really get you thirsty. Luckily, Plymouth has options. At the 1-year-old Plank Road Distillery, tours aren’t offered because they aren’t necessary – the still is placed prominently behind the bar for all to see. Owners Jarin and Michele Gelhar run the distillery which produces everything from vodka and gin to rum and bourbon, using local ingredients. Visitors can sample handcrafted spirits and cocktails (or a flight of four) in the tasting room. A customer favorite is the Lavender 75, made with Plank Road gin, lavender simple syrup, lemon and sparkling grape juice. Check out Plank Road Distillery’s Facebook page for the latest drink menu. If you like what you taste, pick up a bottle to take home. If you’re in the mood for beer, Plymouth Brewing Company, housed in a late-1800s hotel building, produces all its beers onsite and serves them in their tasting room across the street. Many of the brews are named in honor of local landmarks, like the fan favorite Nutt Hill Nutbrown which is named for the famed ski-hill in Plymouth and the Mighty Mullet IPA named for the Mullet River (not the hairstyle) which runs through town. This summer, make sure to try Stone Blue, a seasonal blueberry farmhouse ale that’s perfect for sipping on a patio. The menu usually consists of 10 beers and two or three guests taps from area breweries. Check out the current offerings on the brewery’s website or Facebook page, as well as details on the whereabouts of the brewery’s mobile beer cart. Food is not served in the taproom, but carry-ins are encouraged, as are leashed, well-behaved dogs. Cans and growlers can be purchased to go. 

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Worth the Drive

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