Our Meal At The Shipwrecked Inn In Door County WI
By Dorrie Ruplinger
During our latest camping trip to Door County, Wisconsin, we stopped at the Shipwrecked Inn in Egg Harbor for dinner. They brew and serve their own beers and have a large menu. Eating there is an enjoyable experience, but learning about the folklore and history of the building was a lot of fun too. And like the name suggests, there are overnight accommodations available starting around $50 for a double. A sign near the entrance to the restaurant tells interested people to inquire at the bar about available rooms.
Shipwrecked first opened for business in the late 1800's. The lumber industry in the area was booming. Shipwrecked ended up becoming a popular place with both lumberjacks and sailors.
In the 1920's Shipwrecked became one of Al Capone's favored places. Door County in general was a favorite area for Al Capone to hang out in because the "nooks and crannies all over the county made it difficult for officials to track him down there. But Egg Harbor and Shipwrecked in particular were favored places of Al Capone's. There are still tunnels under the building that lead to various places around Egg Harbor that were said to have been used by Al Capone when he needed to make a quick "getaway." Folklore states the tunnels were originally created for Chief Tecumseh of the Ottawa Indian tribe for his use in quick getaways from other tribes.
There are other stories about the tunnels under the Shipwrecked building. If you ask one of the local people in the area, he or she will likely be happy to tell you a few of them. One of those stories says that in the early 1930's a couple of IRS "revenuers came looking for Al Capone at Shipwrecked but were never seen again because they somehow got "lost in the tunnels.
We ate at Shipwrecked in late Fall on a weekday evening. There were three adults in our party. Because Shipwrecked has their own beers we decided to try their "Plank "O Brews Sampler which included their Bayside Blonde Ale, Door County Cherry Wheat, Captain's Copper Ale, Peninsula Porter, Lighthouse Light, and the current seasonal brew which was Pumpkin Patch.
The Door County Cherry Wheat was everyone's favorite beer. The beer is made with Door County Cherries and a hint of cherry flavor could be tasted in the beer. Some of the comments about the beer by our dining party were: "Very good; "Nice hint of cherry with no citrus taste like many other wheat beers; "Nice light flavor; "No bitter aftertaste." "The beer has a nice finish."
The Captains Copper Ale was the clear second place finisher in our tasting. It's a stronger beer with a rather bitter finish to it, but it has good flavor. Comments about the beer from our group ranged from: "Lots of flavor; to "Tastes good; to "Full-bodied but a little too bitter of an aftertaste."
The Peninsula Porter beer is a dark heavy beer. Nobody in our party is a big fan of dark beer, but we thought the beer was okay. Comments were: "Tasted of chocolate and coffee, but not my favorite of the beers here; "Not too bad; "Has a coffee flavor with no bitter aftertaste. A coffee lover would probably really enjoy this beer."
The Lighthouse Light is Shipwrecked's light beer offering. I was the only one in the group who liked it. It had a lighter taste to it, but was a little too bland for the other two members of our dining party.
The Pumpkin Patch beer is one of Shipwrecked's seasonal beers. It had spicy flavors in it. Some people in our party tasted cinnamon in it; others tasted cloves and nutmeg. Only one member of our party thought it had any pumpkin flavor in it and nobody in our party cared much for it. We just didn't like the spice flavors with the beer flavors. It wasn't a flavor combination that worked for us.
The Bayside Blonde Ale was thought to be "okay by everyone in our group. It was a creamy beer and didn't have any bitter aftertaste.
After sampling the beers at Shipwrecked we decided to skip appetizers and salads, although the restaurant's signature salad containing leaf lettuce, field greens, pulled smoked chicken, cherry tomatoes, shredded carrots, shredded cheddar cheese, and seasoned croutons sounded delicious.
The waitress recommended the restaurant's ribs; smoked chicken; and fried perch entrees. We decided to go with her recommendations, order one of each of those items, and then share among us at the table.
The fried perch was the clear winner of the three entrees. The perch was lightly breaded and cooked to perfection. The side of Hawaiian coleslaw that came with the fish was also delicious. The Hawaiian flavor in the coleslaw came from pineapple and coconut milk.
The ribs were very tasty, but our rack had some sections that were overcooked and stringy - kind of like beef jerky. Overall though, the ribs were good. There were several choices of sides with the ribs. We chose the garlic mashed potatoes and Jasper's beans. The garlic mashed potatoes were rather disappointing. There were dry and didn't have much garlic flavor in them.
Jasper's beans however were very good. There were a combination of baked beans, kidney beans, black beans, bacon, onions, and the house seasoning. "Very tasty, was how one of our dining party described the beans.
The smoked and barbecued chicken entr"e was the least favorite of the three we ordered. Although the portion was very generous and the chicken had a good smoky flavor to it; the barbecue sauce had been ladled on top of the chicken and was just sitting on the skin. The barbecue flavor didn't get in to the chicken. It just sat on top of it. The chicken came with the same blah garlic roasted mashed potatoes as the ribs and the vegetable of the day which consisted of herbed carrots, green beans, and yellow beans. The beans were good. The carrots were rubbery.
Because all the entr"e portions were generous, none of us were still hungry when our waitress offered us dessert but the cherry berry crisp a la mode she suggested sounded too good to pass up so the three of us shared it. We were very glad we did. It was delicious! It was served warm with whipped cream and a scoop of ice cream. It was so good two of the diners in our party nearly fought over the last spoonful and said they would pick up the bowl and lick it clean if they had been at home.
There were a few misses in our meal at Shipwrecked, but overall it was a pleasant dining experience with great service. I would go back again. My recommendations if you eat there are to have the Door County Cherry Wheat beer; the fried perch entr"e; and cherry berry crisp a la mode.
About The Author
Dorrie Ruplinger is a featured writer at Door County, Wisconsin.