Smiley’s is familiar to those of us that remember Tree Acres of years ago. Before an out-of-towner came in and swindled the local government into thinking they were going to build a water ski arena in the middle of sand country (seriously – they actually fell for this), there was a wonderful 18+ hole golf course just a block away. In the peak of the popularity of the golf course, a restaurant was built to facilitate in the events such as weddings and banquets that was located right down the road. The golf course has been given back to nature for over a decade, but lucky for us, the restaurant remains.
Smiley’s Bar and Grill looks huge from the outside and boasts plenty of parking – and I mean a lot of parking. It looks huge because it is – there’s a partnership banquet hall within it’s walls (some of us remember that area was the original restaurant), and Smiley’s now exists to the right of the entry way. Remember that when you walk in – veer right – less you end up crashing someone’s party. The ambiance is very nice – cozy and north woods look. The bar is present and easy to get to (it’s the little things) and the music was at a nice mellow volume.
Alright – let’s talk food! The family tonight ordered a little of everything. Beth ordered a fish fry, two breaded and two beer battered. Mom had the senior fish fry with two breaded pieces. Annie had the kids fish fry and The General got a fish fry with all breaded. I put my top hat and monocle on and ordered the shrimp (Wisconsin Fancy).
My favorite things about Smiley’s was the rolls and coleslaw both of which are served before your meal and in a family style manner. The rolls were tasty but nothing special. However the coleslaw was homemade and fresh (I verified this with the waitress) and was amazing. I’ve never been able to describe coleslaw as “fluffy” before – but this stuff was. Mom and I gobbled the first dish up and had to order a second. 5 out of 5 stars on the coleslaw!
I also enjoyed the basket of butter at the table. Yep – a basket. Nothing drives this Sconnie more insane than having to ration my butter out for my bread. Also, there was no rye bread with our meals tonight – not a deal killer for me personally, but fair warning if you’re a rye guy (or gal).
I stole a piece of my wife’s breaded fish and it was delicious. Light and fluffy breading and the fish was flaky and not greasy at all. Highly recommend it. The beer-battered fish had a thicker, stiffer texture to it.
My shrimp had a great battered coating – much like a carnival cheese curd – it was so fluffy it appeared to almost hover around the shrimp itself. Maybe it was magical batter? The shrimps were medium in size. I was a bit worried that the meal wouldn’t fill me, but even after my wife had retaliated by stealing a shrimp from me and I shared another piece with my mother-in-law, I was still filled up by the time I pushed back from the table.
Mom said the bathrooms were clean and “They had a basket of stuff for girls in there with stuff you might need.” I have no idea what that means, but cool.
Besides the coleslaw being the bomb I need to mention the herb butter that came along with our baked potatoes. Dennis wasn’t a fan, but I just think he didn’t put enough of it on. I loved it and happily smothered my potato in this herb butter and sour cream, making a big delicious mess. Mom’s senior fish fry came with her choice of mac and cheese, which her, Beth, and Annie all claimed was quite good.
Smiley’s waitstaff was very friendly and provide great service. This place is going on my list to revisit. One last thing – $3 rail old fashions! Smiley’s isn’t huge and it was getting busy by the time we left – I would recommend reservations during Lent.
Food quality: 4/5
The final word from mom:
“I’m quite happy here!”DiAnn