Cheeseburger in Paradise (Wisconsin, USA)

If you happen to find yourself out in the country in Wisconsin, do yourself a favor and stop by the Pleasant Ridge Store for a burger and a beer. That’s exactly what I did not too long ago and I’m a happier man for it. Situated seemingly in the middle of nowhere (and I mean that in the best possible way) the Pleasant Ridge Store used to be exactly that, a country store, but these days they serve the farmers and dairy folk with cold Wisconsin brews and bar food.

The food was good and the staff was friendly. I’m sure the end-of-the-day crowd makes the place even more fun, drinking beers as the sun sets on the wide open land of Wisconsin. Pleasant Ridge is worth a drive if you are near Madison, worth a flight if you are near Manhattan.

High Life in can with lunch.

Traffic was crazy
The view off of the back deck.

Comments on “Cheeseburger in Paradise (Wisconsin, USA)

    #1on June 1, 2010 @ 4:47 PM:

    Good post. More cheese burger. Less cheesy PR.

    Michael Williamson June 1, 2010 @ 4:48 PM:

    #1 I bet you wish there was a place like this in Philly. I think the Navy Yard would be a good place to put it. What do you think?

    Samon June 1, 2010 @ 4:58 PM:

    I’d love to repost this to Eating Everywhere. Any interest?

    nickon June 1, 2010 @ 4:58 PM:

    That might be the only thing that would make me visit the Navy Yard outside of the Antique Show.

    jeremyon June 1, 2010 @ 4:59 PM:

    i just ate my computer screen, that burger looks so good.

    jeffon June 1, 2010 @ 5:14 PM:

    Let me guess.. in Madison for an interview with the Context guys? Next time you’re in Madison, try a burger at Dotty Dumplling’s Dowry on Frances and University.

    Michael Williamson June 1, 2010 @ 5:15 PM:

    Context? Never heard of it.

    Carolineon June 1, 2010 @ 5:22 PM:

    As a frequent patron of the Ridge, my response is two-fold:

    1) Thanks for writing such a lovely post. It’s a really fantastic place with great people, great food (the Texas Egg Sandwich can’t be beat for breakfast, the Ridgeburger is my go-to for lunch, and the Friday fish fry is pretty awesome) and great music. You don’t find places like this just anywhere, and it deserves kudos.

    And, 2) SHHHHHHH! We don’t want EVERYONE knowing about it! ;)

    Ryan Quinnon June 1, 2010 @ 5:25 PM:


    That looks amazing, the burger, the setting, just awesome. Plus, we’ve had such shitty weather in the NW that simply sun and burgers would be amazing.

    robbieon June 1, 2010 @ 6:07 PM:

    I love out of the way non-chain burger joints like these.

    the next time you take a southward detour for Austin, hop over to the burger bar in Cleburne.

    Jasonon June 1, 2010 @ 6:11 PM:

    Looks like home. I can’t believe you didn’t drink something local though – for shame! **For shame!**

    ABon June 1, 2010 @ 6:32 PM:

    I dunno about #1 but I’d be psyched if there was a Pleasant Ridge Store in Philly. This place looks perfect. I’m digging that the google map shows this place near the corner of Z and Zz.

    tons of landon June 1, 2010 @ 7:39 PM:

    well, that’s pretty fantastic.

    Kyle Dunnon June 1, 2010 @ 8:00 PM:

    @ #1 and AB: If you’re looking for a great place to get a burger and beer in the country, I came across this place near my house called The Whip ( Its like an hour to 1.5 hours from Philly. Totally not americana, but a great place surrounded by horse farms and quiet hills if you’re looking to get out of the city/ burbs.

    Josh N.on June 1, 2010 @ 9:01 PM:

    thanks for showing wisconsin some love! ive been reading this blog for awhile and this makes it that much better haha.

    context is a nice little shop located in the heart of madison thats bringing some great taste to the city.

    unitedstyleon June 1, 2010 @ 9:09 PM:

    Unfortunately, I doubt I will ever make it to this part of the country, but it looks nice and the burger looks good.

    Ryan Dahlbergon June 1, 2010 @ 9:58 PM:

    Oh Man, it’s a 5 hour drive from Superior, Wisconsin. Might just end up being a Summer Road Trip.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Bickleson June 1, 2010 @ 10:26 PM:

    The question is
    What kind of cheese did you have on that burger?

    Sean Don June 1, 2010 @ 10:34 PM:

    This is hilarious! I’ve been following ACL on twitter for a while and love the site. The funny thing is that my parents are just down the road on County Highway Z. I grew in the area and have now lived in Madison for the last 10 years. The Pleasant Ridge Store is one of those great examples of grassroots success. 15-20 years ago the place was a dump, and now it is a local favorite. If I may ask, what were you doing in southwestern WI?

    Carmenon June 2, 2010 @ 12:45 AM:

    Is High Life in a can really that rare on the East coast?

    Michael Williamson June 2, 2010 @ 1:11 AM:

    Who said anything about High Life being rare? And that cheese, that’s Wisconsin cheese.

    PeteScotchon June 2, 2010 @ 5:12 AM:

    Mouth watering. That last picture looks like old blighty.

    edwin jeanson June 2, 2010 @ 5:48 AM:

    Interesting! Thanks for posting.

    jbjoneson June 2, 2010 @ 9:49 AM:

    the champagne of hangovers. still, i want to be there.

    Tintinon June 2, 2010 @ 10:03 AM:

    When I lived in Chicago going to Wisconsin was called, “a trip behind the cheddar curtain.” You could’ve at least brought back a case of Special Export.

    sloanon June 2, 2010 @ 11:02 AM:

    My perfect burger! Roadside delicious. You’re making me want to do another road trip!
    Hope you don’t mind I reposted on my blog.

    Bickleson June 2, 2010 @ 12:56 PM:

    I was hoping that you’d give a shout out to Pleasant Ridge reserve cheese which is made right there…by Mike Gingrich.

    alas, this isn’t a food blog.

    And it looks like cojack cheese to me…(colby/monterey jack)

    A bit surprised that you don’t frequent Saxelby cheese monger in the Essex Street Market, Michael. Perhaps on one of your summer road trips you’ll load up with some provisions from Anne. (She only offers small artisanal american producers) She’s awesome! Billy Blue will knock your socks off! Yes, it is a Wisconsin cheese.

    Tintin-HA! Special Ex, why bother?

    Bickleson June 2, 2010 @ 12:57 PM:

    oh, and I likes the Leini sign. Such nostalgia for me.

    Matton June 2, 2010 @ 6:47 PM:

    I grew up down the way from Pleasant Ridge Store, and my parents are friends with the makers of the Pleasant Ridge cheese… looking forward to my return visit in July!

    jcon June 3, 2010 @ 11:30 AM:

    I second The Whip

    NJSSon June 4, 2010 @ 1:02 AM:

    You are at Pleasant Ridge and you drink a Miller High Life? Shoulda tried the Lake Louis. Warp Speed Scotch Ale. The addictive quality is similar to heroin.

    NJSSon June 4, 2010 @ 1:03 AM:

    Sorry it’s Lake Louie. Don’t tell Porter I miss spelled it……

    Terrion June 4, 2010 @ 12:22 PM:

    Charley, owner of PRidge, wants to thank you Michael and friends for the great publicity! I am Charley’s girlfriend and my family grew up on the Ridge. I have the fondest memories of riding my bike to the store for soda and ice cream as a child. Seeing what it has become over the last 10 years puts a smile on my face and transfers me back in time. The Ridge is a very unique and special place and would not be what it is without the wonderful people that come there, the treasures they bring, and the stories they share. If the walls could talk….

    Pleasant Ridge Reserve Cheese, Martha’s Mustard (Charley’s aunt) and Lake Louie rock!
    Come back soon!

    LKW Design Lofton June 6, 2010 @ 2:39 PM:

    I’m so happy I just stumbled across this. As a freelance designer for Lands’ End in Dodgeville, I often have to travel there & actually just returned. While I’m certainly a country girl myself, and not missing metropolitan dining options, I still wish there were some options beyond Subway & A&W. So I’ll be very excited to go check out the Pleasant Ridge store on my next visit in a couple weeks! I’ll have to spread the word to the locals, as they’ve never mentioned this when I’ve asked about dining options….unless their keeping it to themselves on purpose :)

    Michael Williamson June 7, 2010 @ 2:14 PM:

    Sometimes I go to the airport and get on the next flight out. This time that flight happened to go to Madison…

    vince kavaloskion June 7, 2010 @ 8:19 PM:

    The place is for real—but try the home-cooked breakfast on Sat. and Sunday mornings—fantastic…..and the Lake Louis beer —a an incredible local brew. But it is the people who make it—they will make friendly talk across tables and the laughter is pervasive….vince kavaloski

    Jack Rabbit Slimon June 9, 2010 @ 11:49 AM:

    Really dig the opposite page on the menu, with all the different pics of the various branding irons!!

    More pics up close?

    Larryon June 9, 2010 @ 4:44 PM:

    Wisconsin Burger = Anchor Bar, Superior WI. Nothing compares.

    ianon June 10, 2010 @ 9:32 AM:

    god bless America for places like this.

    Jonon June 10, 2010 @ 10:22 AM:

    I’m planning a trip here from Toronto now.

    That blasted ferry from Muskegon to Milwaukee is pushing the cost per bite of this burger into the stratosphere.

    Toronto>Sarnia>Muskegon (sleep in beachside motel)>Milwaukee (one night)> Pleasant Ridge Store> Madison (one night)>Milwaukee (another night)>Muskegon>Sarnia>Toronto.

    Tayloron June 12, 2010 @ 11:49 AM:

    I really hate to break it to everyone, but there are thousands of Pleasant Ridge Stores in the great state of Wisconsin. Don’t get me wrong, as a very proud Wisconsin native, I am extremely happy to hear that you enjoyed your stay and our amazing native cuisine. Its just that the corner of Z and ZZ just happens to be one of the thousands of Ma and Pop Bar and Grills with the “best burger ever!” Next time you’re around spend a little time in good old Milwaukee; great food, great beer, great people, and one of my favorite places to be during the summer months.

    Terry Hulseyon June 19, 2010 @ 7:26 PM:

    Your cheeseburger stand is close, real close. But here’s the real deal — from Texas, naturally — Kincaid’s in Fort Worth:

Comments are closed.