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)

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

    Good post. More cheese burger. Less cheesy PR.

    Michael Williams on 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?

    Sam on June 1, 2010 4:58 PM:

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

    nick on 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.

    jeremy on June 1, 2010 4:59 PM:

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

    jeff on 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 Williams on June 1, 2010 5:15 PM:

    Context? Never heard of it.

    Caroline on 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 Quinn on 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.

    robbie on 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.

    Jason on June 1, 2010 6:11 PM:

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

    AB on 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 land on June 1, 2010 7:39 PM:

    well, that’s pretty fantastic.

    Kyle Dunn on 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.

    unitedstyle on 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 Dahlberg on 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.

    Bickles on June 1, 2010 10:26 PM:

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

    Sean D on 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?

    Carmen on June 2, 2010 12:45 AM:

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

    Michael Williams on June 2, 2010 1:11 AM:

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

    PeteScotch on June 2, 2010 5:12 AM:

    Mouth watering. That last picture looks like old blighty.

    edwin jeans on June 2, 2010 5:48 AM:

    Interesting! Thanks for posting.

    jbjones on June 2, 2010 9:49 AM:

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

    Tintin on 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.

    sloan on 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.

    Bickles on 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?

    Bickles on June 2, 2010 12:57 PM:

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

    Matt on 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!

    jc on June 3, 2010 11:30 AM:

    I second The Whip

    NJSS on 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.

    NJSS on June 4, 2010 1:03 AM:

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

    Terri on 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 Loft on 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 Williams on 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 kavaloski on 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 Slim on 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?

    Larry on June 9, 2010 4:44 PM:

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

    ian on June 10, 2010 9:32 AM:

    god bless America for places like this.

    Jon on 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.

    Taylor on 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 Hulsey on 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:

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