Jefferson County Fish Dish Review Crew – The Elias Inn – Watertown
The Elias Inn
200 N. Second Street
We are told to arrive before 5:00pm, or face a daunting wait. I arrive first. Tammie who runs the front of the house, suggests a visit with Slim, who runs the bar; and that I should just let her know when the whole party has arrived.
A perfectly prepared brandy old fashioned in hand, I survey the premises.
Distinctly reminiscent of a Bavarian lodge, with a beautiful dark wood back bar, the large gathering area funnels into a cozy dining room with 13 tables, already mostly filled with hungry diners.
By the time the last of our party arrives, fifteen minutes later, The Elias Inn is in full swing, with patrons crowding the bar. Word to the wise: get there early or be prepared for a wait.
A Lazy Susan is a turntable (rotating tray) placed on a table or countertop to aid in moving food. Invented in the 17th century, popularized by Thomas Jefferson, then by Henry Ford, who used an enormous one on his camping trips in the 1920s to avoid bringing a full contingent of servants along with his guests the term “Lazy Susan” was officially added to Webster’s dictionary in 1933. You will find this venerable device in the middle of every table at the Elias Inn.
Immediately upon being seated, this ingenious contraption is filled by our friendly and most certainly not lazy server with fresh cole slaw, baked beans, mayo-style potato salad and seriously-as-good-as-my-mother’s, hot German potato salad. Wow!
Our server cheerfully explains that the menu is fixed on Fridays, (no ordering off the menu,) as three servers place the family-style steaming platters with all you can eat fried & baked cod, broasted chicken, French fries and soft rye bread on the table. Both fish dishes were flaky and moist, with the chicken lightly battered, crispy and tender. The fries were broasted as well, with a crunch in every delectable bite.
On a recent Friday, your fish dish review crew twirled that Lazy Susan ’til she got dizzy, emptying and refilling the sides – especially the hot German potato salad, whilst ordering several additions to the perfectly prepared fish and chicken entrees.
We topped the meal off by quaffing Slim’s brandy Alexander’s, a most satisfying and delicious end to a perfect Wisconsin supper club Friday fish fry excursion.
We all agreed that we never felt rushed or pressured to “turn the table,” and that the service was most attentive and sincere.
John’s kitchen turns out food that is simple elegance: a limited menu, perfectly executed…right down to the tartar sauce, which had an indescribable hint of sweetness.
Would you like to take a step back in time to the 1950’s? That was a time when the term “supper club” in Wisconsin was synonymous with impeccable service, expert, friendly bar staff, clean premises, outstanding food and don’t forget those Lazy Susan’s.
All owners since the early 1980’s, John handles the kitchen, Slim commandeers the bar and Tammie the dining area taking pride of ownership to a whole new 21st century level. The Elias Inn in Watertown maintains these core values of splendid hospitality serving five days a week.
They are closed Sunday & Monday.
The Elias Inn is a jewel in Jefferson County’s dining crown.
Don’t get no better’n The Elias Inn, boys & girls.
Katie was the Executive Director of the Lake Mills Main Street Program from 2011 to 2019 and was the Secretary for the Jefferson County Tourism Council. In 2019, she retired to explore a new fashion degree and travel throughout the world. Katie was also a writer and contributed a great deal of copy for our website and printed guide. She was a great asset to our organization and we'll miss her!