Jefferson County Fish Dish Review of the Wayside Inn, Jefferson

Published On: Friday, September 6, 2013By Categories: Blog, Restaurant ReviewsTags: , , ,


The Wayside Inn – Jefferson
W4820 US-18 – Jefferson WI 53549
(920) 674-6766


The Wayside Inn is the quintessential rural “Wisconsin Supper Club.” Set amid cornfields and fresh mown hay The Wayside Inn is situated on Highway 18, just east of St. Coletta and the intersection with Highway Y.

Indeed, The Wayside Inn looks as if it were placed by the Supper Club gods – as if it has always been there since time began – The Wayside Inn just belongs in that spot.

The very first thing you notice as you enter from the spacious parking lot is that The Wayside is neat as a pin and clean as a whistle.

If you live in Jefferson County, you’ll probably recognize some familiar faces in the crowd as The Wayside Inn is a staple for those who live here and in the know.  Friends greet each other, hugs are exchanged, and even if it’s your first time visiting The Wayside, you’ll soon be taken with the friendliness of patrons and staff alike.

We were seated right on time on a recent Friday night (reservations are accepted accepted for groups of 6 or more on the always busy Friday nights.) The rambling dining room and bar at The Wayside Inn was jammed with patrons waiting for a yacking and cocktailing, while waiting for a table – a very good sign of great food to come.

Our waitress recognized us from our visits to the now defunct Vondre’s Supper Club in Milford, a welcome familiarity making us feel right at home.

Drinks are reasonable as are the prices on the menu.

In addition, there are always tons of Friday Fish specials. Check out the whiteboard that greeted us:

The Wayside’s signature loaf of warm bread was served immediately.

We ordered the Beer Battered Cod, Perch, Bluegill and Baked Cod. All were outstanding, piled high, hot and perfectly representative of the highest standards of Wisconsin Fish Fry standards.

Lake Perch: the real deal, piled high and perfectly breaded = wonderfully tasty.  Some of the best lake perch we’ve ever had, bar none.  I’m not sure what was more impressive: the quantity or the quality.
Bluegill: You have to respect any fish fry that offers bluegill, as it’s a rare treat. The Wayside’s bluegill is simply is piled to the rafters (there were literally 18-20 pieces on the plate), served piping hot, and had such a wonderfully delicate flavor. Get the bluegill – it’s amazing.

Beer Battered Cod: Three luscious filets of incredibly delicious cod, lightly battered and fried to perfection.  The batter featured a slight hint of salt, pepper, and paprika. Wish I’d ordered the all you could eat option because I think I would have kept on eating until closing time.

Baked cod: The fish was flaky, tender, flavorful, and cooked perfectly served in the “Poor Man’s Lobster” tradition with drawn butter. Hey, you’re in Wisconsin!

The sides were great from the creamy cole slaw to the potato pancakes. Perfect!


Service:          5 Stars

Food:             4.75 Stars

Ambience:       5 Stars

Overall Value:  4.95 Stars


Driving away, I happened to look back at the timeless Wayside Inn and had to blink twice. I couldn’t believe my eyes. It looked like a silent mist was enveloping The Wayside & strains of “How Are Things In Glocca Mora” were following and floating on the night air. Then we rounded the bend, The Wayside Inn disappeared from view and the spell was broken. “I’ll be back” I murmured to myself….”I’ll be back.”

PS:   If you’re from out of town and used to using plastic…No Checks or credit here: CASH ONLY. (They have an ATM machine – even in Glocca Mora! – just in case.)

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!


Sprouting Acres contest winner June 2022


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