BEST RESTAURANT IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE - 2003
Easy Creek Bistro
Arkansaw, Wisconsin is 90 miles southeast of the Twin Cities, 45 miles west of Eau Claire, and roughly 2,000 miles away from Napa, California. But once you find the Easy Creek Bistro, you'll swear you're in that lush West Coast haven. Easy Creek is a country gem, hand wrought by co-owners Bill Rocheleau and Steve Knowlton from the remains of an abandoned old tavern. The bistro's sturdy polished wood bar, rescued from the old Pepin Hotel, draws the area's mix of artists, farmers, and professors to live music and gossip. Chef Knowlton's fresh, eclectic menu garners kudos from that radio Road Food duo, Michael and Jane Stern. It shines with local fare and changes throughout the week, depending on what's coming from field and forest. You might find morel mushrooms and asparagus on polenta, smoked trout and local sheep cheese with penne pasta, or free-range chicken and garlic mashers. An actual creek runs right under the outdoor deck overlooking the woods, creating a shady nook for drinks and talk. Area artists perform during evenings throughout the week, and Easy Creek is a hot spot for all sorts of celebrations. Call for reservations and to confirm hours. Check out the website for a listing of nearby events and activities (art fairs, river rambles, bike trails, canoe rentals) and plan a weekend fling.