Bring a cooler. Every year we go to visit some foodie friends who live in Algoma, which is just south of Door County. We take the cooler and bring back the food.
Algoma is in Kewaunee county which is primarily an agricultural area with a little tourism along the lake. Sort of Door County's honest and hard working sister. There are some great and reasonable food places (not restaurants) in and around Algoma including Salmon's Meats in beautiful Luxemburg, County Ovens in Forestville (they process, dry and otherwise do nice things with cherries so you can enjoy that flavor year round - the dried cherries, frozen cherry juice concentrate and chocolate covered dried cherries are big hits). You can get Country Ovens by mail/web order as well.
There are also multiple cheese shops in the area, the best for my money being Renard's up route 42 north of Algoma. And because you are not in Door, prices are quite good - check out the aged white cheddar.
But the best is Bearcat's. This is a shrine to smoked fish and seafood in general. Prices are very good (smoked salmon filet for $5.99 is just about the highest price), quality is the best, and it is so fresh that if you hang around a bit, you can get it warm as Bearcat brings it out of the smoker. In addition to the smoked fish, they also pickle everything, inclduing whitefish (great), salmon (good), smelt this year (not great for me). It is a light, slightly sweet pickling. They also have something called Blind Robins, which are smoked herring. I have never seen them before, so maybe someone can tell me about the origins. The flavor is very close to anchovies and I buy a bunch and use them for close to a year as a seasoning and topping.
Do not miss the chubs, smoked trout, smoked whitefish and cajun-flavored smoked whitefish sausage. My only criticism is that Bearcat is getting a little too fashionable and offering seasoned, smoked fish, not just the pure thing, IMO. They also usually sell fresh Shittakes in season. No, I have no connection with Bearcat's, but I am a fan. Open 7 days and they work hard, so I suppose they do not need this endorsement, but don't miss it. Oh yeah, they also offer a wide range of frozen and prepared seafoods, canned stuff and even some souvenir items, but I have never gotten past the smoked, and pickled offerings.
From the Algoma Chamber:
Bearcat's Fish House
295 4th St., Hwy 42, Algoma (920) 487-2372 or (920) 487-3549
From whitefish and chubs to scallops and lobster-more than 50 varieties of fish and seafood. Large store; easy access; ice; smoked fish; fresh fish; seafood; will custom smoke or freeze your fish; cheese and sausage; fish spreads and pickled fish; gifts and souvenirs; cookbooks. Included Bearcat's mini golf. Fun for the whole family. Fish house open year-round, 7 days a week.
The mini-golf is pretty pitiful...
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