‘Babes’ is a 4-star greasy spoon

Thomas Fitzgerald, Staff Writer

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I’m an uncultured northern Wisconsin hillbilly. I grew up on Friday fish fry and “greasy spoon” cafe food. If you called Babes Grill & Bar a “greasy spoon” you’d be half right—the fork was greasy too.

Fortunately, I came equipped with two forks of my own, attached to my wrists, and when I bit into Babes’ Jalapeño Bacon Burger, it was like coming home. Chipotle cream cheese, thick cut bacon, fried jalapeño coins, and a side of coleslaw washed down with a glass of rye before a backdrop of Wednesday night trivia — there isn’t a more Wisconsin dinner that doesn’t involve Spotted Cow and cheese curds.

The appetizer list was a bit scattered, giving me quite a random assortment of options, from seared ahi tuna to nachos. So minor nitpick: settle on a theme, ok? But the bruschetta was good. Again, I’m a northwoods hick, I don’t eat a lot of bruschetta. It seemed nice, though maybe a bit out of place at a restaurant where the table cloth is a sheet of brown paper, decorated by a cup of crayons. Didn’t have a chance to sample those, so I can’t vouch for the flavor.

I confess I was put off by the name of the salad my wife ordered, the Crunchy Peanut Thai Quinoa Salad, not because that doesn’t sound delicious (which it was) it’s just so many words. Call it your Thai Quinoa Salad. That way I know we’re getting a little adventurous with the sauce, prompting me to read the fine print, and I’ll still be pleasantly surprised by the delectable crunch.

All told, setting aside their inconsistent food theme and aggressive menu font, Babes was a classic Wisconsin dining experience at a reasonable price, with excellent service and a cheerful atmosphere. I will absolutely be returning for seconds.

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