Ahh, Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
One hour north of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Three hours north of Chicago. Creator of Oshkosh B’Gosh, which made little kids look like they were train conductors. Area code 920, city of lakes and rivers.
I’m glad we got all of that out of the way.
Oh wait — I forgot. It’s hated for its choice of food. That’s what non-natives tell me, anyway.
As someone who’s lived in Chicago and Los Angeles, they’re not wrong. However, they’re not completely right. There are a few hidden gems, and I’m here to tell you what they are.
Chances are, you will pass through Oshkosh sometime in your life-like it or not. We’re inevitable. You may as well treat yourself when you do.
For a good time: Three One Four Pizza
Before you say “ugh, another pizza place” and close out of this article, just know that Three One Four Pizza is way different. They’re dedicated to bringing California love to Midwest recipes. With crazy flavors like Battlesauce Riblactica and Pig Dillbowski, there’s no shortage of toppings for every palate. This delicious pizzeria keeps you coming back weekly with new flavors, and they’ll listen to your suggestions on social media. The best part? It has a cozy, casual little bar with local craft beers and imported wine. The people are so friendly that you feel like they’re your friends when you come to collect your pie.
What’s even more interesting is that the restaurant is owned by a West Coast-loving, award-winning, Oshkosh-local musician who needed a something to do during COVID-19. Touring was shut down, so owner Travis Lee turned to his next talent: making food. He also got his friends from Megadeth on board to visit the store, meet fans, and sell bassist David Ellefson’s coffee. Basically, Three One Four is your VIP ticket to the West Coast without having to fly. How cool is that?
For a romantic date: Fuki Asian Fusion and Sushi
Come for the sushi, stay for the, well, anything. Whether your jam is General Tso’s chicken (soo good here) or Pad Thai (my boyfriend is obsessed) you won’t be disappointed. They have Asian-themed decorations and comfortable booths with a chef chopping up fish in the middle that gives you that “we’re in another world” experience. It’s definitely different than just getting take-out, but you can order that here, too.
To hide in your lair and devour at night: Niko’s Gyros & Insomnia Cookies
There’s only one thing I order from Niko’s Gyros, and it’s because I can’t move on. It’s beyond delicious. It’s what I go for in the middle of the night after most restaurants are closed, or in the middle of the day for a nice, warm meal. I order the bacon and chicken melt in a flatbread wrap with tomatoes and lettuce. With a side of Cajun fries and Tzatziki sauce.
Then, if I’m feeling naughty, I immediately walk upstairs to Insomnia Cookies after collecting my order and get freshly baked chocolate chip, M&M, and double chocolate cookies for dessert. They stay open until midnight.
Now that’s heavenly.
To escape reality: Los Jaripeos
The chicken burrito, combined with the ever-lasting margarita deal, is not something you should pass up when you’re on Main St.
You want authentic Mexican food in Oshkosh?
You got it.
When you sit down, you’ll hear crazy, fast-paced music in another language and you’ll be surrounded by 50,000 chairs and booths and tables with custom paint of, ironically, the same picture, but it’s a great place to get a taste of Mexico and wet your whistle.
To travel just 20 more minutes for: Solea Mexican Grill
I know. I just reviewed Los Jaripeos, and I’m sorry. When you want an authentic Mexican restaurant that you keep going back to over and over, you have to drive 20 minutes to Neenah, WI to get a taste of what I mean.
When you’re at Solea, you’ll be greeted by the friendly staff. Chill out with a Dos Equis on tap or a fancifully crafted margarita. You HAVE to try the deep-friend chicken flautas or the healthy chicken tostadas (basically a loaded salad on top of a corn tortilla).
The second option is also cheaper, but when you indulge in sour cream for your flautas and pair it with beans and rice, you’re going to feel like you’re on top of the world. If you get the tostadas, you’re going to feel so fresh, so clean, even though you feel like you’ve just indulged.
All in all, those outsiders are way wrong
When people want to convince you that Oshkosh has nothing to offer except for little kids’ clothing and an outlet mall, you can load up your arsenal of comebacks and prove ’em wrong. Or, you know, you could just invite them out to dinner or lunch and let them see for themselves.
Originally published at https://vocal.media.