Appleton’s restaurants have provided some of my fondest memories from my time at Lawrence, from the evenings going out with friends to indulge in a huge dinner after a rough week, to the blissful satisfying of burger cravings after a couple of hours at the gym. Of course, I haven’t been to every restaurant in Appleton. But I’ve come to appreciate the fare we have right around the corner. These local restaurants are here for you; they’re the moments when you say to yourself, “I deserve this.” So, may this list serve as a guide for your future best memories in Appleton.
#8. Muncheez Pizzeria – 600 W. College Ave. [Note: this restaurant has closed since this list was published]
Muncheez makes the cut for being the closest place to get decent pizza at a decent price. They’ve also been there for me through my late-night hankerings for pizza; they’re open until 3 a.m. all week. What’s not to love about a place that encourages you to eat pizza after midnight? Their menu offers whole pizzas or just by the slice.
Walkable from campus? Yes. It’s about a seven-block hike.
Favorite dish: Veggiefest
#7. Home Burger Bar – 205 W. College Ave.
You can be sure of getting a big, well-cooked burger served on a cute red tray at Home Burger Bar. Here’s two more important words for you: truffle fries. As good as the burgers are, I would stop in just for this trendy appetizer. The service isn’t always great but the food will be quality. Maybe one day I will be brave enough to try the PB&J Bacon burger. One day …
Walkable from campus? Yes. Just a few blocks down College Avenue.
Favorite dish: Steakhouse burger
#6. Culver’s – 3631 E. Calumet St.
Culver’s isn’t unique to Appleton, of course, but I would be remiss if I didn’t bring this Wisconsin-born chain to your attention. This is the place for quality fast food. I go through phases of intense cravings for one of their signature Butterburgers, followed by an amazing chocolate malt. Try the rotating custard Flavor of the Day. Try a Concrete Mixer (custard with candy mix-ins). Try it all. Here’s the menu. No, it’s not health food, but it’s made fresh and it’s good for your soul.
Walkable from campus? No. You’ll need to find some wheels for this one.
Favorite dish: Original Butterburger
#5. Antojitos Mexicanos – 204 E. College Ave.
Yes, you get free warm chips and three kinds of salsa while you wait for your food. If you don’t fill up on that, you have a wide range of dishes to choose from. The menu is huge! I like to inspect it for about 15 minutes and always end up with the fish tacos (go on Tuesdays and get them for $5!) This place gets pretty busy, so going for an early dinner is optimal.
Walkable from campus? Definitely. Just two blocks west of Drew Street.
Favorite dish: Fish tacos
#4. Katsu-Ya – 338 W. College Ave.
As a sushi lover, I am so grateful to have a place like Katsu-Ya right down the street. You can go alone for a light dinner and get a couple rolls of great sushi for pretty cheap. This restaurant also wonderfully caters to social dinners with your friends. I love the group effort of agreeing on which rolls everyone wants, enjoying them together, discussing which ones you liked best and ordering some more. It’s a very rewarding dining experience.
Walkable from campus? Certainly. A six-block hike west on College Avenue.
Favorite dish: Dragon Roll
#3. Harmony Pizza Café – 432 W. Wisconsin Ave. [Note: this restaurant has closed since this list was published]
Harmony Pizza has the best pizza in Appleton, and your patronage supports a local business started by Lawrence alumni. Choose a pizza from their vegan-friendly menu or build your own; it’s all made with locally sourced organic ingredients. The atmosphere doesn’t suffer when it gets busy. Everyone seems to know everyone, and you might run into some professors during your meal.
Walkable from campus? Maybe. It would be a serious walk, north to Wisconsin Avenue and then another eight blocks or so to the west.
Favorite dish: The Beetza
#2. Basil Café – 1513 N. Richmond St.
Basil Café is my favorite among Appleton’s Thai and Vietnamese fare. Your experience starts as soon as you sit down when you get a pitcher of cool, fragrant coconut water at your table while you peruse the menu. Anything you get will hit the spot, from noodle-based soups and salads to curry and stir fry. I cannot wait to try more of what this place has to offer.
Walkable from campus? Probably not. It’s north of Wisconsin on Richmond. May need to find a ride.
Favorite dish: Kow Boon
#1. India Darbar – 2333 W. Wisconsin Ave.
Wow. How do I transcribe the sound of my stomach growling? This is the best Indian food in the area. Just thinking about the menu is making me so hungry. You have to start with nan — garlic and stuffed are my favorites — and from there, just go crazy. There is so much to choose from and you can’t go wrong. Come with a group of friends, decide on a few dishes that look good and share them!
Walkable from campus? No. You’ll want to catch a ride for this one. But well worth the effort.
Favorite dish: All of it
These are just my picks. Have you also had great meals at Appleton’s restaurants? Tell us where in our social media comments.