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Local restaurant group bringing fine dining to Wisconsin Dells

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Local restaurant group bringing fine dining to Wisconsin Dells


Waterparks, riverboats and … fine dining? That’s the plan for a new destination coming to Wisconsin Dells, thanks in part to local restaurant group Morrissey Hospitality, which will open the Original 1855 Dawn Manor Restaurant in January 2025 with Uphoff Resorts.

The new project is inside the historic (and relocated) Dawn Manor and will be a period-themed restaurant, bar and speakeasy. According to a release, the house was built in 1855 by Capt. Abraham Vanderpoel, “a personal friend of Lincoln’s and a signer of the Wisconsin Constitution.” Past guests included Frank Lloyd Wright, Agnes Moorehead and Andrew Carnegie.

Just a few miles from the home’s original site, the house is being re-created with many original materials, including the Potsdam sandstone exterior, stained glass, hardware, handmade grand staircase and more. The new era of Dawn Manor will span more than 12,000 square feet, including a three-story restaurant with seven themed dining rooms that explore different areas of 19th-century history.

Wisconsin chefs Justin Draper and Jayson Pettit will draw inspiration from the era to create the all-day American menu. In addition to the food, there will be roaming musical and theatrical performers to enhance the experience. The lower level will warp ahead to a 1930s speakeasy with Prohibition-era cocktails, entertainment and a wine cave. Outside, an expansive patio deck will overlook Mirror Lake with views of the dam.

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Back home, Morrissey Hospitality is the group behind the St. Paul Grill, St. Paul Hotel, Tria, Freight House Restaurant and more.

Nashville Coop brings chicken and spice to Richfield

Nashville Coop in Richfield is open for business (6600 Penn Av. S., nashvillecoop.com). Back in early June, the spicy chicken finger restaurant teased that the announcement was imminent, but instead quietly opened its doors last week and will host an official grand opening July 11. Open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., this location joins the original in St. Paul and another in Stadium Village along with a lineup of Nashville Coop food trucks.

Founded by Arif Mohamed and his father Mohamed Omer in the summer of 2020, the two devised a recipe that married the hot chicken trend with Ethiopian spices to create a new fried chicken sensation that’s been racking up devotees ever since.

Mad Chicken’s first Minneapolis location underway

One more note from the spicy chicken beat. For those wondering what’s going on with all the construction inside the longtime Army Navy Surplus store in the Warehouse District (28 N. 4th St., Mpls.), it’s the about-to-be home of the state’s first Mad Chicken. In addition to the suddenly inescapable fried tenders, there are also wings, waffle fries, mac and cheese and more. The Milwaukee-based chain has been in expansion mode with 20 open or about-to-be-open restaurants. Look for an opening later this summer.

Hope Breakfast Bar finally opens in Woodbury

Hope Breakfast Bar, the all-day breakfast restaurant from Brian and Sarah Ingram’s Purpose Restaurants, has opened its newest location at 1930 Donegal Drive in Woodbury. The opening comes on the heels of a new Edina location, which joined outposts in Eagan, St. Louis Park and the original in St. Paul.

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The fast-expanding local restaurant group will also open a Hope Breakfast Bar and the pasta-focused restaurant Salt and Flour in the new North Loop Green development in Minneapolis (350 N. 5th St., Mpls.). The Ingrams also own and operate Apostle Supper Club in downtown St. Paul and the Gnome Craft Pub in Cathedral Hill.

The first Hope Breakfast Bar opened in fall 2019 in a historic fire station. The Ingrams have said, “We launched with a mission to give back to our community. In 2020, our lives were changed forever as we pivoted from a for-profit restaurant to a community kitchen following the first pandemic shutdown.” At its inception, the restaurant was committed to giving 3% of profits to a nonprofit arm. The nonprofit was ultimately dissolved, but the Ingrams’ charity work continues. Hope Breakfast Bar also stocks prayer cards on its tables for guests interested to fill out and leave behind.

The new Woodbury location is open daily from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

T.J. Hooligan’s expanding to Eden Prairie

Prior Lake’s T.J. Hooligan’s, the self-described “Applebees on steroids,” is coming to Eden Prairie. The neighborhood pub with grub is taking over the former Campiello’s space at 6411 City West Pkwy., right off Shady Oak Road.

Open since 1983, the restaurant sports an expansive menu with everything from breakfast biscuits and gravy to boom boom shrimp, burgers and balsamic-glazed chicken flatbread.

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Hooligan’s has been open since 1983, but was purchased two years ago by Mike Newlin. The Business Journal reports that the massive 5,470-square-foot Eden Prairie restaurant with the spectacular patio will undergo a massive remodeling to take it from the Italian countryside to a more Irish pub-style space. Look for a mid-September opening.

Puralima opening third location

The fast-casual Mexican spot Puralima, from the founder of Crisp & Green and Stalk & Spade, is opening its third location July 13 at 740 E. Lake St. in Wayzata. The Chipotle-esque eatery serves up tacos, burritos, bowls and salads with a variety of toppings and bases, from al pastor-style cauliflower and ahi tuna to the more traditional carnitas and barbacoa. More locations are on the horizon: Puralima’s website teases upcoming restaurants in Blaine, Eden Prairie, Maple Grove and Woodbury. Hours at the Wayzata restaurant will be from 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Thai Basil in Stillwater has closed

After 10 years of serving Thai cuisine just off Hwy. 36 in Stillwater, Thai Basil has closed. The Pioneer Press reports that chef/owner Phouvanh “Pooh” Soderquist and her husband sold the building. Soderquist opened Thai Basil restaurant after leaving her stake in the longtime St. Paul restaurant Pad Thai on Grand.

“We want to express our deepest gratitude to our loyal customers who have supported us,” Soderquist said in a message to fans.

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Wisconsin’s ‘Top Chef’ pays it forward, helps young chef follow her dreams

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Wisconsin’s ‘Top Chef’ pays it forward, helps young chef follow her dreams


MILWAUKEE — Chef Dan Jacobs has been busy since earning a top-three spot on season 21 of “Top Chef,” which featured many locations across Wisconsin.

He said being on the Bravo network cooking show was one of his longtime dreams. Jacobs credited all the people who supported him in his career with helping him fulfill it.

Now, he’s returning the favor by helping other chefs fulfill their dreams.

(Spectrum News 1/Wendy Strong)

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What You Need To Know

  • Chef Dan Jacobs has been busy since earning a top-three spot on season 21 of “Top Chef,” which featured many locations across Wisconsin
  • It’s a dream he’s had for a long time. Now, he’s returning the favor by helping other chefs fulfill their dreams
  • He joined young chef Kitty Storey to film the 204th episode of her show, “Cooking with Kitty.”
  • Jacobs and Kitty Storey have a similar mission to raise awareness for those in the disability community


Jacobs invited Kitty Storey, 17, from Wauwatosa to come cook with him at one of his Milwaukee restaurants, EsterEv. Together, they filmed the 204th episode of Kitty Storey’s show, “Cooking with Kitty.”

Kitty Storey, who has Down syndrome and autism, has earned quite a following on YouTube with her show. 

“This is an inspiring thing to be able to do,” said Jacobs. “I have a lot of requests for my time, but this is one of the things I really wanted, because to me, this is what it’s all about. This is why I went on ‘Top Chef.’ This is why I do the things I do, because I want to be able to show that anybody can do anything.”

Kitty’s mom, Kim Storey, helps her daughter put the show together. She shoots and edits every episode. Kim Storey said having her daughter was the best thing that ever happened to her.

(Spectrum News 1/Wendy Strong)

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How thankful I am that I get to be her mom, and that she was born to us,” she said.

Kim Storey said that her daughter was born prematurely, weighing only two pounds. She said the first time Kitty’s grandmother held her, she remembered her saying, “she’s just a baby kitty.” After that moment, the name stuck.

Kim and Kitty Storey started cooking together during the pandemic as part of a school assignment. It was a challenging time, as Kitty Storey’s school went entirely virtual. Kim Storey said she soon realized it was an opportunity to inspire and educate others by sharing the cooking segments.

“We’re doing it to give representation to people in the disability community, and a lot of people don’t realize that people with Down syndrome can also have autism,” she said.

(Spectrum News 1/Wendy Strong)

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Jacobs has a similar mission. He was diagnosed with the neuro-muscular disorder, Kennedy’s disease, eight years ago. Among the many challenges it presents, it affects the use of his arms and legs. It’s something he talked about on “Top Chef.”

“I love the idea of being a spokesperson, or somebody who inspires people who are differently abled,” he said. “It’s hard. None of this stuff is easy, like I wake up and I want to go back to bed. At the same time, you got to get up. You got to do what you got to do, because I do love this, and I love the fact that I’m inspiring other people.”

In his quest to inspire, Jacobs said he gets inspiration from Kitty Storey.

“Just her willingness to jump in and do anything, like I had her rolling out gnocchi. She takes instruction really well,” said Jacobs.

(Spectrum News 1/Wendy Strong)

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While filming the latest episode of “Cooking with Kitty,” Jacobs shared some advice with Kitty Storey and her mom.

“Don’t let anybody ever tell her no, that she can’t do something. Also, do what you love. Don’t do it just because you have to do it. Do it because you love it,” he said.



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Wildfire smoke moving into Wisconsin

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Wildfire smoke moving into Wisconsin


Highs in the mid 80s and sunny skies on Saturday!

We could see a couple of rain showers or thunderstorms in Northeast Wisconsin Saturday evening. No severe weather is expected.
This is due to a cold front draped over Northern Wisconsin. The front is also bringing some wildfire smoke to much of the Upper Midwest! This will cause minor impacts to Wisconsin – air quality could decrease.

Sunday comes with a chance for isolated showers across the neighborhoods with highs near 80 degrees.
Mostly Sunny conditions on Monday as highs climb into the low 80s.
A couple of rain showers and storms as we head into next week. Tuesday looks to have the best chance for widespread rain.





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Who Makes Wisconsin’s Mt. Rushmore of wide receivers?

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Who Makes Wisconsin’s Mt. Rushmore of wide receivers?


After a two-week break, we chug on with our positional Wisconsin Badgers Mr. Rushmores.

Today features a vitally important but recently star-deprived position: wide receiver. I suspect that this will create some robust discussions like running back, fullback, and quarterback did, so let’s get cracking.

Al Toon

I submit that there hasn’t been a Badger pass catcher in the history of the program as talented as 1995 UW Athletics Hall of Famer, Al Toon.

The two-time All-Big Ten first-team wide receiver was the complete package: size, speed, hands, and intangibles (not a bad arm, either), and left Madison for the Jets with then school records in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns.

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The fact that concussions robbed him of realizing his full NFL potential after being taken No. 10 overall and making three Pro Bowls is sad, but the fact remains that Toon’s contributions to the Wisconsin program (including wide receiver Nick Toon) are unmatched by any other Badger wideout.

Pat Richter

I’m going to address the elephant in the room right away: Richter was technically a tight end, but the reality is that he played wide receiver for Wisconsin (and was formally called a wideout later during his NFL career). I even saved him for this Mt. Rushmore rather than putting him on my TE one.

Although I submit that Richter’s finest moment came in early 1990 as Athletic Director when he made a very special hire, he was also one hell of a wide receiver for the Badgers.

A three-sport (!) varsity guy for Wisconsin and 1991 school Hall of Famer, Richter did his finest work as a football wide receiver, where he was a two-time first-team All-American and went for 11 catches and 163 yards in a 1962 Rose Bowl loss to USC.

He then parlayed his Badger career into an eight-year NFL stint after being selected in the first round by Washington in 1963.

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Richter has been a legendary figure in Madison for over 60 years and led the athletic department’s 1990s renaissance until he retired as AD in 2006. Just an absolute stud.

Lee Evans

This 2016 UW Athletics Hall of Fame member just did it all for Wisconsin.

His 3,468 yards and 27 touchdowns both still stand as school records, and he was part of one of the most iconic moments in program history in a 2003 upset of No. 1 Ohio State.

Evans still holds both of the top two single-season receiving yardage marks in program history. Not even a torn ACL in 2002 could derail his rising star, and Evans parlayed his Badger success into a solid eight-year NFL career where he retired with 6,008 yards and 43 touchdowns.

Fun fact: Evans once had 5 touchdowns in a single game vs Michigan State. For reference, six receiving touchdowns led the Badgers in 2023.

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Brandon Williams

Here’s where things get really hard. Jared Abbredaris has a very good argument for this spot, but in the end, Williams just barely gets the nod for his pure production and consistency with a bit less talent around him than Abbredaris had.

Williams’ touchdown numbers (10) weren’t splashy, but he was an unrivaled chain mover and always seemed to make key grabs.

202 catches for almost 3,000 career yards over four seasons are just a testament to his value and consistency. He currently sits No. 3 all-time in receiving yards and is tied for No. 1 in catches in school history.

Just Missed: Abbredaris. He deserves his own tier and if this were a 5 man mountain, he’d be on it. This is the first Mt. Rushmore snub that I actually feel badly about.

Honorable Mentions: Chris Chambers, Tony Simmons, Lee DeRamus, Alex Erickson.

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