KK Fiske Restaurant and the Granary
1177 Main Road, Detroit Harbor, WI, USA
KK Fiske Restaurant and the Granary Detroit Harbor Reviews
KK Fiske Restaurant and the Granary Sep 24, 2008
My ride dropped me at the Granary, a unique bar and grill that contains a rich and colorful collection of local history. Its gray timber loft and high shelves display island antiques and artifacts from generations past. The building itself was moved from an old farm on the Wisconsin mainland and reassembled on the present site by Ken Koyen, a third generation Islander and the only remaining commercial fisherman on the island.
He also owns the adjoining KK Fiske Restaurant (fiske is Danish for fish). Visiting passersby crane their necks doing double-takes and often click their cameras at the 'Fresh Lawyers' sign painted in the window of that year round restaurant. The sign refers to the eel-like burbot which is a delicious, slightly sweet, white meat fish that is a freshwater cousin of the cod. Ken nets the waters daily between Jackson Harbor and Rock Island to catch lawyers and whitefish for his restaurant. When asked "Why lawyer?", he explains that the fish is a "bottom-feeder with its heart in its ass." That, of course, is anatomically correct for the burbot's heart is in its rear end behind a large liver. One reason lawyers are not popular nation-wide is that they must be served fresh. Once frozen and thawed, the predators become rubbery. Also, instead of having to be scaled, the spineless lawyer must be skinned.
I sought lawyer deep-fried in a basket with french-fries and coleslaw. (It is also available broiled or boiled in a complete dinner.) Supplies are limited to the daily catch and I arrived a little to late for that favored island treat. Since my first sampling years ago, I was hooked.
The KK Fiske Restaurant is also home to the world famous Washington Island Fish Boil each Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. A huge iron pot of potatoes, onions, and whitefish is suspended over a road-side wood-fire and boiled in a timed sequence. At just the right moment Ken tosses a cup of fuel beneath the simmering concoction to ignite a brilliant ball of fire that boils it over. The result is another excellent meal indigenous to the island. The KK Fiske is the only full-service restaurant open year round on Washington Island serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
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