Author: Jill Robbins
As a four-time TBEX attendee, one of the things I’ve loved most about exploring my host city is the food. I recently spent a weekend in Eau Claire, and let me tell you – anyone who has signed up for TBEX summer 2023 is in for a treat. Although I didn’t quite eat my way through town, and I’m sure I missed more delicious spots than I tried, here’s a list to get you started. See you in Wisconsin this summer!
205 S Barstow St, Eau Claire, WI 54701
The Informalist, located inside The Lismore Hotel, was one of my Eau Claire faves. We had an early Saturday breakfast of eggs and omelets and a late-night wood-fired pizza dinner. I’m not a vegetarian or a vegan, but I don’t like much meat and found that the Informalist’s menu suited my taste buds.
Saturday and Sunday brunch are very popular – reservations are recommended.
The Nucleus Cafe
405 Water St, Eau Claire, WI 54703
The Nucleus Cafe serves breakfast, brunch, and lunch. We had a late breakfast on a Sunday and loved the quirky, retro-style atmosphere. The menu has a variety of egg dishes, smoothies, and sweet breakfast items, such as lemon ricotta pancakes. There’s also a dedicated vegan menu.
Valley Burger Company
1004 Menomonie St, Eau Claire, WI 54703
Valley Burger Company opened in 2022 and immediately garnished praise as one of the best burgers in the Chippewa Valley. The space is on the smaller side, so I recommend visiting during off-peak times or being ready for a wait.
If you love sinking your teeth into a good burger, this is the place to be. If burgers aren’t your thing, I recommend skipping this one. The menu is small and very burger and fry-focused. If you’re not eating meat, you can substitute a portobello mushroom for the patty on all burgers. A full bar + cocktail menu is available.
The District Pub & Grille
101 Graham Ave, Eau Claire, WI 54701
The District serves up a variety of food – appetizers, salads, handhelds, pizzas, and flatbreads – in a fun, casual atmosphere. There are several screens in the bar area to keep up with the sport of the moment. We just did apps and small bites here because we were full from lunch, but the cheese curds are a definite don’t miss. They also have a spicy curd on the menu.
44 North (+ 44 Below)
1488 Front Porch Pl, Altoona, WI 54720
Altoona is a very short drive from downtown Eau Claire. 44 North Gastropub is located upstairs, and 44 Below, a more casual bar and arcade (with a dedicated ice cream counter), is downstairs.
The extensive menu has a variety of appetizers, sandwiches, and larger plates. 44 Below focuses more on handhelds and shareable appetizers. See both menus here. While I would not call either venue formal, 44 North has a more elevated vibe.
Houligans Steak and Seafood Pub
415 S Barstow St, Eau Claire, WI 54701
Houligan’s has been an Eau Claire tradition since 1975. The Chippewa Valley’s premier restaurant located in historic downtown Eau Claire features premium cut steaks, and seafood served in a casual pub setting. Check out their fish fry if you’re in town on a Friday.
203 N Barstow St, Eau Claire, WI 54703
Located in downtown Eau Claire, this woman and minority-owned restaurant serves local, fresh home-style Thai food. Thai Orchard offers dine-in and takeout.
Olson’s Ice Cream
80 S Barstow St, Eau Claire, WI 54701
We visited Eau Claire during winter, but that was no reason to miss out on ice cream. Olson’s Ice Cream is famous in this region and has a Chippewa Falls location.
Pro tip: Skip dessert at The District and walk across the street to Olson’s for a cone.
Eau Claire Cheese and Deli
1636 Harding Ave, Eau Claire, WI 54701
While Eau Claire Cheese and Deli isn’t a place for a sit-down meal, it’s don’t miss for grabbing lunch to go and for buying your selection of Wisconsin cheeses you’ll surely want to take home with you.
The small space is chock full of delicious local cheeses and other deli foods. I found myself wishing I’d driven to Wisconsin from Texas or brought an extra suitcase for all the cheese I wanted to take home, so if you’re a cheese lover, you’ll want to plan for how you’re going to leave the state with all the cheese you want.
Shift Cyclery and Coffee Bar
615 Graham Ave, Eau Claire, WI 54701
Looking for a cozy place to have a coffee or hot cocoa? SHIFT is a fun, quirky place to check out.
SHIFT Cyclery & Coffee Bar is a full-service bicycle repair shop, craft coffee bar, and all-around creative lounge in downtown Eau Claire. Find your new ride, bicycle, and coffee gear all in one stop. Whether you want to buy a bike, get your bike repaired, or just have coffee, SHIFT is a fun, welcoming, and inclusive space to check out.
The Brewing Projekt
1807 N Oxford Ave, Eau Claire, WI 54703
The Brewing Projekt serves locally made, stubbornly crafted beer that’s brewed right in Eau Claire. The brewery is family-friendly.
Looking for other food and beverage inspiration in Eau Claire? Start with Visit Eau Claire’s Instagram feed.
I was hosted by Visit Eau Claire.
A version of this article was originally published on Ripped Jeans and Bifocals.