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Fast casual, fast fresh, fast comfort and all Wisconsin…MACS is a new concept in dining with its roots in a family favorite-Macaroni and Cheese. As all Wisconsinites know, everything is better cheesy. Using their delicious house recipe as a canvas, Jackie and Nick have experimented like mad cheese scientists, combining favorite comfort flavors into a skillet of perfection, each one cradled within the curves of traditional mac and cheese.
Enjoy MACS in the reclaimed rustic industrial interior. Order at the counter, and find a seat-your skillet will be served shortly with its garnish of MACS signature toasties. The lively graphic wall mural depicts Wisconsin’s trail of cheese and Midwest tradition.
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Just in the last few months another handful of new businesses have opened, ranging from a gourmet mac and cheese restaurant to hunting and fishing options to two cloverleaves of baseball diamonds.
First up, food, as in that gooey guilty pleasure known as mac and cheese. MACS Macaroni and Cheese Shop, located in the downtown river district right on Broadway, has a menu loaded with options for both grown-up and kid tastes. For gourmands, there are flavor combos like Memphis Mac with three kinds of cheeses, pulled pork, BBQ sauce and onions, and Popeye’s Mac, with spinach, caramelized onions and mushrooms added to provolone and mozzarella. Kids will likely go for the Mama’s Mac with a trio of cheeses smothering a fried hot dog. Tip: The interior design of this diner is worth a visit, with its contemporary industrial feel punctuated with funky artwork, retro chairs and reclaimed barn wood for tables and countertops.
Just a few doors down from MACS is the new Dells Distillery, a Western-themed restaurant and bar that already has a fan following for its specialty tator tot creations which range from Cheeseburger Tots to Philly Tots. There’s also a full menu of sandwiches featuring the restaurant’s signature fire-braised meats, and a kids’ menu too. As for libations, the Dells Distillery has its own distilled vodka, whiskey, brandy and rum, and they’re even offering a VIP Barrel Service where they’ll tap a keg right at your table.
Speaking of youth sports, eight baseball diamonds have opened at the Woodside Sports Complex in nearby Mauston. The complex is the largest all-turf, multi-sport facility in the Midwest with four all-turf baseball and four all-turf softball fields. Full concessions and berm seating make this a nice spot for family spectators turning a baseball tournament into a Wisconsin Dells “sportcation.”
For those who know just how good Wisconsin Dells is for fishing, you may fall for this new attraction hook, line and sinker, so to speak. It’s Redbeard Bowfishing and here’s how it works: A bowfishing captain takes you out on the Wisconsin River where you go after carp using a traditional bow, crossbow or throwing spear. If you’re visiting the Dells with a group of friends, consider a private charter.
Add to these the previously announced world’s first all-wooden looping roller coaster at Mt. Olympus Water & Theme Park, Dells Lumberjack Show, impressive animal exhibits at Timbavati Wildlife Park, plus fall-themed attractions at Country Bumpkin Farm Market, and it’s difficult to argue with the assertion that a Wisconsin Dells fall getaway is in order.
See All Wisconsin Dells Fall Attractions
Vacationers typically want two things from a getaway. They want “new” as in new and fun attractions, shops and restaurants as a way to keep it fresh and feed their explorer side. And they want “old” as in charming, classic, please-don’t-ever-change to feed their nostalgic side. It’s a real feat when a destination can deliver both. Wisconsin Dells is one such destination and they do it best in their downtown river district.
So let’s start with the modern. Might be easiest to classify these as the “uptown” offerings of downtown Dells. There’s a contemporary, hip vibe that’s taking hold in the 200 block of Broadway. Here you’ll find High Rock Café, an eatery with a foodie following thanks to its ingenious seasonal menus and craft cocktails. Down the block are MACS - Macaroni And Cheese Shop that’s as far from the box version as you can get, and Monk’s Bar & Grill and Dells Distillery restaurant and bar. Across the street is CheeseCake Heaven, part deli, part bakery, with homemade goodies, including to-die-for secret recipe cheesecakes in tons of flavors.
What’s a vibrant downtown without entertainment. On warm summer evenings you’ll see crowds gathering at the corner of Eddy and Broadway to enjoy a salsa band one night, a polka band another, or maybe cloggers or a high-energy drum line another.
For grown-ups, the festivities can continue inside at Showboat Saloon, with its prohibition past, or in their open-air beer garden known as Mama’s Garage. There’s a similar indoor/outdoor combo at The Keg Bar & Grill/Baja Cantina. For family fun, try Wild Fun Zone, Wizard Quest and Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum.
Now for the charming. The classic boat tours of the Upper Dells of the Wisconsin River, courtesy Dells Boat Tours®, depart from downtown Dells where Broadway dips to meet River Road. So do the jet boat tours. Take a turn on the RiverWalk for a preview of the scenic beauty that’s in store, and make a point to pop in the H.H. Bennett studio/historic site after to compare your cell phone photos with the photos taken by Henry Hamilton Bennett from the 19th century, considered “the Golden Age of landscape photography.” Or you can grab a bite to eat while gazing out at the river views. River Walk Pub is the very definition of a friendly Wisconsin pub, with a menu heavy on burgers and a classic Friday night fish fry.
While on the subject of food, the fudge and confection shops, one on nearly every block, will wear down your willpower in short order. Plus there’s a place called Oodlesmack Popcorn that has gourmet candy-flavored concoctions that you probably dreamed about as a kid, along with classic caramel varieties for the purists.
Bowling is classic and so is Chalet Lanes. Ditto for photo souvenirs and the old-time portrait studios. And mini golf at Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf and Timber Falls Adventure Park.
The mom-and-pop hotels and motels downtown have a charm to them that’s just can’t be replicated anywhere else.
Downtown Wisconsin Dells is a walkable, wonderful stretch of all that’s good about getting away.
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