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Friday, January 05, 2007


Appleton's Stone Cellar: Fast Service, Good Food, Cool Setting

Tonight my wife and I tried to go to Pullman's, the wildly popular new restaurant in the new Trolley Square building on Olde Oneida in the Oneida Flats area, on the south bank of the Fox River. Looks like a great and not too pricey menu of classic American items (steak, seafood, burgers, sandwiches, soups and salads, including lobster bisque, one of my favorite items). Unfortunately, the place has become so popular in its mere four weeks of existence that the wait to get in was 1 hour when we got there are 5:45 PM. Quite a few people besides us were discouraged and went elsewhere - but what a great sign that is for the success of this new restaurant. I hear that it's been filling up quickly every night and also for lunches. And this seems to have happened without an expensive advertising campaign - I think it's all word of mouth. Wow.

Unwilling to wait an hour to get in, we went a couple blocks south to the "Between the Locks" building which hosts the Skyline Comedy Club, Appleton Map, and several other businesses, including our new destination tonight: the Stone Cellar. We've never been there in all our years here, partly because we're not drinkers and don't like the cigarette smoke of bars and pubs. But that's changed now with Appleton's smoking ban, and even though I voted against it (I've got this thing about property rights and trouble with changing the rules on people midstream), tonight it was nice to enjoy a wonderful smoke-free environment at the Stone Cellar. (And maybe it wasn't much of a problem there before the ban.)

So how was it? Outstanding, for me at least. First, I was quite happy to be seated immediately and to have the assistance of a fine waiter. We started with an appetizer, a cheese-rich artichoke heart and spinach dip served with some of the finest tortilla chips I've had. It was the best such dip that I can remember. My wife tried their home-brewed alcohol-free root beer, a lightly colored and pleasant drink. Nice.

I had the corn chowder, which was nicely flavored with a great texture. My main dish followed, a vegetarian lasagna with a great tomato base with zucchini, cheese, and good pasta. The spicing was excellent, slightly on the hot and spicy side. Extremely satisfying and a large portion, too. My wife had the fried whitefish. It was so-so. Not bad, but looked a little off-color and gray. Her fries were good, though.

Overall, I was very happy. My wife was generally pleased with the meal, though she liked my dish better. And we enjoyed the interesting stone cellar setting - very rustic and interesting. Service was excellent, and delivery of food was rapid. Wouldn't mind going back at all.

While we were seated quickly, there were plenty of people there, but the atmosphere wasn't rowdy. Easy to have a pleasant conversation. A family with a young daughter was seated close to us - seemed like a comfortable place for families.

Best of luck to the Stone Cellar.

They are at 1004 S Olde Oneida Street, Appleton, Wisconsin. Phone
(920) 731-3322.
I have also become a fan of the Stone Cellar over the past 6 months. My friends and I have eaten there atleast 4 times in recent months and have enjoyed great service, food, and most importantly beer every time. All at a very reasonable price with a cozy atmosphere.
Just a note, their website address is They have their full menu on there.
I used to be a fan when it was Adler Brau. The prices were cheaper and they gave out free tortilla chips like they do at Mexican restaurants. The menu was pretty much the same but had more choices. They also brewed more kinds of beer when they were Adler Brau. We went there about once per week when it was Adler Brau and have been there twice in the last few years since it became Stone Cellar. It seems that the new owners are cheaper than the old ones. They really screwed up a good thing.
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