Please don’t judge me. I know I’m supposed to be eating cleaner and making healthy choices. But there are some occasions that just call for you to not only fall off the wagon, but to cut the horses loose, attack it with an axe, and burn the whole wagon down while you dance around the flames. It’s on these occasions, I don’t want to waste my dietary transgressions on a package of stale Hostess cupcakes from the corner Walgreen’s. Yuck. Oh no. If I’m going to break the rules, I’m going to do so in a spectacular fashion…
So when our family makes the decision to completely abandon all good sense and sacrifice ourselves on the altar of sugar, we make the trip north of the border to Mike’s Donuts & Chicken in Downtown Kenosha. It is here where we worship at the feet of the deep fat fryer and pay homage to the almighty carbohydrate. At Mike’s Donuts & Chicken, the humble donut is elevated to a work of art and it is there that chicken finally receives the noble treatment it deserves.
I don’t know what it is about hipsters that allows them to cook and serve such amazing food. All I know is I want more of it! So long as they keep their mustaches out of my craft beer, I’m totally good with it. And oh, the beer selection at Mike’s, oh the beer! At Mike’s I discovered the first IPA that didn’t gross me out. A beautiful caramel-colored beverage from Wisconsin brewers Ale Asylum. My eyes are rolling back in my head just thinking about it.
It’s important to understand that essentially, Mike’s Donuts & Chicken is a bar with seating that serves sublime, artery-clogging hangover food. But that doesn’t keep folks from leaving the kids at home. It’s really part of what makes this place special, Mom and Dad can enjoy a jelly donut martini or a local microbrew while the kids slip into a donut-induced sugar coma. It’s a win-win!
On a recent visit up to Milwaukee with an out-of-town friend, we made a pitstop at Mike’s Donuts & Chicken for lunch. It was supposed to be a quick grab-‘n-go but we decided to sit at the bar and relax. It wasn’t long before we had abandoned our hopes of a Milwaukee brewery tour, and decided we would be staying put at Mike’s. At least my friend can say he visited Wisconsin!
Yes there is more to Mike’s Donuts & Chicken besides donuts, chicken, and beer. But you are really shortchanging yourself if you don’t try at least one of the above. My friend and I shared fried pickle spears that were fantastic. We may or may not have engaged in a slap fight over the last pickle. I may or may not have won. Booyah!
As we sat enjoying our meal, we watched the line at the counter grow longer and longer as staff hurriedly refilled the donut case with Bacon Maple Long Johns, Peanut Butter Cup Donuts, Chocolate Cyclops and all manner of vibrant colored confections sprinkled with Girl Scout Cookies, Jolly Rancher dust and even Lucky Charms. We made the big mistake of waiting until the end or our meal to place an order for donuts, and our favorites we had set our greedy eyes on had literally sold out from right under our noses as we sat there. But do not worry dear readers, we were more than pleased with what was left behind, even if our waistbands were not as appreciative.
I would be remiss not to go into some depth about the chicken. It’s quite unlike any other fried chicken I’ve ever had. There’s something exotic about the spice blend they use. This ain’t your typical 12 herbs and spices. I can’t put my finger on it, but I detect a hint of cinnamon… Regardless if it’s cinnamon or soylent green, my family is hooked! It’s just fortunate for us that Mike’s doesn’t have a Lake County location… or is it? What do you think Mike? We like donuts, chicken and beer in Illinois too. Cross on over to tollbooth land!
For those who want a hybrid experience, order the Chicken and Donuts appetizer which is essentially two donuts with two fried drumsticks stuck in the holes. As there’s no kids menu, this is the perfect order to split between a pair of kids. They get their donut, they get their chicken, boom done. Just remind them this is a special occasion, and that they should not expect their meals to be served inside donuts in the future. For those who really want to walk on the dark side, they also offer donut-glazed chicken wings. You read that right, donut glaze. Perhaps it is a better choice for others who are not so faint of heart and do not suffer from mild insulin resistance.
So those of you looking to venture farther afield for a kitschy culinary experience, take the short drive up I-94 and visit Mike’s Donuts & Chicken. Bring the kids for a daytime trip (they have a diaper changing table!) or grab a dozen donuts to go. Say “Hi” to our friendly ponytailed server Ryan whom my friend struck up a brief bromance with – that kid is friendly and knows his local beer. Give him a raise Mike!
*Before making the trip north, be sure to call ahead for donut availability. Donuts are made fresh each day and when they’re gone, they’re gone!