Visitors to Door County who have been enjoying Digger’s pizza in Fish Creek for almost 30 years were probably shocked this year when the Digger’s sign came down and the Wild Tomato sign went up. People don’t like it when their vacation dining destinations are gone. I still reminisce about childhood dinners eating Fried Walleye Pike or Roast Duck at Indian Lodge restaurant in St. Germain, WI even though it’s been closed for years. Well fans of Digger’s should have nothing to fear as Wild Tomato is making some of the best pizza in Wisconsin.
Some may argue that the biggest change at Wild Tomato is the addition of a wood fired oven, giving the pizzas a whole new taste and texture. However I may argue the more impressive change would be embracing the “eat local” manta wholeheartedly. From the ingredients on their pizzas, the beef on their burgers, and their selection of local microbrews, there is no doubt that Wild Tomato is at the forefront of the movement.
The night we dined at Wild Tomato they featured a Seasonal Tomato salad. This night it was a Caprese salad with local tomatoes, basil and Wisconsin fresh mozzarella. The tomatoes were ripe, juicy and flavorful, and the fresh mozzarella was nice and creamy. There was a nice drizzle of some good olive oil as well. The best part might have been the homemade sourdough bread which was baked in the wood fire oven, imparting a subtle smokiness into the bread.
Every night they feature a Wildwood Farms Pizza, loaded with seasonally changing ingredients from the farm, just a few short miles north in Liberty Grove. Wildwood Farms products can also be found at the Sister Bay Farmers’ Market every Saturday. The night we dined that pizza featured green beans, broccoli, tomatoes, spinach garlic, and I think onions. This pizza was so popular it was sold out before we got there (though we did come later in the night.) That was ok with us as it gave us a chance to try our second choice, the Veggie with wood fired red and green peppers, mushrooms onions, artichoke hearts, sun dried tomatoes, pesto, and Wisconsin Goat Cheese. The pizza was perfect. The crust hit that sweet spot where it manages to be nice and crispy but still flexible. The toppings were plentiful so you pretty much got a taste of everything in each bite.
I definitely want to return and try some of their other items like the Narrow Gate Farms burger or one of their heartier salads which includes a house preserved wild salmon and spinach salad, a wood fired vegetable cobb salad, and a chicken cherry walnut salad made with local cherries and goat cheese. Also given how great the sourdough bread was, the Wood Fired Bread Basket featuring garlic flat bread, herb focaccia, breadsticks, rosemary baguette, and cheese cracklins, all made in the wood fired oven, might be in order.
Wild Tomato also serves a wide array of microbrews primarily from Wisconsin but with some excellent offerings from other states like Lagunitas (California) which is one of my favorite breweries in the country. I enjoyed one of their IPAs after I finished my tasty Hopdinger Pale Ale from O’so Brewing in Plover, Wisconsin. I like a lot of O’so brews (the Night Train Porter is absolutely spectacular) and Wild Tomato has a very large selection of them. (for more on O’so Brewing, check out my post on a tasting I attended last year)
The place is a bit small so you may have to wait for a table on busier nights. Don’t let that deter you as the food is definitely worth it. They have a huge outdoor patio, which probably more than doubles their seating capacity in the warmer months. Service was friendly and attentive and it made the whole experience that much better.
Buying local, like “organic” has become almost meaningless. When places like Wal Mart plaster their store with “Buy Local” signs designed to dupe people into thinking that shopping at Wal Mart equates to buying things from your local farmers’ market, it’s good to see there are still places that really understand and embrace what eating locally is truly about. Wild Tomato has instantly become a “must visit” on every future trip to Door County.
Wild Tomato is located at 4023 State Hwy 42 in Fish Creek, WI 54212. Phone: (920) 868-3095. Web: www.wildtomatopizza.com/