Oh, yes sir, we know those places well. Hot Fish Shop, especially, and I recognize so well that iconic picture you published. That's it! And when we had company come to town, which was regular, that was THE only place to take them.
I liked what you said, ask an old-timer. That's me!
You can see Sugar Loaf (left over from quarrying) up above, and we kids in the "sugar loaf gang" would climb up it regular. But we had a favorite trick with the Hot Fish Shop on Sunday mornings -- when their front door had a line way outside into the parking lot, half hour to get in, the rear kitchen door was totally unguarded, and at the mercy of us local poor unfed urchins, who begged for one of their best things, which was french fries and tartar.
And those lovely, smiling ladies in the kitchen, basically all someone's mother -- they always came through! And free. I am talking late 50's and on a bit....
Restaurant is long gone now, but their famous (and it was) tartar sauce is still available from a family member using the family recipe. They will have the story of Mose on the website.
My sister lives in Meno Falls, and it's a regular thing to bring along a half dozen jars for her and her friends when we come over. It's pretty good. http://www.mosestartarsauce.com/
As far as Sullivans, again, yes, looms large in our young memories, say around mid sixties. They were quite renowned then, for sure, and rightly so. But they went through some ownership changes, and also quality issues, several years ago, and we've just stayed away.
We were there once in maybe 2007, not good...but maybe it's improved? We would try again, if you recommend.
A new Arby's just opened up, how's that for progress?
If you head to I-90 from that area, have you stopped at Nutbush City Limits, just north of the freeway? Very handy to I-90 and excellent food. And it's a family place pretending to be a biker bar. http://www.yelp.com/biz/nutbush-city-limits-la-crosse
There's more.... Here's a BIG up and comer, in nearby West Salem. They started selling their barbecue out of a truck, which they still do. But their success allowed them to open up a full service restaurant on the main drag in town. These guys are good! Says me, anyway. And everyone around here. http://bigboarsmokers.com/