Fat Bruce's (Ripon, WI)

2012/02/06 08:55:56
A little over a week ago I made a trip to Appleton and on my way there I stopped in Ripon for lunch at Fat Bruce's.  I'd never heard of it before but it turned up when I was scanning Google Maps, and after checking the website I decided it was worth a visit.
Ripon's Watson Street is lined with historic buildings and Fat Bruce's is located at 221.

One half of the space is used for the bakery and coffee, which is roasted and ground on the premises.

While the other half is the "eating kitchen", and here's Bruce Campbell himself taking an order.  No, not that Bruce Campbell.

I was all set to order the Welsh Beef sandwich but that day's special was oven-roasted brisket with cheddar cheese and horseradish-dijon mustard on a choice of bread, and it sounded good enough to get me to change my mind.  Bruce recommended the Vienna bread and I completed my order with some kettle-style potato chips and a Point root beer.  Note the extremely recyclable "toothpick" holding the sandwich together.

Thanks to the moist, tender brisket, fresh, slightly chewy bread, and Wisconsin cheddar (1 slice might initially seem skimpy but it complemented the meat and bread just fine) this had to have been one of the best sandwiches I've had in a long, long time and at less than $10 total I got my money's worth.

I didn't ask if the mustard is a house blend but given the hands-on nature of Fat Bruce's I would be surprised if it wasn't, and I suspect the lack of a fryer in the kitchen is the only reason my chips appeared to be from a bag.  Ripon isn't exactly close but it's not prohibitively far away, either, so hopefully I'll have a chance at another visit before too long.
Re:Fat Bruce's (Ripon, WI) 2012/02/06 09:29:42
Great looking Sandwich, looks like a place worth checking out.
Re:Fat Bruce's (Ripon, WI) 2012/02/06 13:10:16
Looks good to me.
Did you stop at the Rippin Good cookie factory?
Re:Fat Bruce's (Ripon, WI) 2012/02/06 13:31:43
No, no cookie stop although I did drive by it on my way out of town and saw that there's an outlet store.  That's the kind of place I'd stop at if somebody else was with me, but not on my own.
Re:Fat Bruce's (Ripon, WI) 2012/02/06 14:10:41
Brad, your choice makes me salivate!  How was the root beer?  Did you get to drink it right out of the bottle? Even those potato chips look special.
I just love the buildings in old cities and getting to dine in one makes it even better.
Thanks for the report!
Re:Fat Bruce's (Ripon, WI) 2012/02/06 14:18:12
Yes, straight from the bottle.  I wasn't asked if I wanted a frosted mug so one probably wasn't available.
Although it would certainly be a delicious option!
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Fat Bruce's (Ripon, WI) 2012/02/06 14:32:36
Man that looks good!
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Fat Bruce's (Ripon, WI) 2012/02/07 08:19:40
That's a good looking sandwich.  I'd sure try it, but I'm not on that side of the state any more.  You probably know, that besides the cookies and the Speed Queen and Ripon being the "Birthplace of the Republican Party," that their other claim to fame is that Harrison Ford went to college there.  
If you get over in that area again, in the summertime, please try Ardy's & Ed's Drive-in in Oshkosh, old time stuff since 1948, and really good.  I'm especially partial to their "ho-made barbecue" which isn't barbecue at all, but just a midwestern style sloppy joe.  But it's big and REALLY good.  I would love to duplicate that flavor, but don't have a clue how.  Open the bun and see how the lovely grease goes into it. My standard lunch order when working around there was two barbecues, fries with tartar, and a tall root beer.  I sure miss them.
So...if you DO get to Oshkosh, you really don't want to miss Hughes Chocolates, which is just a few blocks north of the drive-in on Doty Street.  It it a very unusual chocolate shop, located in the basement of a house, in a residential neighborhood.  As you drive up Doty, you would never know there was a business there (their only sign is a small one in a window), but you know something is going on because of all the cars there.  You walk down the stairs into this tiny little and incredibly clean shop in the basement, and place your order at the counter, and you are IN the factory, with the stacks of sugar piled up right next to you, and the working girls and buys squeezing by you smiling and saying "excuse me" as they carry trays of beautiful things like caramels and nougats waiting to have the chocolate applied.
At Christmas time, their customer line is from the counter, up the stairs, out the door, all the way down the driveway, and then down the sidewalk. Bu the wait is worth it.
But they are only open for three seasons, not in summer, so it's got to be the right time of year to hit both Ardys and Hughes.
I was glad to hear you liked Tom's.  I always thought they were a few steps up from the usuals, and a couple burgers from the drive-thru was always handy for a fast moving lunch.
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Fat Bruce's (Ripon, WI) 2012/02/07 08:26:06
Looks like you've been here a long time, got any places you really like?  I always liked the Westview in your town for breakfast or lunch (or a couple beers).  And my favorite greasy spoon restaurant was the grubby little Fisherman's Inn on French Island, until they changed hands.  THAT was a Roadfood place.  My favorite greasy spoon now is Marge's on Rose Street, gritty, cheap, good food, and lots of it.
But I'm always looking.  Any ideas?
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Fat Bruce's (Ripon, WI) 2012/02/07 08:35:42
And, of course, Maid-Rite and Happy Joe's Pizza.  I'm sure glad we have both here -- but they're CHAINS !!
Re:Fat Bruce's (Ripon, WI) 2012/02/07 08:54:27
Thanks to all for the kind words and the suggestions.  While the end of January is typically the only time I have a reason to head northeast, my company has a branch in Green Bay so maybe I can convince my boss to send me up there for a day when the weather warms up and I can stop at Arby's Ardy's.  Or maybe find something on Craigslist...a few years back I went to Oshkosh to buy a $5 Weber grill just because it was a nice day for a drive.
Too bad Dave's Burger Shanty (Menasha) is gone...
post edited by ScreamingChicken - 2012/02/07 08:56:22