Best of Waupaca winners announced in this week’s County Post
At the Waupaca Woods Restaurant, Dan and Marsha Johnson treat their customers like family.
They often send cinnamon rolls out as treats – either before entrees arrive or after meals are complete.
“We make family traditions,” Marsha said.
Those cinnamon rolls are an example of one. The recipe is from Dan’s mother, Evie Johnson.
Known for having “the best food in town,” the Woods is again a Best of Waupaca Area winner in several categories.
Readers voted the Woods as having the Best Breakfast, Best Family Dining and Best Fish Fry.
The Johnsons understand the importance of family.
Their two daughters, Haley and Alexa, grew up around the business and are both college students today.
At the Woods, breakfast is served all day.
Dan’s made-from scratch buttermilk pancakes, as well as their scramblers and omelets, are crowd favorites.
Dan says many of the recipes are the same ones his mom used.
That home cooking feel connects with their customers.
“It’s astounding the number of people who come in every day,” he said.
Last August, Dan celebrated 30 years of being the restaurant’s owner.
He makes the breading from scratch for their fish fry nights and also likes to create new ideas for their Dessert of the Week feature.
“He makes the best chocolate frosting in the universe,” Marsha said.
The Woods is also known for its meatloaf, turkey and chicken, as well as for its numerous daily dinner specials and homemade soup of the day.
On fish fry nights, the options for their popular haddock and perch include deep fried and broiled, with Marsha saying they will also customize dinners for their customers.
During the current Lenten season, there are plenty of seafood specials at the restaurant, with Dan reminding customers they serve tuna steaks, salmon, pike, catfish and shrimp, in addition to perch and haddock.
Dan and Marsha and their staff are gearing up now for their busiest day of the year – St. Patrick’s Day.
“It started taking off 20-some years ago,” he said. “It gets bigger every year.”
The corned beef is slow roasted before being carved.
“Last year, we used between 1,500 and 1,700 pounds of corned beef brisket to get ready for the event,” he said.
Add at least 600 pounds of cabbage and red potatoes and a lot of baby carrots to that.
“It’s fun. So many people look forward to it,” Dan said. “It makes you feel good that people are happy.”
Dan and Marsha also have fun hosting the weekly WDUX Morning Show on Thursdays with Rick Winters and Melanie Peterson, which is followed by the Woods’ Classic Rock Hour.
Marsha handles the restaurant’s Facebook page, where she posts photos of their specials and desserts, wishes their customers well during holiday seasons and supports community events.
“We thank all of our loyal customers and our staff,” Dan said of their latest Best of Waupaca Area awards. “We couldn’t do it without them. We thank everyone for their votes.”