As we drove the winding roads of backwoods Wisconsin I was slightly concerned about the dining option for the evening. Really, what sort of restaurant would survive out in the middle of nowhere? Pulling into the packed driveway all my worries disappeared. In fact, I felt right at home (or at least like I was at my grandparent’s house) as we parked on the grass and approached the farmhouse.
As we soon learned, the gorgeous farm was originally owned by Dr. Arthur Gillette whom the Gillette Children’s Hospital in St. Paul is named after. He had used the location as a retreat for himself, his family, and his colleagues. In 1921, Dr. Gillette passed away and left the farm to his great nephew. Throughout the years, several generations of the Gillette family worked the land and called the farm home. The land stayed in the family until it was sold in 2012 to Michele Law and Jason Martell.
Michele and Jason spent a year remodeling before the farm was re-opened as Pine Brook Farm the restaurant. The new owners honored the past of this 100-year-old beauty by incorporating the original floors, fireplace, radiators, and wood milled on site. The location is definitely a world away from the bustle of the big city and a relaxing retreat from life.
According to Michele, the restaurant actually wasn’t in the plans. She was originally looking for an old barn to fix up and host events in with only light food and drinks being served. A location where locals could gather for special events and celebrate life. After realizing they would need a commercial kitchen to cater events, the pair decided to go all in and utilize the kitchen year round for an on-site restaurant. If you’ve dined at some of the other local establishments you would probably be expecting greasy burgers and fries with a Moon Man on the side (and believe me sometimes that hits the spot), but that sort of grub wouldn’t be up to par with the gorgeous setting. So instead, Michele and Jason decided to do things their way. They left the deep fried foods off the menu and instead focused on “using as many fresh and local ingredients as possible and making as many things from scratch as possible”.
The menu is a perfect representation of what the local land has to offer and personally took me back to meals on my grandparent’s farm. Homestyle potatoes, pickles, fish, and fresh local bread. But they also put modern and fresh twists on local fare. The service and the food is impeccable, especially when you take the advice offered at the front door and remember to relax and enjoy the leisurely pace.
And this is a place where you want to take your time. Even after the meal is done there is so much more. As Michele and the rest of the staff have seen, people who stop by stay for before and after dinner drinks at the WOODTICK Lounge, kids run around, chase the chickens and play yard games, and adults stroll the property. We certainly did. You find yourself a part of a community you didn’t know existed. Where you are chatting with your neighbor. Staying for a few drinks. Watching the fire dance in the fire pit and enjoying the vast expanse of life. When it all comes down to it, this farm is once again a place to gather and enjoy the company of people who make the experience a rich one.
Pine Brook Farm
W4221 County Highway A, Spooner, WI
In the summers enjoy outdoor BBQ Ribs & Chicken on Thursdays, Pan Fried Perch Fish Fry on Fridays, and Grilled Pizza on Saturdays. Throw in some great drinks from the WOODTICK Lounge, live music, and lots of lively conversation and you’ve got the perfect evening. In the winter, reservations are recommended since seating is limited to the indoors and they won’t be throwing up any card tables like at family gathers . . . although, I wouldn’t put it past them 🙂