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Fork in the Road
Friendly atmosphere and diverse menu

By Sara Rae Lancaster - Special to The Freeman

March 21, 2013

Bartender Kelsey Zajichek pours a fresh cucumber martini with celery salt and muddled cucumbers at Fork in the Road.
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff

MUKWONAGO - Yogi Berra once said, “If you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

So when you come to the fork at the intersection of Hwy 83 and County Road ES in Mukwonago, take it to Fork in the Road restaurant located at 215 N. Rochester Street.

With its casual, friendly atmosphere and menu where home-cooking gets a foodie twist, Fork in the Road creates a space that’s as fitting for a spontaneous Saturday night meal with friends as it is for celebrating a special occasion.

The diverse menu offers plenty of choices for every palate, and offers customers plenty of opportunities to try something new with each visit. Still, some items become customer favorites, bringing them back for second, third or even fourth helpings.

Fork in the Road’s Margherita Flatbread.
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff

Mac & Cheese, other homestyle favorites

The Build-Your-Own Mac & Cheese is one of them. It sounds like a simple enough dish, but this variation on a classic continues to be the restaurant’s top-seller, said the restaurant’s owner, Dennis Stevens.

Tube-shaped pasta (also available gluten free) is bathed in a rich, creamy cheese sauce and tossed with the customer’s choice of three ingredients: Applewood smoked bacon, andouille sausage, pulled ham, breast of chicken, roasted bell peppers, sweet sun-dried tomatoes, broccoli florets, baby leaf spinach, white mushrooms or jalapeno peppers.

Other homestyle favorites include the House Recipe Fried Chicken, slow roasted ribs slathered in a tangy honey-root beer barbecue sauce, and a made-from-scratch meatloaf that rivals Mom’s best.

Fork in the Road’s Pepper Burger.
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff


Fork in the Road's Pepper Burger, foreground, Snickers Martini and the
restaurant's famous Macaroni and Cheese.

Lighter options as well

For lighter options, Stevens suggested the menu’s five different chicken sandwiches or meal-worthy salads. The Pretzel Chicken Sandwich - a juicy chicken breast covered in a crispy pretzel coating and topped with dijonnaise sauce - and the Toasted Goat Cheese Salad - spinach, walnuts, brandied cranberries, diced apples and pears, and fried goat cheese tossed in the restaurant’s zesty lemon-mayonnaise house dressing - are the top choices of many customers.

Looking for something even lighter? The starters menu features classic and eclectic choices, ranging from spinach artichoke dip and Margherita Flatbread to fried pickles and Black & Bleu Tips (tips of blackened tenderloin and rib-eye with grilled bleu cheese and stuffed sweet peppers).

 

Burgers, beverages, myriad martinis

“We’re also one of ten top hamburger operations in this region,” Stevens added.

Choose from the Pepper Burger featuring cracked pepper, provolone, bleu cheese sauce, Applewood bacon and onion strings; the Fork Cheeseburger topped with Wisconsin sharp white cheddar; or the Rochester Burger with two kinds of Wisconsin sharp cheddar, Swiss cheese, spicy jalapenos and chipotle sauce. Creative wraps, steak sandwiches, pulled pork, grilled Reubens, fish tacos and more round out this selection of handheld fare.

Wash it all down with an assortment of bottled Sprecher soda, various Wisconsin beers, eight different Belgian draft beers, an impressive yet palatably priced wine list, or one of 146 - yes, 146 - different martinis.

Dennis Stevens stands in Fork in the Road with the restaurant’s Macaroni and Cheese, Margherita Flatbread, Snickers Martini and Pepper Burger.
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff

To keep things fresh, Stevens and his team make a point to change the menu occasionally.

“We change up the full menu at least twice a year and we always have a flyer inside the menu with specials that we change about once a month,” he said. “We try to keep current with what’s going on in the food trends and change what we can by taking the bottom sellers off and adding new items.”

Stevens is the first to admit his restaurant is only as strong as the community it creates, which is why he and his team of 53 employees work hard to keep community at the center of everything they do, right down to the ingredient list.

“All of our cheeses and meats come from Wisconsin. We’re very proud of that,” Stevens said. “In the summer, we buy all the local produce we can. Farmers will come to our back door with their products - you just don’t get any fresher than that.”

“I just think people feel happy and a part of the community when they’re here,” added Stevens, who can often be seen interacting with the customers in the dining room.

Fork in the Road, which celebrates its 11th anniversary this year, may reside in a 120-year-old building, but its vision - and menu - are anything but antiquated.

Fork in the Road

ROASTED TOMATO SAUCE

3 grilled Roma tomatoes

1 tablespoon garlic cheese seasoning

1/2 tablespoon Italian seasoning

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 cup hot water

2-1/4 teaspoons olive oil

2 cups crushed tomatoes with puree

Grill Roma tomatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper on grill until black. Remove and place in sauce pan with rest of ingredients; use an immersion blender to purée. Reduce over heat until liquid is gone; cool before using.                          

 

BASIL PESTO ROASTED TOMATOES

1 pint grape tomatoes

1/2 teaspoon olive oil

Pinch of Kosher salt & black pepper

2 tablespoons basil pesto

Toss the first three ingredients together and lay flat on a pan. Bake at 400 for 12-15 minutes or until brown. Cool and toss with basil pesto.

 

MARGHERITA FLATBREAD

Caesar blend cheese

Canola oil

Store-bought flatbread

Fresh basil leaves, julienned

Heat 2 teaspoons canola oil in pan, add flatbread and heat for 1-1/2 minutes, flip and remove from heat.  Top toasted flatbread with 2-1/2  to 3 ounces of Roasted Tomato Sauce, half of the Basil Pesto Roasted Tomatoes and 2 to 3 ounces shaved Caesar blend cheese (Fork in the Road uses a blend of Asiago, Romano, and Parmesan). Bake at 375F for 6-9 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned. When serving, top with 4 julienned basil leaves.