ces1948 -- scattered around Appleton you will find Tom's Drive-In, a small chain that offers pretty good burgers and the usual rest. I used to live on that side of the state, and miss Tom's.
I also miss Breadsmith, a bakery, again it is a chain, but pretty good products. Too bad, but Panera just does not compare, for me anyway. Try their Apple Pie Bread and garlic pullaparts.
Nearby and well worth the drive is a local treasure drive-in in Oshkosh called Ardys & Eds. Old fashioned, blast from the past type place, carhops on roller skates, etc. Great food! Try their ho-made barbeque, which is not barbeque at all, but the best example of a midwest sloppy joe around.
Everything they have is good, but especially so is their french fries and tartar sauce. They have been featured on 'Roker on the Road' and other programs. Been around since 1948.
Just three blocks away from Ardy & Eds is another hidden gem, Hughes Chocolates on Doty Street. They are located in a house in a neighborhood, with the shop and salesroom located in the basement. You go down a few steps from the street and find yourself right in the middle of the action, with the friendly worker calling "excuse me!" as she slides past you with, for example, a full tray of caramels waiting to be covered in chocolate.
They are not open in the summer, too hot, but you should see the line at Christmas time, stretched from the sales counter, up the stairs, out and down the driveway, to the street.
Not far away in Kaukauna is Haen Meats, a clean and well done shop that is highly thought of locally. Everything there is good.
Yes, it's cold in the winter, like Al says, but that's OK, we keep better. www.tomsdriveins.com www.ardyandeds.com www.breadsmith.com www.haenmeats.com
Hughes Chocolates has no website, but there is plenty about them out there.