Lunch with God
After my Haen's stop I continued toward home with a slight detour into Fond du Lac to check out Trinity Lutheran Church
Except that it's no longer a church...it's a restaurant
! I'd heard varying reports about the food but its uniqueness convinced me to stop. I'd checked out the menu and knew that I wanted to start with a cup of beer cheese soup.
It was cold day and this soup was a great way to start lunch. Neither excessively cheesy nor beery, it had a nice hint of Worcestershire sauce that brought out the flavor and had nice pieces of vegetables as well, which some people don't expect to find in a cheese soup as they expect it to be akin to nacho cheese sauce. My first thought was that it needed salt but after a couple of spoonfuls I changed my mind and wasted no time in finishing off the cup.
I had originally planned on a wood-fired pizza but because of the cold temperatures the oven was shut down. According to the owner, when the mercury drops below zero the chimney gets so cold that the smoke cools too much and loses velocity, and can actually exhaust back through the oven. Not good!
So I had to come up with an alternative and I decided on the Jucy Lucy, made with house blend beef and American cheese on a toasted ciabatta bun. It usually comes with lettuce, tomato, and onion but I don't like them on a burger so mine was a bit naked.
It was a solid burger but nothing truly special, but then again because I love my burgers as rare as I can get them I'm probably not the best person to judge a Jucy Lucy.
The fresh-cut fries, however, were excellent. Thin, hot, and ever so slightly oily like I think a good fry should be.
After I'd finished the server brought out the dessert tray. I felt bad about telling her that I'm not a dessert eater in the traditional sense...
...so I ordered a cup of spicy gumbo instead.
It had a rich, earthy flavor and plenty of chile heat that wouldn't be for everyone, but was right up my alley.
Probably because it was a very cold Monday there was only 1 other occupied table in Trinity when I arrived, and when it cleared halfway through my lunch I pretty much had the place to myself. This was a great opportunity to check out a lot of the restaurant, so here's a short tour:
Looking down the bar from my table.
From the other end of the bar; my table is at the back right-center.
Immediately to my left as I entered the main dining area, which was originally the congregation floor. I don't know what this alcove originally was but it's been turned into a nice semi-private room.
Another shot from my table. The choir loft at the upper rear is also used for seating.
A better view of the loft and the stained glass windows over the entrance.
This room is on the other side of the wall from my table and is the remainder of the floor plus the altar tableau (I'm not sure if that's the proper word but it sounds cool). The lower section is used for overflow when the main room gets full, and by itself the entire room becomes a banquet space.
Looking right and up from my position in the previous photo I spotted the "box seats", which I assume were where the wealthy patrons of the church originally sat. That, or being Lutherans it's where they banished those who smelled of lutefisk.
The space is used as 1 larger or 2 smaller banquet rooms as well as individual seating and there are heavy curtains that can be lowered to block them from the room below.
Hands down this is one of the neatest restaurants I've ever been in, and if I didn't live 90 minutes away I'd definitely make more visits to explore the menu further. Trinity has been open for about a year and a half and I hope it prospers, and any quality issues get ironed out because whether it's fair or not, a venue like this is going to have customers expecting a lot from the food.
After that it was back to the highway and eventually I made it home, with trivia contest XLIX safely in the books. Hey, we're a year older than the Super Bowl!
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