Nestled comfortably off the beaten path, just south of a dead-end road, the Oxbow is the kind of Northern Wisconsin establishment you really have to want to find when you set out looking for it.
I think you will.
Traveling from Appleton, we needed a verbal description, hand-written directions and a spotty GPS to make our way there late last Friday afternoon but, once we found it, we had a delightful time.
Run by Scott and Yolanda Miles, the Oxbow offers the same quirky hospitality we’ve come to expect from that neck of the woods, with one important distinction: homemade egg rolls.
“Welcome to the Oxbow,” the sign on the outside of the front door reads. “where friends and egg rolls get toasted at the same time.”
Born and raised in the Philippines, Yolanda makes the egg rolls. She keeps them Wisconsin friendly by using only meat in the filling.
“That’s what the people here like,” she said. “I use a mix of ground beef and ground pork.”
She popped an order into the fryer for us, and those egg rolls without a single vegetable inside turned out to be all kinds of delicious.
Yolanda moved to Wisconsin from the Manila area with Scott in 1988. She first met him when he served in the military.
“My first tour of duty, they sent me to the Philippines,” Scott said. “I guess they wanted to keep me.”
Married now for 41 years, they became accidental bar owners 20 years ago.
“I came over here one day for vittles. I ended up drinking a bottle of whiskey and I bought the place,” Scott said. “We took it over on January 4, 1999.”
They run a clean and friendly bar, pour generous drinks and happily welcome all comers, whether they arrive by car or sled via the front parking lot, or on foot through the sliding glass door in the back.
“I want to have people come here,” Yolanda said, though she’s not all that eager to expand her clientele. “But, we have plenty of people who come here. We don’t need many more.”
If you do plan a trek out to the Oxbow, be sure to check the hours. The bar is currently closed on Monday through Wednesdays, open Thursday and Friday from 3 p.m. to close and Saturday and Sunday 11 to close.