Saturday, August 29, 2009

Henkels Town Pump - Rhinelander, WI

Why would you want to eat at a place called the town pump? The Little Marinara and I have been asking ourselves that question for years. We go by this joint all the time; it is only a ½ mile from our house. I am guessing it is the curb appeal or lack of, that has kept us away or is it the name. Now I know why they call it the town pump. Years ago when I was the Little Ragu this place had two gas pumps and was a local gin mill. It was also in the Town of Woodboro, hence town pump – or maybe it was because they pumped booze into the old geezers who hung out at the bar.

Oh well, it is Friday and raining, no it is a huge downpour so the Little Marinara and I decide we do not want to drive too far. We look at each other and decide Town Pump after all. If it looks too bad on the inside we can just leave. Three minutes later we are walking in the front door soaking wet, heads turn to look at us and I am waiting for the usual they must be from Mars attitude. To our surprise everyone is friendly asks how we are and comment on how bad the rain is. We find a place at the bar and Marilyn orders an Old Fashioned and I have my Martini. I am guessing it is better to have it on the rocks and forgo the straight-up option. The drinks are great I am smoking a good cigar and my edge is wearing off. As I look around, the place is full of old lumberjack tools; saws and big things that can take your arm off. There is also a non-smoking as well as a smoking dining room. One end of the bar is a 60” flat screen, not bad for a Town Pump. My eyes focus on a jar behind the bar labeled ‘Lake Slime” and over the jar is a sign indicating a contest between Squash Lake and Crescent Lake, order a drink, name your lake and a ticket goes into a pot, on Labor day the lake with the most tickets wins a pizza party. This stuff is gruesome it looks like someone put some frogs in a blender and then added some yogurt to give it body. I’ll pass on the pizza party. So lets eat!

We get a table in the no smoking section, and look over the menu. The Fish Fry here is pan-fried not deep-fried. We both order the standard Fish Fry. As we gaze over the other tables we see someone having Homemade Potato Chips. They look great so we order some and were not disappointed. Dinner is served and the Fries are also homemade, there is a side of slaw that was average and then something different – fry bread. I can tell I am going to need an extra dose of some simvastatin tonight. The fish was fantastic, light, flakey and full of flavor. Marilyn also said the same about hers. I’ll be back I want to see how the lake slime jar is doing.

I guess I am pumped about the Town Pump. Henkel's Town Pump is located West of Rhinelander at 7161 US Highway 8.

The Big Ragu gives this a 4 outa 5

Henkel's Town Pump on Urbanspoon


  1. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed the Pump's fish fry so much! I'm a local girl and even after living in Chicago for a number of years their fish fry is still my favorite! The fry bread is also AWESOME!!

  2. I miss this place and the food I live to far away to get it all the time

  3. did u get ride of the name or move cuzz if you did Im pissed, cuzz

  4. Uncle Darin, U have the best fish fry the world could offer. And also the best frozen fish... I can't wait to come over by you again. Hit me up on the family golf outing, I'll make sure dad and i can make it

  5. Try the Lake Slime, it's like cool aid! They take the colorful fruity booze and mix it together. The color usually looks horrible, but it tastes great and is a fun shot to at least say you have tried!