After hearing good things about Pettit’s Lakeview Campground & Bar from several friends, we decided to check it out.
It was a good choice for one of the last of summer’s beautiful evenings.
We found one of the few picnic tables still available outside. The place was jam-packed at 5:30 p.m. on a Friday, and conditions were perfect for some time by the lake with friends. We sat back for good conversation and to contemplate our food and drink choices.
Lakeview, which sits on Lake Koshkonong, is a restaurant and sports bar at a popular campground/small mobile home park with cabin rentals directly on the lake. The bar has several large-screen TVs, numerous tables, dart machines and a pool table. Outside, there is a large semicircular bar and an enormous patio with a couple of dozen tables with umbrellas.
Casual at its best, the place was lively and entertaining. There was a sandy beach and small playground for the little ones, many of whom were wading and happily building sand castles. Boaters on the lake can easily pull up to the pier and stop for a drink or meal. On weekends, Lakeview provides free music starting at 7 p.m.
Our friendly and capable server promptly arrived and took our drink order. Nikki started with a pear iced tea ($2), which had a wonderful fruity flavor. Jennifer chose a Moscow Mule ($4), which, although not served in the traditional copper mug, was delicious and refreshing.
Helene had a mild Bloody Mary ($6.75) with a Spotted Cow beer back that hit the spot. I selected the mojito special ($5.50), which was described as a Captain Morgan white mojito. It had lots of fresh mint, and it was such a treat I had to order another (keep in mind, we ended up staying later into the evening).
Lakeview has some unique appetizers we needed to sample.
Poutine—french fries with cheese and gravy—is always on our radar, so there was no question of whether we should order it or not. Lakeview’s poutine ($7.50) has a thin, flavorful gravy, chunks of melted cheese curds (although not enough) and lots of bacon. The smoked gouda mac-n-cheese bites ($8.50) also caught our attention, and their flavorfulness won us over. Served with ranch dressing, they were delicious and so rich you couldn’t eat too many—although we tried.
At the last second, I added the fried green beans ($6) just to be healthy, and they were worth it. With a crispy coating, the fried beans still had snap to them.
After all that snacking, I didn’t want anything too heavy. My BLT ($9.25) had just the right blend of ingredients, was served on toasted sourdough and came with house-made chips.
Helene wasn’t snacking as hard as I was, so she choose Jake’s special ($10.50) and upgraded her side to sweet potato french fries ($2). With tender Italian beef and a layer of melted mozzarella cheese, the au jus dipping sauce softened the toasted garlic sourdough bun and made for a very juicy and delicious meal. The crinkle-cut sweet potato fries were delicious, as well.
Nikki ordered the mushroom and Swiss burger ($8.75) with a a side order of fries ($2). The outdoor setting might have enhanced her perception, but the burger had the smoky taste of one cooked on a charcoal grill. She had requested it medium-rare, and it was served exactly right.
The Friday night special was, unsurprisingly, the fish fry. With a wide variety of choices—fried or baked cod, walleye, bluegill, grilled salmon, lobster tails and butterflied shrimp—Jennifer opted for the bluegill ($16.50). A good amount of small, deep-fried fillets arrived quickly with lemon wedges and a baked potato. The crispy fish was nicely cooked and was very tasty.
As we were digesting our meals and taking in the ambience of the crowd, we were joined by a couple of friends. It was a beautiful evening, so we were in no hurry to leave. We all ordered another round as our friends helped us finish the the rest of our appetizers, and then they took our suggestions for their dinner orders.
Lakeview features live music on weekends in summer and, as the sun was going down, a band started setting up on a stage between us and the beach. With blue rope lights twinkling above us and live blues music in front of us, the atmosphere transitioned from kids laughing and running around the beach to more of a laid-back bar scene.
The Four Dishes—Nikki Bolka, Helene Ramsdell, Jennifer Spangler and Beth Webb—review regional restaurants for The Gazette.