We had heard good things about a fish fry just outside Whitewater, so we set off on another adventure to check out The Real MacCoy’s.
Formerly of the Delavan area and now at the site of the old Cold Spring Inn, The Real MacCoy’s is a popular sports bar and grill. There is an enormous wooden deck outfitted with tiki torches and umbrella tables outside, and during warmer months, we could easily imagine dining or enjoying a cocktail al fresco.
The parking lot was packed for what looked like a fairly small pub, and we were afraid there would be a bit of a wait. Luckily our timing was right, and as we stepped inside we found the place was much larger than it seemed—not to mention quite lively. My impression was that this is a family favorite Friday dinner spot.
The Real MacCoy’s boasts high ceilings, a massive bar that seats more than 20 and a dozen tables. There are big-screen TVs for viewing any sport imaginable, and for game enthusiasts, there’s a pool table, dart machines and a smaller overflow dining space featuring video poker machines.
We were seated at one of last available high tables and started chatting as we viewed the menu.
Our server came out of nowhere, ready to take our drink orders. When I asked about cocktail specials, I was sold on the first one she described: a pumpkin Old-Fashioned ($5). It was delightful; not too sweet, with just a hint of pumpkin and spice. Be sure to check the chalkboard at the end of the bar for featured drinks and other specials. We noticed they also offered a Dr. Pepper cocktail, which sounded intriguing.
For our appetizer selection, we opted for the cauliflower bites ($5.95). Deep-fried, breaded cauliflower nuggets arrived with a side of ranch for dipping. They were piping hot and good tasting.
I was craving a burger, and The Real MacCoy’s serves half-pound Angus beef in a variety of styles. My black and blue was excellent ($7.95), and I tried the sour cream and chive fries as a side. The idea was good, but they pretty much tasted like regular fries to me.
With an abundance of fish fry options, Jennifer knew immediately she had to try one. She chose the baked cod dinner ($8.50). Several potato choices accompany the dinners, and when Jennifer heard that homemade potato pancakes (her favorite) were an option, her heart skipped a beat.
The potato pancakes were delivered perfectly seasoned, and she said they were some of the best she’s tasted. With a mild onion flavor, she skipped topping them with applesauce because they were outstanding all by themselves. As for the fish, the two lightly browned cod fillets were somewhat dry on the outer edges but moist and flaky in the center. In lieu of tartar sauce, there was a zesty concoction of lemon, garlic and peppercorn that made for a pleasing, savory accompaniment to the fish.
Nikki ordered the crab-stuffed shrimp ($12.50) from the fish fry menu. It was served in a basket with cocktail sauce, a lemon wedge, a side of really delicious, lightly dressed coleslaw and a slice of marbled rye bread. Four large breaded shrimp were stuffed with crab and cheese. They tasted good, but diners who prefer seafood that doesn’t taste or smell “fishy” would be advised to pick something else on the menu.
Helene was in heaven with her pot roast sandwich ($7.45). Grilled, the roast beef was tender—as were the onions. The pepper jack cheese was not overwhelming, but instead, its creaminess melded all the flavors together. She was a quarter of the way through her sandwich before she noticed the side of horseradish sauce that added another element of flavor and made it even better. With the huge selection of sides, she substituted her chips for the potato pancakes with applesauce and maple syrup, and it was almost too much to eat.
The chalkboard advertised desserts for $1.50 each. We were going to pass, but when we found out the owner, Nancy, makes them, we decided we could find room.
There were a few different featured cheesecakes, and we went with butterscotch. It was a luscious, layered affair with whipped cream topping—reminiscent of the kind of comfort food you find at potlucks and family dinners. Our second pick was the caramel apple cake, a denser, flavorful treat with hints of cinnamon and nutmeg. It got a resounding two thumbs up all around the table.
The Four Dishes—Nikki Bolka, Helene Ramsdell, Jennifer Spangler and Beth Webb—review regional restaurants for The Gazette.