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Tiny restaurant has loyal customers

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By Denise Majewski

I want to tell you about an old favorite restaurant, not a fancy spot but a place that we return to again and again for the food and camaraderie. That place is Cliff’s Boathouse in Racine.

OK, you might say, “But it only holds about 30 people.” Yes, that’s true, but I call that cozy. You might say “But it’s only open for breakfast and lunch.” Yes, but those are great meal times! You might say, “But it’s kind of a hole in the wall.” Yes, but that’s partly its charm. So, I’m not offering this as a place for a first date or your anniversary, but if you want consistently good food and reasonable, attentive service, this is the place!

You can’t beat Cliff’s potato pancakes (their specialty). They make a great breakfast, including wonderful blueberry pancakes and homemade bran muffins. For lunch, there’s usually a delicious soup and the hamburgers are good. But, my favorite meal is their Friday fish fry. I worked in Illinois for many years and people would often ask me for my favorite Wisconsin fish fry place. Cliff’s is always in my top three. Their smelt is my favorite (I hear some of you going “ewww,” but you’ve got to try them). Their homemade potato salad is just like my mom’s (is that where you got the recipe, Cliff?) and the perch is wonderful. The best part is that they start serving it at 10 a.m., so sometimes I’ll get my fish fry fix early!

Mark (Cliff’s son) is the waiter and he’s been there forever, knows most everyone who comes in and is a hoot. I like him enough that I’ve gotten past his Packer fixation, although during football season it’s great to stop by and give him grief if the Bears win!

All in all, this is a perfect little spot to eat, it’s got everything I look for in a local hangout — good food, good people, good prices. Don’t tell too many people about it, though. It’s tiny enough that there’s always a line Friday nights!