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Goats on the Roof!

Posted by Aaron Guldager on

When Josh was a kid, he and his family used to vacation in Door Country Wisconsin. The ride from his hometown, Oconomowoc, was about 4 hours long…which seemed interminable to him as a child. But he knew when they passed “the restaurant with the goats on the roof,” he was nearly there.

 

Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant & Butik has been a fixture in Sister Bay, WI, for over 58 years. Al and his wife, Ingert, became well known locally for their traditional fare like Swedish Pancakes, Lingonberries, Meatballs & Limpa bread. But what truly put this family restaurant on the map was the day a friend of Al’s pulled a prank on him and hoisted a goat up onto the restaurant’s traditional Scandinavian sod roof. (The goat had the last laugh, however, when it kicked the ladder over toppling the prankster to the ground.) Since then, there have always been up to a dozen goats grazing on the roof (weather-permitting.) 

 

We were honored that Al’s son Lars, who now runs the restaurant, boutique, and expanding food product line, agreed to take a few moments out of his busy day to bring us up on the roof and introduce us to his goats. (After stuffing us with the most amazing Swedish pancakes with lingonberries.)

We love visiting iconic family businesses who’ve kept their passion going for multiple generations. They are the true landmarks of America’s roadways - creating memories for generations of passersby, and reassuring young kids like Josh that they’re finally, really, “almost on vacation.”

 

 


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35 comments


  • Now that I would love to see! Our diversity is what makes this country great!

    Tony on

  • You always make me feel better and get me to remember good times. Thank you.

    Connie W on

  • Your blog made me remember how much fun we had every time we went to Door County, The beautiful Cheery trees, fish boils, Fish Creek and for sure Al Johnsons. It looked like a great Sunny day on the roof!

    Darla on

  • I too am a Wisconsinite from Kenosha.. Not far from oconomowoc. Only visited this restaurant once as a kid but you always remember goats on a roof! Make the trek to Wisconsin
    Every year from New York with my boys but not that far to Door County..
    Only to the lakes in Waupaca. This reminded me that I should travel a little further to show this to my boys.

    Patty on

  • What a wonderful story and memory. Looks like you were blessed with a beautiful day to visit. What fun! Thank you for bringing smiles into my day.

    Kathy on


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