This is my SOS. Except my ship is my town and that makes the situation far more dire than if it were just my ship in trouble. The Lake Geneva restaurant scene is bad. I know this. You probably know this. Almost everyone who has spent any time here knows this. Since Medusa closed their doors last year we have been left to whither in this beautiful place. The scenery might make the pain less intense, but we cannot pretend that we are not lacking. Lacking for flavor. Lacking for creativity. Lacking for effort. Lake Geneva, the premier vacation home destination in the Midwest, is in need of a restauranteur who might save us.
I don’t intend this to be any sort of indictment on our local restaurants that are trying, but anyone with any sort of sense understands that we deserve better here. Locals open restaurants and do what they can to make the restaurant decent, but typically these efforts either fail or are doomed to serve mediocrity for the remainder of their lease. There are good meals to be found here, and beautiful restaurants to be found here, but when someone asks me for my opinion on which establishment deserves the title of “Lake Geneva’s Best Restaurant”, what am I supposed to say? How can I tell them which one it is when I don’t feel that any of them are particularly worthy of that title? Why must I wander around in this desert, alone, hungry and perpetually disappointed?
If I were in some random town in the middle of nowhere, I’d understand this deficiency. I was musky fishing with my son and our fly rods near Ladysmith, Wisconsin two weeks ago. When it was time for dinner, we found a place that looked like a guy like me might not be welcome, and we dined. The dinner was bad. But I wasn’t expecting anything to be good. When the walleye tasted like a 2021 vintage (complete with bones), I figured it was my fault for ordering something like this here. My expectations were low and they were met. But when I’m in Lake Geneva, why should I suffer this same fate? I shouldn’t, yet I do. Year in and year out, I do. Spring, summer, fall and winter, here I am, suffering the ill-effects of uninspired and poorly executed dining experiences.
We have lakefront owners here who own or invest in the largest, most successful restaurants in the city of Chicago, and it’s going to be up to them to save us from our bland fate. I’ve worked for restauranteurs and their consultants who tell me that Lake Geneva is too seasonal to support a better restaurants. Hogwash. They use this tired trope as though it were 1982 and Lake Geneva operated as a seasonal destination. This is no longer the case, and so this excuse is no longer accepted. Lake Geneva yearns for something higher quality. Lake Geneva deserves it. I deserve it. You deserve it. Everyone who owns on or near these shores deserves it. And so here it is, my SOS. Calling all Chicago restauranteurs who want to make an absolute killing in this market. I’ll help guide you and with a little effort we can start to turn Lake Geneva into the culinary destination it’s long pretended to be.
Or, if Chef Greg just wants to re-open Medusa, I’m here for that, too…