Red Circle Inn

Yesteryear charm meets sophisticated dining at Red Circle Inn, Wisconsin’s oldest restaurant just north of Milwaukee in the sleepy town of Nashotah. This delightful spot once known as a haven for early settlers and trail-riding stagecoaches is still delighting guests more than a century and a half later. 

Built in 1848 and sharing its birth year with the State of Wisconsin, Red Circle Inn has been owned and operated under the same name through various ownerships, including the famed Pabst Brewing family. Most recently, Geronimo Hospitality Group took ownership, completing renovations, improvements and a revamped menu. 

The grandeur of Red Circle Inn is evident as you pull into this quant town on Watertown Plank Road and through its front doors. Immediately welcomed at the host stand (with coat check), guests can start with a pre-dinner cocktail in the bar area to the left or head into the main dining space for dinner. Red Circle Inn’s main dining area is a simple collection of round and square tables with classic supper-club white tablecloths and small lamps. It’s adorned with vintage photos and frames, tin ceilings, exposed wood beams and an original fireplace with flickering candle inserts giving off the perfect vibe for date night or a night family dinner.  


Settle in and enjoy a classic Wisconsin Brandy Old Fashioned made with Wollersheim Brandy or other classic cocktails like a Wisconsin Collins made with Death’s Door Gin or City Slicker with Driftless Glen Lemon Vodka and cranberry. The restaurant boasts an impressive wine list with some pretty big hitters, too.

Every meal at Red Circle Inn starts with a relish tray comprised of an assortment of pickled veggies accompanied by whipped feta with lemon and red pepper hummus and traditional warm rolls and butter. The menu has a great selection of traditional starters like escargot with puff pastry, shrimp cocktail with a special Col. Pabst cocktail sauce, crab cakes and Wisco meatballs. More unique appetizers include fried duck ravioli, snow crab claws in white wine garlic butter and the scrumptious corn and zucchini fritters with goat cheese fondue, smoked chili honey and perfectly crunchy sweet summertime corn. 

Known for steaks and chops, Red Circle Inn’s menu is well-rounded, offering dishes including pan-seared walleye, brown butter scallops, pheasant breast with a creamy mushroom and spinach risotto, and duck confit with roasted carrots. Or, try the popular untraditional beef stroganoff featuring melt-in-your-mouth braised short ribs in a crème sauce with porcini mushrooms. A la carte sides include roasted carrots, seasonal vegetables, creamed spinach, baked and loaded potatoes a lovely assortment of roasted woodsy mushrooms. Weekly specials include a choice of half or whole fried chicken with sides on Tuesdays and prime rib on Thursdays. Red Circle Inn’s staff is knowledgeable, friendly and provides excellent menu recommendations and pairings.


Make sure to finish off the night with dessert. We recommend the heavenly chocolate grasshopper torte or traditional lemon crème brûlée. Guests can also enjoy a warm after-dinner sip, or a supper club favorite like Pink Squirrel or Grasshopper ice cream drink. Or stop at the bar for a glass of port or sherry. 

In addition to regular evening dining, Red Circle Inn also has two unique spaces upstairs for hosting anything from large-scale weddings to intimate bridal showers. Make sure to check out the space – including the room that once housed a large indoor swimming pool – where the dancefloor now stands and the original and ornate 1889 bar. There is an outside green space in the back perfect for warm-weather gatherings and events as well. 

Red Circle Inn is open for dining from Monday to Thursday, from 4:30 to 9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, from 4:30 to 10 p.m. The Bar is open Monday to Saturday, from 4 p.m. to close, with a weekday bar Social Hour special from 4 to 6 p.m. Reservations are recommended. For more information on Red Circle Inn, visit

N44W33013 Watertown Plank Rd.
Nashotah, WI 53058

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