This certainly has been one crazy summer. The Cable area weather in May and early June wasn't great to begin with. And then in early July we had the horrific storm with flash flooding that killed several people and washed out roads all over northwest Wisconsin. All of the main highways have since reopened, some still with detours, but many secondary and forest roads remain closed.
Then just two weeks later the area was pounded once again with high winds that knocked out power for several days in some areas. The Rookery remained open throughout, but after running for nearly a full day our backup generator for unknown reasons apparently overheated and burned up. Fortunately, it appears our insurance will cover most of the loss and we expect to have a replacement generator installed shortly.
Overall it has been a very difficult summer thus far for tourism-based businesses throughout the Cable area. Numerous vacationers have stayed away on account of all the press coverage surrounding the flooding and storms. Even many folks with seasonal residences here have been so busy recovering docks and boats that floated away, and repairing other storm-related damage, that they haven't dined out and enjoyed other leisure activities as much as they normally would.
On top of all this, here at the Rookery we've experienced our biggest challenge ever in terms of staffing, especially when it came to finding a permanent chef of the caliber we were searching for. The stories I could tell about chef candidates who didn't appear for scheduled interviews. Three of 'em, to be exact. Or about the two chefs I thought I had hired, both of whom showed up once and never came back. And didn't even bother to call. Really??? Someday I should write a book!
In the meantime, I am very pleased to report that with a week now under his belt, Chef Tim Bennett is fitting in oh so very nicely here at the Rookery. Granted things started out a little rocky when, on just his second day on the job and not enough backup help in the kitchen, we experienced our busiest dinner rush of the summer. And on a weeknight no less. It wasn't really fair for a new chef working off a menu inherited from a two month temporary replacement. But Chef Tim took it all in stride. Despite telling me it was his worst night in 30 years in the restaurant business, he bounced back the next day with a great attitude and things have been humming along nicely ever since.
This weekend Chef Tim will begin introducing some recipes of his own creation. In addition we'll gradually be bringing back a few items our guests have missed seeing on our menu. Things like pheasant. And risotto. Edamame. Northern pike. Fennel crusted pork loin. And probably our signature Rookery salad, among others.
I fully realize that in the eyes of many of our guests the Rookery has fallen a bit short this summer in terms of what you've come to expect. Please come back soon and give us another opportunity to earn your support and commendation.
This Weekend's Live Outdoor Music
This Friday (5-8 PM) we're excited to welcome the Barefoot boys back to the Rookery's outdoor stage! If you're a regular visitor to Bayfield's Lake Superior Big Top Chautaqua you'll no doubt recognize the name, T. Bruce Bowers...the talented fiddle player for the Blue Canvas Orchestra, the Chautauqua house band. Ric Gillman is an amazing 6 and 12 string guitarist from Madeline Island who has recorded, played, and toured with some of the music industry's best regional and national talents. Together they comprise Barefoot Wonder, two of northern Wisconsin's most accomplished musicians, whose deft fingers and witty banter make the duo one of our most popular acts each summer.
Then on Sunday afternoon (2-5 PM) honky tonk singer/songwriter Fizz Kizer returns to the Rookery for the second time this summer. Always an audience favorite, Fizz has performed here every year since we first began offering live music. Fizz especially loves writing and playing songs about the outdoors. His debut album, The River Road, featured stories about the rivers and streams he's known. More recently he recorded a second full length effort of all original songs entitled, In A Honkytonk Glow. Come experience why Fizz has so many fans.
Friday, 5-8 PM
Sunday, 2-5 PM
On Fridays we serve from our regular dinner menu no matter whether you choose to dine outdoors during the music, or listen for awhile before moving indoors to eat. For outdoor dining we accept (and strongly recommend) reservations from 4:30 until 6 PM, although you're welcome to be seated anytime prior to your reservation to enjoy the music while you wait your turn to order. After 6 PM all outdoor dining is first come first served, or you can call in advance for reservations to dine indoors.
On Sundays we feature a special patio grill menu. The grill fires up at 1:30 and the music begins at 2. All seating and dining is first come first served so we recommend you arrive early to secure your spot!