Feb 12, 2019

A commoner dines at Charcoal Inn South, Sheboygan, Wis.

The Sheboygan Series of blog posts concludes with one that certainly delivers as advertised – the Charcoal Inn.  There are two locations in Sheboygan.  This post is about my visit to the south location, as it was open for dinner.

The Charcoal Inn is not unlike many local diners with a menu focused on burgers, sandwiches and sides (and the obligatory Friday fish fry in Wisconsin).  How it prepares many of the sandwiches is how it stands out.  

Yes, that’s a bed of charcoal under the grill, and they keep it going all day and night.  And, as you can imagine, the juices that are released by the constant cooking of burgers, brats and other assorted patties just add to the flavor of your order. 

As previewed above, the Charcoal Inn’s south location occupies a rather ordinary looking with a brick front on the 1300 block of South 8th Street, just a few blocks south of where you cross the Sheboygan River at the edge of downtown.  At night, in a highly residential area, it may not stand out, but I can guarantee you all the locals know exactly where to find it.  But then again, they’re only open until 9 p.m. on weekdays and 10 p.m. on weekends, so it’s not like they’re keeping the neighbors up at night. 

The seating area inside is nothing fancy, but substantial enough for the steady business the Charcoal Inn brings in.  The photos on the wall show the place embraces its position in Sheboygan history.  

Of course, I preferred to sit closer to the action, on a counter stool with a nice view of the cook working over the coals.  As you can imagine, the counter seats in this place are preferred over all else.

I ordered a soda and studied the menu.  The hand menu had the prices …

… but the menu boards behind the counter had the nostalgia.

Having almost reached my limit of bratwursts during my time in Sheboygan, but not wanting to miss the full flavor experience of the place’s signature charcoal grilling, I opted for the signature Charcoal Inn sandwich – brat and hamburger patties, served with lettuce and tomato.  The bun, naturally, was warmed on the grill and coated with butter. I figured the slaw had to be good because of the fish fry factor, so I ordered a serving to substitute for fries.  I could not have been more satisfied with both.  A subtle charcoal flavor permeated the meat but did not overpower the taste of each meat.  The slaw was finely diced, creamy and comforting.

The Charcoal Inn South was another fine diner experience in the heart of Sheboygan.  The charcoal cooking just made it more memorable.  If you’re in the mood for an affordable sandwich and fries (or slaw, or onion rings, or applesauce) kind of place (their soup specials seem quite popular, too) in Sheboygan, seek out the Charcoal Inn South.  And if it’s breakfast time, look for their north location.   

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