We are not in the habit of doing restaurant reviews. However, there are times when we stumble across something so unique that may be of interest to motorcycle riders and readers that we just gotta tell somebody. So it is with Laughing Larry’s Lunchroom in Oakdale, Wisc.
The reason we felt the need to provide some details is that the place is easy to miss; it doesn’t look like a restaurant.
If you are as tired of corporate, chain-owned, fast-food places as I am, you hunger—literally—for something different. Something along the lines of an intimate little place in the vein of the small-town mom & pop places that used to dot the highway not so many years ago.
You know the kind of places I mean—the ones that cannot seat 257, don’t pump their ice cream out of a slab-jacker, do not serve mass-produced, standardized, menu-correct items that sizzle on the grill of drowning in the deep-fryer to computer-timed perfection in 20,000 tastefully-decorated, color-coordinated, look-alike locations around the world.
Well, take heart. You are not without hope. There is still at least one tiny, bright point of light you can count on. Nestled just off Interstate highway 90/94 on exit 48 to Oakdale, WI is your place. It is Laughing Larry’s Lunchroom. Yup; the call it a Lunchroom, but they actually serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner, open 7 AM to 4:30 PM Monday-Friday and 7 AM to 4 PM on Saturdays.
The menu is like those in the days of old. Real food, served up fresh, the way you order it, prepared by laughing Larry Laufenberg himself—with assistance, at the busy times, of course. The food is good, the prices reasonable and the ambiance of the place is unique, fun, and friendly.
Larry and Luke Laufenberg own the place. We didn’t get to meet Luke but had a great time talking with Larry, who really does have a warm, personable laugh and uses it a lot.
The restaurant is small, only seating 14 inside the dining area—maybe 18 in a push with the addition of more chairs, but there is seating out front for maybe up to eight or ten more. The interior decorating is eclectic; the furthest thing from the standardized fare of the corporate chain restaurants. It might be described as a combination truck-stop, country diner, ‘50s pop-shop, with hints of all sorts of other influences.
But the most important thing to know about Laughing Larry’s Lunchroom is that it is very easy to miss—all but invisible, housed in a mammoth twin-bay truck wash! It is slipped in between the truck wash bays of the Award Winning Truck Wash Service. From the outside, the front of the place features an antique, iron-wheel Allis-Chalmers tractor, picnic table, wooden bench, and a huge, blue steel-skinned building with the truck wash bay doors at each side.
At first glance, you’d think there’s nothing more there, but look again and there’s a “café” sign and a green sign up on the wall announcing Laughing Larry’s Lunchroom!
For more, visit Laughing Larry’s Lunchroom. And if you also have a big rig that needs a wash, see: www.awardwinningtruckwash.com/ (Call ahead to see if they also wash motorcycles).
And if you stop, don’t forget to ask Larry about his theme song!