It’s been 3 years since Frankie and I wrote up some visits to the Delta Diner in the “middle of nowhere” Delta, Wisconsin. The Chequamegon National Forest is another draw for this area but the Diner, a real draw, can commonly have a wait for seating in the summer months. Now you have an alternate dining option with The Tin Taphouse and the Chicken Shack – a bit of Jamaica in the middle of the Northwoods. It’s only open on weekends and probably will close in October, as it is open air and it starts to get cold up there about that time. But during the warmer months there could be no better way to enjoy the weather than at one of the picnic tables in the back (overlooking the White River) or on one of the stools at the bar enjoying the fun people manning the taps for locally brewed Earth Rider beers. The place is composed from two railroad containers joined with an arch of metal. Bright murals are painted on the outside walls and lots of plants bring the essence of a lush island setting. Owners of the Delta Diner, Todd and Nina Bucher, are grilling up the jerk chicken and making the sides that will help absorb the quantities of beer you’ll want to consume. There’s lots of parking and then you can walk into Island time. For additional details check their website <deltadiner.com>.
Stop at the bar window and order your beverage and your food. Wine and soft drinks are also available. The Jerk Chicken is marinated and then grilled over Hardwood Charcoal. The traditional Jamaican plate is served with rice and peas, festival bread and “callaloo.” We split a plate but I wish I’d had my own. The chicken was juicy and nicely flavored. There was extra sauce and it was tasty and not overly spicy. I spoke with the owner and she said they are still adjusting the spice level but regardless it added a tasty flavor. (This was only their second week offering chicken). The callaloo was a combination of sautéed collard greens, spinach, sweet onion and island spices. It was nicely cooked and tasty. The rice and peas were made with tender red beans mixed with white rice cooked in coconut milk and spices. You could really taste the coconut milk and it was good. The festival bread is a cornmeal doughnut like oval – not exactly a hush puppy but an addition that brings a little crunch to the place. It was a generous and tasty plate of food. They didn’t offer dessert there, but if you walk 50 feet past the Diner you’ll find a little stone house that sells ice cream – a perfect way to douse the fire – or maybe just stay there and indulge in one more cold tap beer.