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Eau Claire, Wisconsin

Pablo Center
The Pablo Center under construction on the Eau Claire and Chippewa rivers in Downtown Eau Claire

Where to go and what to do when you come for your pilonidal cyst surgery


Eau Claire has a lot to offer and is a city visited by many tourists throughout the year. The spring, summer and fall seasons are beautiful and the weather usually pleasant. Winter can be both beautiful and cold. Our local tourism website Visit Eau Claire has lots of info on things to do, as does the Volume One website. The downtown is in the midst of a major revitalization, especially involving the arts. More about that here.

How to get here

By Car: Eau Claire is right on Interstate 94, so it is easy to get here by car. We are just 90 miles east of Minneapolis, MN.

By Air: Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport is a regional hub for Delta, so there are many direct flights here. You can either rent a car at the airport, or there is a shuttle service available from Minneapolis/St Paul International Airport to Eau Claire, WI.

Alternatively, you can fly  directly to the local Chippewa Valley Regional Airport by connecting through Chicago (United Airlines). Rental cars are available at the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport as well. Eau Claire is only 5-10 minutes from the airport.

Uber and Lyft ride sharing services have expanded to Eau Claire, and can be used to get you around town. Transport from the Minneapolis/St Paul International Airport to Eau Claire costs between $100-200 by Uber, depending on the kind of Uber service used.

There is also an individual “Girl Friday” who can give rides, do errands, shopping, pharmacy pickup, and even airport transfers. Talk to Cara:  https://www.facebook.com/GirlFridayCanDoIt/

Where to Stay

One of the newest hotels in the area, and the closest to the OakLeaf Surgical Hospital is Staybridge Suites, Eau Claire-Altoona. This is an all suite hotel with kitchens and free parking, which is perfect for short or long stays. It is the closest hotel to the OakLeaf Surgical Hospital, and is across from Woodman’s grocery store which is not only convenient but also has online shopping where they will either deliver, our you can come and pick-up. There are several restaurants in the same complex as the hotel.  The room rate includes a daily hot breakfast; and a Social Hour on Monday through Wednesday from 5:30-7:30 p.m. which features light, hors d’oeuvres, beer and wine (Many of our patients have felt that this was enough to replace dinner).  There are also free laundry facilities at the hotel, a business center, and free WiFi. Staybridge Suites has had rave reviews from our patients. If you mention that you are having surgery at the OakLeaf Surgical Hospital there is a significant discount:
Studio Suite $99.95 – $69.95
One Bedroom Suite $119.95 – $89.95
The longer the stay, the better the rate!

The Grand Stay Suites , 5310 Prill Rd., Eau Claire, WI 54701, Phone: (715) 834-1700. The Grand Stay has one and two bedroom suites with kitchens. It is close to Target and Walmart pharmacies and grocery stores, and it is close to Oakwood Mall, with many options for nearby restaurants and shopping. They offer discounts for OakLeaf Surgical Hospital Patients, so mention that you are having surgery. This is an excellent option if you are going to stay for a few days.

Holiday Inn Eau Claire South, 4751 Owen Ayres Court, Eau Claire, WI 54701. (715) 830-9889. It is also close to Oakwood Mall, and has Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse on the first floor – the best steaks in town. They offer a 20% discount to OakLeaf patients.

The Hampton Inn, 12710 30th Avenue in Chippewa Falls, WI. This is a new hotel, about 10 minutes from the hospital. They offer a 10% discount if you mention that you are a patient of Evergreen Surgical. 715.726.3000.

The Lismore Hotel and the Oxbow Hotel are downtown Eau Claire’s newest, “trendy”, renovated hotels. Both have upscale restaurants and bars. They do not have kitchenettes, but they place you close to restaurants, stores and beautiful parks.

Airbnb is another alternative that some of our patients have used with success, and this can be very economical, but we do not have a specific property to recommend.

There are certainly less expensive options as well, and other lodging options can be seen on the Visit Eau Claire Website, but we recommend the above because of their location and/or price.

Hotels that specifically offer discounts for OakLeaf Surgical Hospital patients and family can be seen on this webpageClick on “Overnight Accomodations for Visitors.” Mention that you are having surgery at the OakLeaf Surgical Hospital, when booking, for their discounts.

Where to Eat: Dr Immerman’s Recommendations

There are many, many restaurants in Eau Claire. Here are some favorites. You should be able to easily find their location and other info on the internet.

And, here is a link to VolumeOne, Eau Claire’s definitive guide to where to eat and what to do. You can also pick up a hard-copy in the lobby of the OakLeaf Surgical Hospital, or most hotel and restaurant lobbies.

Unique to Eau Claire:

Mona Lisa’s – Italian inspired: great pasta, but with some of the best seafood and beef tenderloin in town. They take Covid-19 safety very seriously, and I feel that this is the safest place to go in Eau Claire if you want to enter a restaurant.
The Nucleus – Breakfast and lunch, closed Monday and Tuesday.
Red Coal Barbecue – pulled pork, pulled chicken, ribs and salmon with filling sides.
Grand Avenue Cafe – coffee house with salads and sandwiches.
Acoustic Cafe – Sandwiches, soups, salads, bakery items, coffee and ice cream.
Tokyo – Teppanaki dining; healthy, delicious and fun. Locally owned.
The Classic Garage – The best burgers and fries in an old time malt shop/service station atmosphere.
The Livery – Imaginative sandwiches and entrees in a bar setting.
The Lakely – in the new Oxbow Hotel serving farm to table, Midwest comfort food.
Eau Claire Cheese and Deli – the best take-out sandwiches, and a great store for local cheese and other treats. Ice cream cones too.
The Coffee Grounds – this restaurant and store has great coffee, baked goods, salads and sandwiches. There is also a huge shop full of wines, coffee, gifts, gourmet items, and unique Wisconsin treats.
Shift Cyclery – coffee, snacks, and a bicycle repair shop all in one. Great coffee and a trendy atmosphere.

Asian

Ninja Japanese House – very good sushi, Chinese and Japanese food. The sushi rolls are great for takeout, and a good deal at lunch (some contain raw fish, but others are all cooked). The egg rolls and hibachi dinners are favorites. IMHO the best is the “Stop Roll”.
Fuji Sushi and Steakhouse– sushi and teppanaki.
Hmong Noodle Wrap – Noodle wraps (egg rolls), stir fry, fried rice. All excellent.
Thai Orchid – great curries and stir fries. Make sure you ask for it “mild” unless you like it really hot!

Mediterranean

The Olympic Flame– The best gyros and french fries around, also Greek spinach cheese pie and Greek Salads.

Italian

Mona Lisa’s – On Historic Water Street. Excellent pasta, pizza, and seafood and steak entrees, nice wine list. Highly recommended. Try the Italian Mobster Pizza.
Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse – Can be expensive, but excellent food. The best steaks in town. Also, surprisingly good for lunch: try the reasonably priced Ruben sandwich or salads.
Olive Garden – Sit down dinner in a chain restaurant near the mall, but good food.
Za 51 – My favorite, thin-crust pizza. They also have GF and Keto crust pizzas, and great salads, if you’re trying to be healthy. It is in the same shopping area as the Staybridge Hotel.

Mexican

Manny’s Cocina – seafood with a Mexican flair. Unique and excellent.
Cancun (two locations in Eau Claire) – excellent Mexican food, fast service; lighting fast takeout.
Silly Serrano – Delicious and imaginative, casual, Mexican food. All meats used are antibiotic and hormone free, and locally sourced when possible. Salsas are made fresh, and meats marinated in house.  Eat in or Take Out.

American Food

The Livery – Imaginative sandwiches and entrees in a bar setting.
Grizzly’s – Excellent rotisserie chicken, ribs, burgers, sandwiches. Highly recommended.
Culver’s – A Wisconsin fast-food tradition, burgers, fries, sandwiches, and soft serve ice cream. Rotating “Flavor Of The Day” soft serve.
The Classic Garage – burgers and fries in an old time malt shop/service station atmosphere, good for takeout. The salads are good too.
Acoustic Cafe – Sandwiches, soups, salads, bakery items, coffee and ice cream.
Ramone’s – Eau Claire’s newest ice cream parlor, and IMHO the best ice cream around. Great waffle cones.
Olson’s Ice Cream – salads and sandwiches also. Excellent Colectivo Coffee, as well as locally made ice cream.

Best Take Out Options

If you want food delivered to your hotel, Eau Claire has Bite Squad, EatStreet and DoorDash.

Mona Lisa’s – this is a great restaurant for pasta, seafood, and beef entrees. They also have the best pizza in town and one of the best burgers. Take-out ordering is online. They will bring the order out to your car, and have a dedicated parking area for to-go orders.
Cancun (two locations in Eau Claire) -lighting fast Mexican takeout.
Red Coal Barbecue – pulled pork, pulled chicken, filling sides.
Culver’s – A Wisconsin fast-food tradition, burgers, fries, sandwiches, and soft serve ice cream. Rotating “Flavor Of The Day” soft serve.
The Olympic Flame– A Greek restaurant with a very limited menu, but the best gyros and french fries around. They also have spinach cheese pie and baklava. (also cheeseburgers for those that don’t want a gyro)
Red Robin – great burgers, and if you are trying to eat healthier, they can come wrapped in lettuce instead of a bun.
Erbert and Gerbert’s Subs – several locations.
Eau Claire Cheese and Deli – the best take-out sandwiches, and a great store for local cheese and other treats. Ice cream cones too. This is where the locals go for a great take-out sandwich.
The Classic Garage – burgers and fries in an old time malt shop/service station atmosphere, good for takeout- and the fries stay crisp!
Panera Bread – near Oakwood Mall, great for sandwiches, soup, salads, and baked goods.
Mahli Thai– Asian Cuisine – in neighboring Chippewa Falls. Fabulous food, worth the 15 minute drive, but take-out only.
Silly Serrano – Delicious and imaginative, casual, Mexican food.

Nelson's Cheese Factory

Photo: Nelson’s Cheese Factory

Interested in going for a drive?

(If you’d like to do some driving to pass the time and find some dinner, here are some suggestions worth the effort)
Cafe Duchess– this is in Thorpe, WI home of the award winning Marieke Gouda. The cheese making facility has a store and a wonderful restaurant. This is a nice outing, and worth the trip. Some of the best cheese in Wisconsin. It will take a 35 minute scenic drive to get there from Eau Claire.

Harbor View Cafe – This is about an hour and 10 min South-West of Eau Claire on Lake Pepin, which is a wide area of the Mississippi River. It is a beautiful drive during a sunny day. Excellent food. Ten minutes farther is the small town of Stockholm, which has some nice boutiques, gift shops, furniture stores, a bakery and a restaurant. Harbor View Café is Open Mid-March through the Sunday before Thanksgiving.

High Shores Supper Club – supper clubs are a Wisconsin tradition; hard to define, but definitely unique. This one is the best around the Eau Claire area. Reservations can be hard to get, but if you show up early, like 4:00 they can usually squeeze you in, especially on the patio.

Shopping

We know you didn’t come her to shop, but if you are looking for Wisconsin themed mementos of your trip here, stop at:

The Local Store where you will find all kinds of fabulous items with Eau Claire, Midwest and Wisconsin themes.

The Coffee Grounds  has a huge shop full of wines, coffee, gifts, gourmet items, and unique Wisconsin treats.

Leine’s Lodge is a store connected to the brewery in Chippewa Falls selling Leinenkugel’s Beer and apparel. Beer tasting and brewery tours.

Marieke Gouda in Thorpe, WI if you want to pick up some of the best cheese in the country, stop here. Tours of the cheese-making facility as well.

Leine’s Lodge in Chippewa Falls. No trip to the Chippewa Valley is complete without a trip to the Leinenkugel Brewing Company’s store which has beer tasting, and all kinds of Leinenkugel Beer apparel and souvenirs.

Mall of America in Bloomington, MN – this is about an hour and a half from Eau Claire, but is an enormous indoor shopping mall. There is plenty of free parking, but on busy days it can take quite a while to find a space. A little know fact is that valet parking is only $12 and brings you the closest to the mall if you want to minimize walking.

Woodbury Lakes Mall – this is an outdoor mall with 50+ stores an hour and 15 min from Eau Claire in Woodbury, MN, an easy driver right off Interstate 94.

 

The Phoenix Park Bridge
Foot-bridge over the Chippewa River, in Eau Claire, Phoenix Park.Save

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