Jack Pandl’s Whitefish Bay Inn

Review by: Michael Stern

The drive from Milwaukee along the shore of Lake Michigan to Jack Pandl’s is worth the trip just to view the scenery. The lake is beautiful and mansions at water’s edge are an extravagant array of sturdy Midwestern design and old-money style.

Pandl’s is a cozy Bavarian lodge house decorated with beer steins, staffed by waitresses in dirndl skirts. The menu is pricey by our usual standards, and your fellow diners will include a large portion of bluehairs who have been coming here for lunch seemingly since the restaurant’s opening in 1915. It isn’t a fancy place – bare tables are set with paper placemats – but it has an old-world gentility that makes meals seem at least semi-formal.

The kitchen’s repertoire includes all manner of steak, seafood, and salad; but we come for a few distinct menu items that are heart-and-soul Wisconsin. A frequent daily special is liver-dumpling soup, a homey broth filled vegetables and with one dark, tender dumpling. You can always get a plate of walleyed pike or, better yet, broiled whitefish; the latter is a pretty fillet that is toasty-sweet, cream-tender, and satisfying in a way that only lake fish ever is. The one necessary thing to eat at Pandl’s is the German pancake – a baked ‘cake similar to Yorkshire pudding that rises up in the oven to form a huge, eggy trough into which you sprinkle powdered sugar and a squeeze of lemon to form a tart-sweet syrup.

For dessert, Pandl’s offers schaum torte, an appealing bowl of sweetness in shades of white, pink, and red. Pure, crunchy meringue is topped with ivory smooth custard and a spill of strawberries in syrup. The harmony of textures and varying degrees of sweetness make schaum torte a pleasure from first bite to last.

What To Eat

German Pancake

Broiled Whitefish

Schaum Torte

Wiener Schnitzel

Fried Lake Perch



Jack Pandl’s Whitefish Bay Inn Recipes


What do you think of Jack Pandl’s Whitefish Bay Inn?

2 Responses to “Jack Pandl’s Whitefish Bay Inn”

Linda Barter

October 27th, 2010

I have been eating at this restaurant for over 50 years. The German pancake is absolutely the best you will ever eat anywhere. It takes longer to make than most dishes, so you may need to be patient, but it is well worth every bite!!!

The pancake is golden brown, puffed up on all sides and served with powder sugar and lemon. They are huge, and easily take up the whole plate. These are NOT your everyday flat pancake.

I have always found the service to be polite, friendly and easy going. This isn’t a fast food restaurant, so don’t expect to be in and out in no time at all.


Michael Jesse

June 12th, 2005

Although set in an upscale lakefront community, we found the service lacking and the food average. The German decor and the waitressing outfits, while bavarian and quaint, couldn’t make up for the poor service we received. We arrived right at opening so the service could not be excused for a busy evening as most of the wait staff was standing around doing nothing. The food was unexciting and overpriced. I paid $23 for a piece of broiled whitefish (Pandl’s specialty) that was droll and tasteless. Even, the tartar sauce (which was too tart and vinegary) served with the fish couldn’t make it anything more than ordinary. The pork tenderloin ordered by my wife was moist and flavorful, but the side order of cabbage was uninvitingly sweet from an over abundance of apples and the dumplings served with the dish were little more than mashed potatoes with some flour stirred into the mixture.

My wife and I are of German descent and know good German food when we taste it. If you’re looking for fine authentic German Cuisine, keep driving. The one bright spot was the vegetable of the day which consisted of a cauliflower and cheese bake that I could have eaten as a main dish casserole. The flavors were incredibly complex, the cauliflower was cooked perfectly al dente and the cheese was a mixture of swiss and gruyere. Baked and topped with a crunchy crisped topping, the flavor and texture combination left you wanting for more. Unfortunately, the dish is not a menu item and is only served as the vegetable of the day. The days they serve this treasure are anyone’s guess. It’s a pity but, we were so unimpressed that we passed on trying the German Pancake for fear of further disappointment. The last roadfood review was 5 years ago, I dare say that maybe time has not been kind to Jack Pandl’s Whitefish Bay Inn.


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