Champaign, IL - Visit Titletown, a Host of New Offerings in Green Bay, Wisconsin
By Marcia Frost
Green Bay, Wisconsin, is being transformed with the addition of a brand-new community welcoming visitors to experience the phenomenon of this big little football town.
Titletown pays homage to the Green Bay Packers, who managed to prove that a small town had big game. It’s a growing destination based around an AAA Four Diamond hotel with roots of its own in this state.
The name Kohler is as well-known in Wisconsin for their American Club Resort and Spa as they are for their faucets. Lodge Kohler, however, is a bit different. It is directly in front of Lambeau Field and anchors Titletown with both what you’d expect from Kohler and what you want in the home of Packers.
Memorabilia and photos from Packers can be found throughout the hotel, which also lets you know immediately you are a special guest. In addition to the spa, there’s a shuttle to take you to the airport and around town, an ultra-modern fitness center, and an indoor pool that makes it clear you can bring your family here.
The rooms at Lodge Kohler go beyond convenience, with comfortable beds, extra space, lots of outlets, and those famous shower heads, which come at you from every direction in the exact temperature you want. (The motto is that they give you a “heat number, not sleep number” in the rooms.)
Ten suites offer patios to have private tailgates in front of Lambeau Field, with your own barbecue grills, outdoor furniture, and electric firepits.
As for the spa, it lives up to the Kohler name. It is also the only Kohler Spa that has co-ed relaxation and water experience areas (includes whirlpool, cold plunge pool, sauna, and steam room), something unusual for most U.S. spas, and adding to the hotel’s level of romance.
I had the Lavender Rain Signature treatment, which included a lavender scrub, Vichy shower, scalp and facial massage, and moisturizing rubdown. It was followed by a pedicure in their modern salon, before I went into the deep relaxation room to rest even more.
Taverne in the Sky is Lodge Kohler’s restaurant. It’s extremely busy on gamedays because you can see scoreboard from the terrace, as well as the flyovers (when the military planes flyover the stadium). Televisions are everywhere in bar and lounge, but the restaurant, which also overlooks the stadium, is a bit more fine dining for an ideal date night.
Appetizers at Taverne in the Sky include oysters on the half shell and Alaskan king crab. We decided to go for a popular house specialty, Artichoke Lemon Fritters. They were crispy on the outside and creamy inside, with plenty of flavor.
For our entrees we had the rotisserie chicken (they have their own rotisseries) and the poached sturgeon served with faro, roasted peppers, almond, asparagus, and capers, with brown butter and lemon. It’s an unusual mix of textures and tastes that blended beautifully.
For dessert we shared the Triple Chocolate Cake and the cheesecake with Door County cherry compote and hazelnut streusel. It was impossible to decide which was better.
Lodge Kohler has one other unusual aspect which is definitely a winner. The Leaps & Bounds Café is not your usual lobby coffee stop. They have items such as nitro cold brew, tap wine, yummy popovers, and beignets, to go with the egg sandwiches and lattes. They also have a patio for game day tailgating.
You can walk next door from Lodge Kohler to Hinterland Brewery. I took a tour through the massive, state-of-the-art brewery. It includes computerized equipment not even imagined 20 years ago. They keep up with production of barrels (some of their beer is barrel aged), kegged, bottled, and canned beer to ship throughout the area, including the stands of the Milwaukee Brewers, as well as the Packers.
Tours of the brewery are done each Saturday. It costs $10 for those over 21 and that includes a beer and a souvenir glass and is worth a look for a beer lover, but save time to eat there.
The Hinterland restaurant is also not what you’d expect at a brewery. Excellent and unusual dishes with local ingredients. In addition to 16 Hinterland beers on tap and guest taps, they also have a big wine selection.
The food menu is interesting and includes spins on local favorites, such as Fried Cheese Curds served with Korean pickles and kimkim ketchup, venison meatloaf, and an Italian beef and sausage combo.
I had the Luna Stout BBQ Pork, served with kale-apple slaw on a pretzel bun, served with house-made porcini mustard chips. It was one of the best pork sandwiches I ever had. The only reason I didn’t finish the whole thing was I had looked at their dessert menu and knew I had to try something.
After considering the IPA Carrot Cake with candied pecans and cranberry relish, I settled on the Luna Stout Peanut Butter Brownie with sea salt caramel ice cream. It was scrumptious, and I had to take the half I couldn’t finish back to my hotel along with the pork.
We had dinner one night at 1919 Kitchen & Tap in Lambeau Field. It’s open daily regardless of whether Packers are playing. It resembles a sports bar with all the televisions, but it’s larger and has a more varied menu than you would expect. We shared the Parmesan=Breaded Cheese Curds with a buttermilk parsley dressing. The cheese was soft, not too stringy, and very flavorful.
I took the waitress’ recommendation and went for the Hickory Smoked Ribs, served with a beer mac and cheese, cole slaw, beans, and cornbread. I was not disappointed.
My friend had the 919 Steak Plate, which he thought was cooked to perfection, with a center cut sirloin, hasselback potatoes, French beans, and chevre (goat cheese) butter.
The Brandy Cheesecake was good, but a bit too sweet for me. We devoured every bit of the Apple Crisp with cheese streusel, pumpkin ice cream and a pumpkin caramel sauce.
The next day we took a tour of Lambeau Field. Tours are offered everyday (except Christmas and Easter) the Green Bay Packers are not playing. You learn many details of the history of this unique team from the small Wisconsin town, the only one in the NFL to be publicly owned (by 365,000 owners).
As someone who doesn’t follow a lot of football, I came in knowing little and walked out in awe of the 13 championships this team that started in a little town with no money garnered.
We also talked about the Legendary Vince Lombardi who changed the course of Green Bay history as. The tour went through spots throughout the stadium, including the visiting locker room, players tunnel, press room, and even down to the field itself.
They offer three different tours. We took the longest, which is two hours, and then you go into the Hall of Fame museum on your own.
Titletown, which initially opened this summer with Lodge Kohler, is building up. They just opened the ice skating and tubing hill this winter for the first time. Currently, it’s open every day, charging $3 per tubing ride and $2-9 for skating, depending on the day. Family deals available. Skate rentals are also available
Next to the ice rink is the 46 below Café. The food is better than you’d ever expect at a skating rink. You can’t go wrong with the grilled cheese and tomato bisque. They have additional sandwiches and salads, and even serve cocktails.
Titletown also has a playground, a football field, and outdoor games. More activities will be coming, including a Microsoft Think Tank, Movie nights, and concerts.
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