Appleton, WI – What a tricky time we live in. Today Fox Cities Magazine announced the winners of their 27th annual Golden Fork Awards. At the top of the list, high-end cocktail and small plate restaurant Fress, previously located Downtown Appleton, made high marks on the awards. The restaurant won six awards including the top “Best Overall” award, and three runner up awards. The kicker? You can’t eat at Fress.
Fress & Slackers
Fress closed last month and is now open as Slackers Restaurant & Bar. With much of the same ownership as Fress, Slackers looks pretty good. It’s, “a place to relax.” Steve Van Fossen told The Post-Crescent in this write up. According to Slacker’s Facebook it’s, “A casual bar and restaurant with a relaxed atmosphere and offering your favorite foods with a bit of flare!”
The Golden Fork Awards
The Golden Fork Awards are poll based. Anyone can vote online during the designated voting period. The awards are decided by tallying the votes. In 2019 Fress won a Golden Fork award for “Best New Restaurant” and in 2020 they won “Best Overall.” This year they won Best Overall, Best Ambiance, Best Appetizers, Best Seafood, Best Craft Cocktail, and Best Seasonal Menu. They were runner up for Best Waitstaff/Service, Best Dessert, and Best Salad Entree. The closest second was Home Burger Bar with three awards and two runner ups.
The magazine published its article on Fress with a, “*” in the title that alerted readers at the bottom of the page that “*As of September 2021, Fress Restaurant & Bar has permanently closed.” It’s hard to imagine the stress that the Golden Fork team likely had in deciding how to announce the awards given the transition. It’s also important to remember that a myriad of difficult decisions go into opening and especially closing a restaurant.
It would be a cheap shot to add this to the list of weirdness of these recent times. In reality our local business scenes and downtowns are always changing. It just serves as a reminder to support the businesses you love and be grateful that Northeast Wisconsin has great local restaurants and independent media companies like Fox Cities Magazine.