Nelson has surprisingly good food for a village of just 400 people. If you’re in the mood for something light, the Nelson Creamery (S237 State Road 35; 715.673.4725) makes a good, affordable sandwich; you can follow that up with a scoop of ice cream.
For a heartier, sit down meal, head to Beth’s Twin Bluff Café (S286 State Road 35; 715.673.4040). They serve everything from breakfast to dinner but your best bet is to try one of the daily specials. Or, you can just go there for a danged good piece of pie. I had a slice of Amish Oatmeal Pie, which was rich and yummy and big enough to be my dessert for two meals.
I’m a self-professed barbecue snob. I can’t help it. My family roots are in Kansas City, so I know what good barbecue is supposed to taste like. I’m not picky about the style of ‘cue, I just want it done well. All this is my way of saying that I can’t say enough about the quality of the food at J & J Barbecue at the Nelson General Store (N208 N. Main St.; 715.673.4717). They make a southern-style barbecue that is tender, moist, and so full of flavor that you can eat it without any sauce and not feel the least bit deprived. My favorite is the BBQ beef but the pulled pork is savory goodness, too. There are only four tables inside, so you may want to get it to go and have a picnic.
About nine miles outside of town, The Stone Barn (S685 County Road KK; 715.673.4478; open May-October) is housed in the partially reconstructed ruins of a 19th century stone barn on an isolated farm; the atmosphere alone is something special. The thin crust, 16” pizzas are made from local ingredients and cooked at a high temperature in a wood-fired oven and pack great flavor; they also have a selection of regional beers and wine at reasonable prices.