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NOLA Travel: Goats on a hot sod roof – a quirky landmark in Door County, WI

Grazing goat (Glen Abbott photos)

Just to show you that New Orleans hasn’t cornered the market on the offbeat and quirky, here’s a look at something you don’t see everyday, and likely won’t find anywhere in Louisiana.

That would be your standard-issue, sod-roofed log building, topped with grazing goats.

Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant in Sister Bay, Wisconsin, has been around for 60 years, but was goat-less until 1973, when the building was remodeled and the sod roof added.

The animals get to take winters off (good thing; it gets cold in this part of Wisconsin), and they get nights off as well, exiting the roof via a “goat ramp” around back of the restaurant.

Scandinavian and German immigrants settled northern Door County in the mid-1800s, fishing the cold waters of Green Bay and Lake Michigan and originating the tradition of fish boils, for which the county is also well known.

Today, Door County’s year-round population is about 28,000, but that number grows exponentially in the summer months as tourists flock to this scenic peninsula sometimes known as the “Cape Cod of the Midwest.”

Al Johnson’s is a popular local landmark, and features Swedish recipes and servers dressed in traditional Scandinavian garb.

The restaurant’s website features a “goat cam” (actually 2 cameras), offering an up-to-the-minute look at the goats’ rooftop activities:


Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant & Butik

10698 N. Bay Shore Dr.

Sister Bay, WI 54234

(920) 854-2626

Door County tourism information:

(800) 52-RELAX

Note the "goat ramp" on the right of the photo

Glen Abbott is a New Orleans-based freelance travel writer/photographer. Visit his blog at


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