Hotel & Restaurant Spotlight: Lovechild Restaurant, La Crosse, WI

Rachel Seis
| February 15, 2024 | 4 Minute Read
A bar lit with a row of small lamps.. Barstools are on the right. Lovechild

When Lovechild Restaurant (above) opened in downtown La Crosse in 2017, it was something of a homecoming for co-owners Joan Ferris and Jay Sparks. Ferris is a native of the city and decided to open a restaurant in her hometown after struggling to find the right restaurant space in the Twin Cities, where the two had previously lived.

Since then, Lovechild Restaurant has been a welcome addition to La Crosse’s developing dining scene. Within its first year of operation, it was voted Best New Restaurant by readers of the Explore La Crosse website. Chef Sparks was named a semifinalist for the prestigious James Beard Award in the Best Chef, Midwest category.

But even with all the accolades, the AAA Three Diamond Lovechild Restaurant doesn’t seem stuffy or too buttoned up. Its appeal comes from the elegance in its simplicity, the friendliness of its staff and the coziness of its décor, making it the ultimate spot for date nights as well as special celebration dinners.

The restaurant fits seamlessly into charming downtown La Crosse, offering 100 seats in a space that was once a hardware wholesaler. It’s a little industrial, a little homey and completely cozy, with exposed brick walls, lush velvet furnishings and warm lighting that adds romance to the dimly lit interior.

Overhead view of a grilled lamb entree Lovechild

The menu features comforting dishes presented with style (above). Pastas go beyond standard spaghetti and meatballs and instead are served with a veal shank and prosciutto ragu, fresh hunks of Maine lobster, or gorgonzola cream and pistachio.

Main entrées include sea scallops with spicy cannellini beans, roasted chicken thighs, roast pork with fennel and polenta, and beef tenderloin with porcini mushrooms.

A stack of Portuguese cinnamon-sugar doughnuts in the shape of a pyramid on a dessert plate. Lovechild

Desserts are a draw, too. Save room for a rich chocolate cake, Portuguese cinnamon-sugar doughnuts (above) or creamy rice pudding.

Keeping customer comfort and dietary needs in mind, the restaurant also features separate menus for vegan, vegetarian, dairy-free and gluten-free diners.

AAA Inspector Notes:

A wonderful selection of creative menu offerings is available. Items like seared tuna, braised beef, lamb shank, roasted chicken and a handful of pasta options are just a few highlights. I highly recommend the Portuguese cinnamon-sugar doughnuts with lemon curd as a sweet finish to any meal.”

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