By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Nov 21, 2023 at 1:02 PM

Snuggle up with some holiday cheer as OnMilwaukee shares stories of everything merry and bright in the spirit of the season.

The OnMilwaukee Ho Ho Holiday Guide is brought to you by Educators Credit Union, Harley-Davidson Museum and MolsonCoors

For the fourth year running, Natty Oaks Pub & Eatery, 11505 W. National Ave. in West Allis, will be offering families (up to six attendees) the opportunity to enjoy a festive evening out, complete with a walk through a Winter Wonderland featuring 12,000 square feet of Christmas lights and decorations, dinner in a festive Santa Chalet, a chat with Santa and treats to celebrate the season. 

John Roots, owner of Natty Oaks and veteran Santa Claus, says that the holiday experiences were designed to capture the imagination of the inner child in all of us during the holiday season. 

“When I dress up as Santa Claus, I know I’m doing the show for the parents,” Roots says. “But I’m also creating memories for those kids. Through our holiday decor and the Santa Chalet experiences, I’m trying to recreate what I loved as a child and share it with others.”

Festive environment around chaletsX

In addition to the Santa Chalets, Natty Oaks will also be offering an additional opportunity for groups of adults (up to eight guests) to Dine in a Dome. This similarly festive experience features drinks, treats and an intimate meal in a festively decorated outdoor dome.

Both experiences are available Nov. 27 through Dec. 23. Guests are encouraged to check out the details (below) and make their reservations as soon as possible, since the experiences have sold out quickly in the past.

For guests who’d simply like to enjoy a meal with the family inside the festively decorated restaurant at Natty Oaks, Santa Claus will be available for photos in 45-minute stints outside at his North Pole station amid the festive holiday decor. Photos with Santa are free, but a donation to support the MACC Fund’s work to fight childhood cancer and blood disorders is requested.

Santa taking photos with a family  (Photo: Natty Oaks)
Santa taking photos with a family (Photo: Natty Oaks)

Santa Chalets

Imagine dinner in a festive, heated and decorated dome surrounded by a landscape filled with holiday characters and festive lights, plus a personalized visit from Santa Claus himself. That’s what you get when you reserve a meal in one of four uniquely decorated Santa Chalets.

Reservations are available for 70-minute dinner experiences for parties up to six guests. During sign-up, parents are asked to include the names and ages of their children, along with additional notes about each attendee (Bobby is working hard to be better at math; Cindy loves horses, etc.) that will assist Santa in offering a more personalized experience.

Santa ChaletX

During the Santa Chalet experience, you’ll be greeted with cups of hot cocoa (shots can be added for a more adult hot cocoa experience) before you place your order for dinner. While you’re waiting for your meal, you’ll get a special visit from Santa himself so you can share your holiday wishlist and take photos. The evening wraps up with dinner and take-home treats from Freese’s Candy and Carrie’s Krispies.

Menu items for the Santa Chalet experience include festive cocktails for adults (see examples below) along with appetizers like cheese curds, Reuben rolls, mozzarella sticks, spinach artichoke dip and soft pretzels. There are also salads, “Smash Can” burgers, fried chicken or pot roast sandwiches, plus treats like funnel cake fries and peanut butter toffee bars. A children’s menu is also availabl with burgers, grilled cheese, mac & cheese, chicken fingers and cheese quesadillas.

Reservations are $225 on weekdays and $250 on weekends (and during the week of Christmas), with $50 of the reservation fee returned to you as a food and beverage credit. Hot cocoa and treats are complementary.  Make yours here.

Dine in a Dome

Spending time with friends and family is a hallmark of the holiday season. So why not make your time together a more memorable experience by dining in one of Natty Oaks’ two winter domes?

Dinner domeX

Reservations for Dine in a Dome experiences include a 90-minute dining experience for up to eight guests inside a heated, decorated dome just outside the festively decorated Winter Wonderland and Santa Chalets on the Natty Oaks patio. The experience begins with complimentary hot cocoa (add a shot to yours for a slight upcharge) followed by your choice of holiday cocktails and dinner.

Menu options include appetizers, burgers, sandwiches and salads (many listed above). Meanwhile, a holiday cocktail menu includes options like the Mistletoe Old Fashioned (muddled cranberries, rye, cranberry simple syrup and a snowy sugar rim); the Holiday White Russion (made with the addition of peppermint schnapps and a frosted peppermint rim); and The Grinch (white rum, Midori, Sprite, a red crystal sugar rim and cherry garnish).

Holiday cocktails

Prefer a festive shot? "Naughty" shots feature Fireball and apple pie whiskey with a sprinkle rim. Meanwhile, "Nice" shots feature Rumchata and Dough Ball Whiskey with a graham cracker rim.
Reservations are $200 on weekdays and $225 on weekends (and during the week of Christmas), with $100 of the reservation fee returned to you as a food and beverage credit. Hot cocoa is complementary.  Make yours here.

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.