Wisconsin Supper Clubs

Have you ever been to a Wisconsin supper club? If you haven’t, you’re missing a major life experience. Wisconsin supper clubs have a presence in most parts of (duhhh) Wisconsin. Little, sometimes out-of-the-way towns will have good restaurants that feature four course meals: soup; salad; main course; and dessert. And of course there’s the obligatory beverages: beer; spirits; and jug wine (though sometimes one is surprised by a genuine “wine list”).

When you enter a supper club, you usually pass the bar.  The trick is – do not pass the bar.   Ever.  There’s a protocol.  In most places, you go to the bar, say hello to the bartender and indicate you would like a table.  He (or she) will then give you the once over.  Make a mental note that you want a table.  And ask if you want a drink.  You must always say “yes” to the drink.  Or you may still be sitting at the bar at closing time.  At some point, a table will open and you’ll be escorted into the dining room. Immediately a relish tray, menus, water, bread and butter will be plopped on your table.    

Menus contain the usual assortment of two, four and no-legged protein.  My suggestion is go for the fish.  Usually perch or walleye.  Interestingly walleyed pike from Wisconsin may not be served in Wisconsin.  Walleye all comes from Canada.   Regulations. . . . Your entree includes mashed or baked potatoes and vegetables (sometimes canned).  Soups are usually onion or some “cream of” soup.  There’s often a salad bar. Served salads can be disappointing.  If that’s the option, have the blue cheese dressing.  I mean – what the hay?  But the spigot is on — from bar to your table so you may have as much fire water as you want.  Dessert is usually a chocolate sundae in a shiny tin cup.  

I’ve been to my share of supper clubs – mostly in Door County and Northern Wisconsin.  Guide’s Inn in Boulder Junction and Birmingham’s on County B north of Sturgeon Bay are favorites.  These are two I would go back to again.  And again.  And order the fish. . . .     

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One thought on “Wisconsin Supper Clubs

  1. John Stonebraker

    I have just acquired a resort-type property in the Dalmatian Islands. Wow, you should try the fish there. The locals say a fish swims three times. In the sea, in olive oil and in wine. Of course, you drink the wine to reach stage number three. Every konoba (restaurant) keeps a small oven with a little charcoal fire glowing until around midnight. The fish (just off the boat) is grilled on the fire, head, tail and fins. Local olive oil is liberally applied. Amazing. S. PS When I first started going over there I had the following conversation at a konoba in Split: “What is the featured fish tonight?” “We have a nice Adriatic Sea bass, sir.” “Sounds great. What does it come with?” “The waiter.”

    _____________________ John Stonebraker (864) 944-1205 Home (864) 247-0341 Mobile (239) 949-6918 Florida 353.064.668.6019 Ireland

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