Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wisconsin Supper Clubs

by Deb Baker/Hannah Reed

Wisconsin is my home and the setting for the Queen Bee mysteries. It’s so special – the Packers, four seasons, lots of lakes and parks, and traditions you won’t find any place else. One of my favorites is our supper clubs. The very first one was started by a Milwaukee native in the 1930s.

The interior décor is usually dark wood paneling, low lights, and every meal starts out with a relish tray – crackers, pickles, including pickled peppers, celery, sometimes a cheese spread, carrots – on a Lazy Susan.

Friday nights feature all-you-can-eat fish fries, Saturday’s are all about the prime rib. It’s traditional American cuisine. You won’t find a pasta dish on the menu, that’s for sure. Oh, and most have full bars. Be sure to go back in time and order a Brandy Old Fashioned Sweet and you'll get it with maraschino cherries and an orange slice.

Once while traveling through the middle of the state, I stopped to eat at a supper club and asked what kind of wine they served, thinking they’d give me a few brand names to choose from. Instead the server answered, “Mogen David.” I almost snorted my water right out my nose. That’s the sweet stuff my mom used to keep in the fridge in case company came. Did they even make it anymore? Apparently.

This weekend the family will gather to celebrate Labor Day. Guess where we are dining Saturday night? Aren't you jealous?