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?


Aurian said...

Sounds lovely :) I am going out to dinner tonight at a restaurant with a Michelin star, in a genuine castle:

It is restaurant week here in Holland, and you can dine for reduced prices in the better restaurants. Looking forward to it, and to dressing up for it.

Marilyn S. said...

It's so funny to see this post, as we were just trying to describe to our (grown) children, what makes a Supper Club a Supper Club. We're Wisconsinites as well. We took them to The Village on Delavan Lake and it fits your description, except they did have pasta and a wine list. But the relishes were there, as well as the wood paneling, and the bartender most certainly knew what a Brandy Old Fashioned Sweet is (which they don't know in NYC). Our son's girlfriend ordered Supper Club beer; too funny. Thanks for the post!

CindyD said...

When we were visiting our daughter Land O'Lakes WI we passed a supper club and wondered how they differed from a restaurant. Our guess was that they dated back to prohibition. Thanks for explaining!

Nanc said...

Here in Michigan we go to the local Sportsmen Club for their Friday Night Fish Fries...a long time tradition that we love.