Location, location, location … for some of you, it seems to matter as much as the quality of food when recommending a supper club.
Readers from Holmen (LaCrosse County) to Bristol (Kenosha County) mentioned places from Appleton to Wausau when we recently asked for advice about supper clubs.
This is a collection that I want to clip and save. Many thanks to everybody who participated; here are a few of your responses.
Margaret Johnson, Eau Claire, writes that High Shores Supper Club, 17985 County X (715-723-9854), is one of the best supper clubs in the Eau Claire/Chippewa Falls area, partly because it is on Lake Wissota. The menu includes ostrich and alligator, as well as typical Wisconsin fare.
“The décor is nifty and different – many tiny white lights, plus a large array of old band instruments,” she says.
Margaret will receive four tickets to the Green Bay Packer Hall of Fame, which is described as “the first sports museum in the world to be dedicated to preserving the history of a single sports team.” For more, go to www.packerhalloffame.com or call (888) 442-7225.
Char Conrad of Kenosha says she and husband Bob are “supper club aficionados.” She recommends the Sunset Supper Club, N7364 Winnebago Drive (920-922-4540), as a great place to watch beautiful sunsets.
On the east side of Lake Winnebago and near Fond du Lac, “it’s
tucked in among the trees” and has a cocktail lounge that overlooks the lake.
The food? “Delectable steaks melt in your mouth,” Char contends. She also recommends the Cotton Patch Supper Club, W4890 Lake Drive, Shawano (715-745-2101), as a memorable place to have “a dinner in the woods, overlooking a pond with deer and waterfowl.”
Besides “excellent food” and amaretto cheesecake, Char says there is a piano bar with great entertainment.
She will receive a gift pack of honey products from Honey Acres, Ashippun, a family business that is 150 years old. For more, go to www.honeyacres.com or call (800) 558-7745.
Heide Maginn, Kenosha, says her family’s favorite restaurant is the Woodbine Inn, N11091 19th Ave., Necedah (608-565-2122).
“It takes about 45 minutes to get there from my parents’ home in Adams, and my folks drive there every Friday night for their ‘date.’ It is a rustic restaurant with a cozy fireplace, and candles on all the tables,” she writes.
In particular, she recommends the fish fry and buffet dinners.
Heidi will receive a surprise package from the Greater Minneapolis Convention and Visitors Bureau; for more about that area, go to www.minneapolis.org or call (888) 676-6757.
“Perhaps after a day spent on the Ice Age Trail, a perfect ending would be dinner at Fosters Riverview Inn,” writes Marianne Stull of Holcombe. There is “a beautiful view of the Chippewa River” and “a charming drive on Highway 178, which winds along the river.”
She calls the menu interesting and makes note of the “many daily specials.” Fosters is at 24118 Hwy. 178 and (715) 239-6611.
Ron and Diane Flitsch, Bristol, narrowed their supper club choices to two.
The Colony House Restaurant, 25811 119th St., Trevor (262-862-2076), is near the Wisconsin-Illinois border. “One of their Saturday specials is filet Oscar,” Diane says. “The filet mignon melts in your mouth and is topped with real crabmeat and asparagus, with a wonderful Béarnaise sauce over all.” Her other favorite is southwest of Fond du Lac. Twin Shores Resort, W10604 Chief Kuno Trail and (920) 928-2576, is in Fox Lake, where her father lives.
“We have tried several of their entrees and have never been disappointed.” Diane writes. “Their menu is varied and includes seafood, steak, prime rib. We have even seen ostrich steaks on the menu, but have not tried them.”
Soups and stews are described as “fabulously rich,” and there is “a huge variety in their potato and salad selections.”
Over in the Fox Valley, Gladys and Ted Schwandt of Neenah say they love the steak and seafood at George’s Steak House, 2208 S. Memorial St., Appleton (920-733-4939).
They also are fans of Robbins Restaurant, 1810 Omro Road, Oshkosh (920-235-2840). I agree – that’s where my college graduation dinner was more than 25 years ago. (It took a couple more years to get the actual degree.)
Sheila Zohorik of Eau Claire likes the fish and chicken fry at Drugan’s Supper Club, W7665 Sylvester Road, on Highway 53, north of Holmen (608-526-4144).
The place has a Norwegian atmosphere, she says, and the winter menu includes lutefisk, lefsa and meatballs on Sundays. “It’s the best place to stop for a meal if you are between La Crosse and Eau Claire.”
Ruth Anderson, Augusta, wants others to know about Chuck’s Black Bear Supper Club, on Highway 27, five miles north of Augusta (715-286-2687).
“The relish tray always has homemade rice pudding on it, so you can have it for dessert instead of the scrumptious bread pudding — which they have only on weekends,” Ruth writes.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel restaurant critic Dennis Getto probably would agree. Here’s an excerpt from his review of the place:
“Owner Chuck Witte has expanded on the notion of the relish tray, practically turning it into a main course. Besides the standard items, his includes peas, beets, rice pudding and sharp cheddar and horseradish spreads, plus fresh rolls and crackers.”
Mary Burns, Eau Claire, recommends Hereford and Hops, 2201 Sherman St., Wausau (715-849-3700) as a good place to stop for a meal on the way home from a Packer game. It is a brew-pub where you can grill your own steak.
Kathy and Gert Lippold, Racine, recommend Wells Bros. Restaurant, 2148 Mead St., Racine (262-632-4408), a family-run business that specializes in homemade Italian dishes.
“I suggest reservations, because it is always packed,” Kathy says.
Another favorite is The Corner House, 1521 Washington Ave. (262-637-1295), called “a classic supper club that is famous for its prime rib.” The Lippolds also mentioned Rafters Restaurant, 7228 S. 27th St., Oak Creek (414-761-2222), which specializes in charcoal-grilled steaks and chops.
We also wanted to compare notes with “outsiders,” so we contacted Kelly Ryan of Eagan, Minn., an ex-housemate from college who can be heard on WLTE-FM 102.9, a light rock station in Minneapolis.
She’s from Wisconsin and doesn’t think there’s much difference between supper clubs in the two states. Her favorite in Eagan is Jensen’s Supper Club, 3840 Sibley Memorial Hwy. (651-688-7969).
“It’s family owned, so you get personal service and great food (their popovers are my favorite) in a cozy atmosphere,” she writes. “There is live music a couple of nights per week. And, like most supper clubs, you get a
relish tray with your drinks.”
For Chuck Lennon, of the Minnesota Office of Tourism, the definition of “supper club” goes like this:
“NOT chi chi.
“Very, like … roadside.
“Unique but basic décor.
“Mostly American fare.
“Been there a while.
“Has lock on local word-of-mouth – ‘it’s the place to go to when you’re hereabouts’” (from the movie “Fargo”).
Last, our call for your advice included a musing about whether supper clubs were more a part of our past than our future.
For the record, we’ll note that Dan and Bob Relph – a father-son team — are remodeling a Madison bar/restaurant that was built in 1934. It will be called Noble’s Broadway Supper Club, 909 E. Broadway (608-216-0275) and is expected to open this month.