Wisconsin Supper Clubs

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Fred Ferris
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2005/03/01 12:46:43 (permalink)

Wisconsin Supper Clubs

Having just moved to Chicago, we want to take a quick road trip up to Wisconsin for a couple of days and experience as many of the classic, old style, woody Wisconsin Supper Clubs as we can.

Wondering if anyone can recommend an area or areas with the highest concentration of these types of places (if that's possible)..we'd just like to get a place to stay somewhere close to as many as possible and see as much as we can. Or failing that, is there a specfic travel route that boasts a wealth of these joints? Really want to experience the ATMOSPHERE more than anything...food actually is a secondary consideration (though certainly would be a bonus to find something yummy.)

Thanks very much!
#1

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    ScreamingChicken
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    RE: Wisconsin Supper Clubs 2005/03/01 13:01:49 (permalink)
    The Butterfly Club and The Manor in the Janesville/Beloit area have been around forever. If you feel like fish, there's Ralph's (potato pancakes!) in Delavan Inlet. Ishnala, Otto's, Wally's House of Embers, Fritsch's (not 100% sure of the name) and the Del-Bar in Wisconsin Dells are neat places; when we ate at the Del-Bar I felt like I should've been drinking martinis and smoking unfiltered cigarettes. There are several websites devoted to Dells tourism so finding detailed info isn't difficult. I think there's also a supper club on WI-26 between Jefferson and Milton (can't remember if it's north or south of Ft. Atkinson) but the name escapes me at the moment. There are a few in the Newville/Lake Koshkonong area (Rock County) as well. The Big Foot Inn in Big Foot IL is another long-time place, and from there it's not too far to The Abbey (more of a resort than a supper club, but still one of the area's high points) in Fontana.

    Sorry if these are a little far for you (are you in Chicago proper or the suburbs) but I'm not very familiar with southeastern WI.

    Brad
    #2
    JAHelgy
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    RE: Wisconsin Supper Clubs 2005/03/01 15:03:16 (permalink)
    Well, having grown up in Wis.......... I'd have to recommend the "Hiedel House" if you're going to be in cebtral Wis. They're awesome........ and not too much $$$$!




    --James
    #3
    jeepguy
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    RE: Wisconsin Supper Clubs 2005/03/01 15:28:36 (permalink)
    You need to go way N to Minocqua, St Germaine, Eagle River area to find real Northwoods supper clubs. Try Blink Bonnie in Minocqua. I'd say 99% of the locals go for the Fri fish fry. Ya hey dere!
    #4
    4fish
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    RE: Wisconsin Supper Clubs 2005/03/01 15:34:11 (permalink)
    Just a little bit farther north than the Dells, outside of Necedah, is the Woodbine Inn. It's tucked back in the woods and the food is outstanding.

    The Carlton is Tomah is also pretty good.
    #5
    chicagostyledog
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    RE: Wisconsin Supper Clubs 2005/03/01 16:53:17 (permalink)
    Fred,

    Some of the finest Wisconsin supper clubs are located in Vilas County, which includes Manitowish Waters, Winchester, and Boulder Junction. Here are a few of the best:


    Birch Lake Resort in Winchester has a fabulous Friday family style fish fry. The pan fried perch is their signature dish. Great home made breakfasts on Sunday's.
    Guide's Inn in Boulder Junction serves excellent veal and fish dishes.

    I know the owners and head chefs at these clubs and can personally vouch for the quality of their food.

    I haven't been to Blink Bonnies since 2000. Back then, they served an excellent filet. They've changed owners since then. They open at 4:00pm and there's always a line at 3:45. If you don't get in early, plan on a long, long, long wait at the smokey bar.

    If you want the up-north supper club feeling, good food, and a short drive, try L-Wood Tap on Lincoln Avenue in Lincolnwood. This is the old "Bones" restaurant owned by the Letture Entertain You group. They serve an excellent chopped salad with bacon, blue cheese, and walnuts and good baby back ribs and skirt steaks.

    CSD
    Born in Chicago, raised in Chicago & Lincolnwood, moved to Wisconsin, selling Vienna Beef hot dogs and Polish in southeastern Wisconsin.
    #6
    Fred Ferris
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    RE: Wisconsin Supper Clubs 2005/03/01 17:04:13 (permalink)
    Thanks very much everyone...keep 'em coming..

    And yes, "Chicagostyle", I've been to L-Woods and love it...that's exactly the type of place I'm looking for (hopefully a real life version of what L-Woods so wonderfully recreates)...
    #7
    cito4633
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    RE: Wisconsin Supper Clubs 2005/03/01 17:47:54 (permalink)
    Nightengale Supper Club--Sturgeon Bay.

    Tender prime rib ( the size of your head ), cheese buffet in the bar , reasonable prices----All add up to a great experience.

    FYI---There is more of a similarity with my golf swing and that of Tiger Wood's than than there is with " L. Woods and Wisconsin Supper Club" It's a "duded-up" place for North Shore-types who think they're experiencing the real deal.

    #8
    chicagostyledog
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    RE: Wisconsin Supper Clubs 2005/03/01 18:32:34 (permalink)
    L-Woods is what it is. It'll never be a northwoods Wisconsin supper club. To accomplish that would require the following:

    1. Allow smoking in the entire restaurant.
    2. Allow only American built cars & trucks in the parking lot. Foreign cars must park by the pool.
    3. Have designated "snowmobile parking" only.
    4. Every car in the parking lot is unlocked with keys in the ignition.
    5. Rolex, gold, diamonds, and furs not allowed in the restaurant.
    6. Pop will be called soda.
    7. L-Wood chopped salad is replaced by a self serve salad bar.
    8. Baby back ribs and skirt steaks are replaced by filets.
    9. All fish is deep fried and served on Fridays only.
    10.Doggie bags are only given to dog owners. Must show proof of dog waiting in vehicle in parking lot with all windows open.
    11.No senior discounts or Entertainment Book coupons honored.
    12.Sima now serves free samples of fried venison instead of kasha.
    13.Green Bay Packer motif throughout the restautant with more animal heads adorning the walls. At least one 4 foot muskie must be above the bar.
    14.The wait staff would look like this- http://my.execpc.com/~sjkrautk/schnapp2.html No north shore Nancys here!
    #9
    Hastyman
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    RE: Wisconsin Supper Clubs 2005/03/01 18:40:15 (permalink)
    I've never had anything there but the Friday night fish fry (which is EXCELLENT), but you can't get much more Milwaukee than Williams Supper Club in the suburb of Muskego on Janesville Road. The upstairs is fancy, the downstairs a lot more homey, almost like a 1960s-style rec room. The place has been there forever and is packed every night. If you get the fish fry, be sure to ask for the potato pancakes since they don't automatically come with it.

    An unusual choice is the Blew Inn, just off Highway 26 between Watertown and Juneau. It's ostensibly a Chinese restaurant, but everybody goes there for steak. I can't vouch for the quality personally, however, since I've never been there (it's kind of pricey).

    One place I can vouch for is the Iron Ridge Inn, just off Highway 67 in (curiously enough) Iron Ridge in Dodge County. It's famous for steaks and prime rib; it's a little shy on the atmosphere, however.

    Anyway, everybody in Wisconsin says the real supper clubs are up north, and I'm sure they're right, but you don't need to go all the way to Vilas County to find a good supper club.
    #10
    chicagostyledog
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    RE: Wisconsin Supper Clubs 2005/03/01 18:55:43 (permalink)
    Hastyman,
    Try the Jackson Grill at 3736 W. Mitchell in Milwaukee if you want a 40's Milwaukee supper club with great steaks and a wonderful Friday night fish fry featuring pan fried perch in butter. There's also Wegner's St.Martin's Inn 11318 W. St.Martins Road in Franklin serving up some fine food in an up north NASCAR setting. The Rueben Rolls are excellent. Reservations required during the week. Go very, very early for the Friday fish fry. Dennis Ghetto from jsonline highly recommends both restaurants and so do I. The Wagon Wheel in Delevan, down the street from Millie's Pancake House is another wonderful Wisconsin supper club worth visiting. And while you're in Milwaukee, stop in at Jakes on North Avenue for the absoultely world's best corned beef sandwich.
    #11
    fcbaldwin
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    RE: Wisconsin Supper Clubs 2005/03/01 19:01:42 (permalink)


    Wow. I've never heard of these "Supper Clubs" before.

    Found on web search: http://www.sky-lawn.com/



    Looks great!


    #12
    stricken_detective
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    RE: Wisconsin Supper Clubs 2005/03/01 19:37:15 (permalink)
    I was going to say Ishnala & the Dells area, too.

    http://www.wisdells.com
    #13
    Hastyman
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    RE: Wisconsin Supper Clubs 2005/03/01 20:55:43 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by chicagostyledog

    Hastyman,
    Try the Jackson Grill at 3736 W. Mitchell in Milwaukee if you want a 40's Milwaukee supper club with great steaks and a wonderful Friday night fish fry featuring pan fried perch in butter. There's also Wegner's St.Martin's Inn 11318 W. St.Martins Road in Franklin serving up some fine food in an up north NASCAR setting. The Rueben Rolls are excellent. Reservations required during the week. Go very, very early for the Friday fish fry. Dennis Ghetto from jsonline highly recommends both restaurants and so do I. The Wagon Wheel in Delevan, down the street from Millie's Pancake House is another wonderful Wisconsin supper club worth visiting. And while you're in Milwaukee, stop in at Jakes on North Avenue for the absoultely world's best corned beef sandwich.


    I'd love to try the Jackson Grill but my wife won't go east of 76th Street after dark. I've heard that St. Martin's is very good too and we're in the Franklin/Oak Creek area all the time. I've been to Benji's for a corned beef sandwich and matzo ball soup and I loved it, but I'll give Jake's a try sometime.
    #14
    chicagostyledog
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    RE: Wisconsin Supper Clubs 2005/03/01 21:35:35 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Hastyman

    quote:
    Originally posted by chicagostyledog

    Hastyman,
    Try the Jackson Grill at 3736 W. Mitchell in Milwaukee if you want a 40's Milwaukee supper club with great steaks and a wonderful Friday night fish fry featuring pan fried perch in butter. There's also Wegner's St.Martin's Inn 11318 W. St.Martins Road in Franklin serving up some fine food in an up north NASCAR setting. The Rueben Rolls are excellent. Reservations required during the week. Go very, very early for the Friday fish fry. Dennis Ghetto from jsonline highly recommends both restaurants and so do I. The Wagon Wheel in Delevan, down the street from Millie's Pancake House is another wonderful Wisconsin supper club worth visiting. And while you're in Milwaukee, stop in at Jakes on North Avenue for the absoultely world's best corned beef sandwich.


    I'd love to try the Jackson Grill but my wife won't go east of 76th Street after dark. I've heard that St. Martin's is very good too and we're in the Franklin/Oak Creek area all the time. I've been to Benji's for a corned beef sandwich and matzo ball soup and I loved it, but I'll give Jake's a try sometime.


    The Jackson Grill neighborhood is okay at night. Jake's Deli is in an inner city urban area that might seem unsafe to some. I usually park in front or on the first side street west of Jakes. When you enter, sit at a table and have one of the wait staff serve you. Eating there is half the fun. Most customers at Jakes get carry out, so getting a table or booth is easy. I'll go to Benji's for a bowl of matzo ball soup, hoppel poppel, or lox & bagels. Jake's is my place for corned beef.
    #15
    chicagostyledog
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    RE: Wisconsin Supper Clubs 2005/03/02 00:17:30 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Peachpie9

    quote:
    Originally posted by chicagostyledog
    [br I'll go to Benji's for a bowl of matzo ball soup, hoppel poppel, or lox & bagels. Jake's is my place for corned beef.


    Hoppel poppel???


    To see Hoppel Poppel on Roadfood go to the home page: search Roadfood restaurants-Wisconsin-Delis-Benjis.
    #16
    Sundancer7
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    RE: Wisconsin Supper Clubs 2005/03/02 07:21:26 (permalink)
    I have seen many supper clubs in Ohio and other states but I have often wondered what the definition of a supper club is? Is it just a restaurant or what. Any thoughts would help.

    Thanks
    Paul E. Smith
    knoxville, TN
    #17
    ScreamingChicken
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    RE: Wisconsin Supper Clubs 2005/03/02 08:30:14 (permalink)
    When you get right down to it, a supper club is basically a restaurant. You don't have to be a member and there's no secret handshake to get in...well, unless it really is a club. They can range from extremely casual to somewhat upscale, although the word "gourmet" is never associated with them. The setting is usually pretty intimate: wood paneling, low ceilings, etc.

    A few years ago there was an article in the Wisconsin State Journal about supper clubs: http://www.madison.com/archives/read.php?ref=wsj:1999:06:27:197870:Local/Wisconsin

    And here are some archived articles that might be of interest:

    http://www.madison.com/archives/read.php?ref=tct:2002:11:09:36949:LIFESTYLE

    http://www.madison.com/archives/read.php?ref=wsj:2002:01:07:42137:DAYBREAK

    http://www.madison.com/archives/read.php?ref=wsj:2000:06:05:154495:Daybreak

    The "search" function at http://www.madison.com produced 46 articles with the term "supper club" from the past 15 years.

    Now that we've established what a supper club is, who knows the difference between a "flatlander" and a "FIB"?

    Brad
    #18
    kland01s
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    RE: Wisconsin Supper Clubs 2005/03/02 08:50:30 (permalink)
    My memories of northwoods supper clubs is a place that brings out a relish tray with herring, cottage cheese, cucumbers, radishs and maybe cole slaw on it before you order. Dinner then includes a salad, bread or crackers before the entree. I remember things on the menus ranging from steaks to breaded shrimp, pork chops and shrimp scampi. I've been to many all over Wisconsin and can't remember the name of any of them, most recent was last summer near Lake Geneva.
    #19
    chicagostyledog
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    RE: Wisconsin Supper Clubs 2005/03/02 09:22:41 (permalink)
    Brad,

    What's faster than a greyhound at Dairyland Park. If you can answer that question, then you know what a FIB is. BTW, I no longer drive with a radar detector. Since moving to Wisconsin, I drive at the speed limit because the tickets are too expensive and I don't want to accumulate any points causing my insurance premiums to increase.

    CSD
    Born in Chicago, raised in Chicago, moved to Wisconsin(ex-Fib), selling Vienna Beef hot dog and Polish.

    I'm happy as a clam, right where I am,
    Cause I'm a Cheesehead,in Beertown.
    #20
    4fish
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    RE: Wisconsin Supper Clubs 2005/03/02 11:11:57 (permalink)
    OK, Brad, I'll bite. What IS the difference between a flatlander and a FIB? I'm Wisconsin born and bred, and I'm familiar with what a flatlander is, but FIB is a new one to me, although I could probably make a pretty good guess. Perhaps I'm associating with, ahem, a more polite class of people?
    #21
    ScreamingChicken
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    RE: Wisconsin Supper Clubs 2005/03/02 11:21:47 (permalink)
    Let's just say that a FIB is a flatlander with an oversized ego and attitude to match. For some reason many of them seem to come from the Chicago area (no, not all Chicagoans are FIBs - I knew many good people during my 4-1/2 year stay there). Suffice it to say that in this forum the full expansion of the acronym would get me into hot water with The Powers That Be...

    Ironically, while my family has some Wisconsin heritage I myself am a flatlander by birth like CSD.

    Brad
    #22
    chicagostyledog
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    RE: Wisconsin Supper Clubs 2005/03/02 14:27:09 (permalink)
    Brad & 4Fish,

    Before I moved to the Badger State, I always thought the difference between Illinois and Wisconsin was land. I was wrong! It's a difference of attitude and way of life. The answer to "What's faster than a greyhound at Dairyland Park?" is a car with Illinois plates. Although the speed limit on the tollway is 65mph, 80mph+ is the norm. I've seen people go through the I-Pass lane over 65mph. Enter Wisconsin at that speed and expect a $300+ ticket and/or possible arrest. Wisconsin doesn't have "supervision." If you're caught speeding, you're guilty and pay the fine. It's the "I own the road, I'm better than you, I'm first, and get out of my way" attitude of a few that symbolizes a FIB and it's not just on the road. I fully understand this mindset as a former Chicagoan. Chicago and it's suburbs are over populated. The highways can't handle the traffic. Every where you go, you wait. Rush hour is all the time. You sit and idle in traffic. Rush hour in Wisconsin is when speeds drop to 55 from 65. The Illinois cost of living (housing & taxes)is unbelievable. Parking in Chicago is a horror story. There is none! Imagine paying $25,000 for 2 white lines aka a parking spot in a condo! Every weekend and during the summer, thousands "escape to Wisconsin" because we're the "up north" recreational playground. Wisconsin offers year round outdoor sports and vacations. Too bad a few have created the FIB status.
    #23
    jeepguy
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    RE: Wisconsin Supper Clubs 2005/03/02 15:41:14 (permalink)
    Fred, not sure where in Chicago you are but the closest thing to a Northwoods Supper Club in my area is Eddie's Restaurant and Lounge in downtown Arlington Heights IL. Dark panelled walls with the flowing river lighted Hamm's Beer signs etc. It's been here forever and packs em in! Wed and Fri fish fry (perch) $8.95 ayce. Outstanding fish, awesome slaw, good fries, bread, and homeade tartar sauce to die for! Everything on their menu that i've had i've enjoyed! NW Highway directly across from the Metra station. Also right over the WI border in Genoa City WI is Fitzgerald's Genoa Junction. They pull off a Door County Fish Boil that rivals the best. Full menu as the boil may be seasonal. Delicious whitefish with butter, great slaw- again! And this awesome crispy salted rye bread. Again AYCE. Just a couple of my favorites you might enjoy when you don't feel like a long trip. Enjoy!
    #24
    jeepguy
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    RE: Wisconsin Supper Clubs 2005/03/02 15:54:44 (permalink)
    Years ago a few of my Chicago friends and myself found out what a FIB was. We were boating on Lake Delavan and one of us made a comment to some other guys in a boat that they didn't like. They docked near us and nothing else was said but a little later there was a knock on my buddie's parents cottage door. Dan opened the door and this Cheesehead the size of a linebacker punched my in the face, breaking his nose and knocking out a tooth. These morons were hiding in the trees waiting for us to come out. We didn't, only later to get Dan over to ER. First house west of Lake Lawn Lodge.FWB"S!!!!!
    #25
    chicagostyledog
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    RE: Wisconsin Supper Clubs 2005/03/02 16:13:55 (permalink)
    Jeepguy,

    The knife cuts both ways. I've had my share of incidents with people here too. Although I live in Wisconsin, people can easily recognize I'm a Chicago boy from my looks and my distinctive Chicago accent. As long as they continue to buy my hot dogs and enjoy them, it doesn't bother me. I've even learned to keep my mouth closed when my customers put ketchup on their hot dogs.

    CSD
    Born in Chicago, raised in Chicago, moved to Wisconsin, selling Vienna Beef hot dogs & Polish, I look Chicago, I speak Chicago, and I still use the words "pop" and "drinking fountain" instead of "soda" and "bubbler."
    #26
    ScreamingChicken
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    RE: Wisconsin Supper Clubs 2005/03/02 17:01:06 (permalink)
    Geez, now the Chicago guy's pulled out a knife!

    JG, sorry that happened to your friend. If it happened back when Forrest Gregg was the Packer head coach it might've actually BEEN a linebacker that hit him! There's no excuse for sucker-punching a guy and then waiting in ambush. I'm sure every state in the union has its fair share of jerks...

    But since you were at Lake Lawn I hope you had a chance to go over to Ralph's for fish and potato pancakes!

    My hot dogs get nothing but mustard and 2 pickle spears, which always get eaten separately. My wife, however, puts ketchup on corned beef...

    Brad
    #27
    Fred Ferris
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    RE: Wisconsin Supper Clubs 2005/03/02 17:48:48 (permalink)
    Dear Lord....this seems to be deteriorating into a bitter regional confict...all from my innocent supper club question...being a Los Angeles native, this seems to be even more contentious than the "Los Feliz (east side)" vs. "Santa Monica (west side)" rivalry. Or, here in Chicago, the "North Side" vs. "South Side" nonsense. Just as in those cases, is there really THAT much difference between Chicagoans and Wisconsinites (is that a word?)..or for that matter Los Angelenos and Kenosha natives? There are morons and great people wherever you go...it just too easy to attribute the positive or negative attributes of INDIVIDUALS based on where they are from.

    Waste of time as far as I'm concerned....let't just eat!
    #28
    chicagostyledog
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    RE: Wisconsin Supper Clubs 2005/03/02 18:09:59 (permalink)
    Fred,

    Welcome to the midwest! You really haven't started anything. The rivalry of the Bears vs Packers was here before you were born. Pop and soda are regional terms that have been around for years, like FIBS and Cheeseheads. It's all in the spirit of clean fun.


    BTW, This is the license plate on my hot dog van:
    LETS EAT
    #29
    chicagostyledog
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    RE: Wisconsin Supper Clubs 2005/03/02 18:27:35 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Brad_Olson

    Geez, now the Chicago guy's pulled out a knife!



    My hot dogs get nothing but mustard and 2 pickle spears, which always get eaten separately. My wife, however, puts ketchup on corned beef...

    Brad


    Brad, I only use my knife to cut the filet at Wildfire and Gibsons. As for using ketchup on corned beef......no comment.
    #30
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