I’m just so excited. Recently I started a web design project for a local supper club. By local, I mean just around the corner, and here in our neck of the woods, this restaurant is the place to gather for good food, family and friends.
When starting any new design project, the first thing I do is research. I learn everything there is to know about the business and industry so I can then formulate a creative plan of action. (If you’re wondering why a well-designed website costs so much, this is one reason).
So, researching supper clubs is what I’m doing these days. Perfect timing, I must say. Here’s why.
Localness, heritage, and even the name ‘supper club’ are hot culinary topics these days. It started with Millennials taking an interest in the origins of their food. This has spread and now everyone has become hipsters seeking the quality and traditions that make a community. On top of that, there’s just something inherently cool about Wisconsin.
Like here. Check out Supper Clubs: An Old Fashioned Experience, by Ron Faiola. This fun documentary describes supper clubs as family-owned, Wisconsin traditions. They’re nostalgic gathering places that serve—not breakfast—not lunch—only supper. And a supreme supper it is, heralded with pure Wisconsin culture—the brandy old fashioned cocktail.
This Chicago Tribune article defines supper clubs with four simple truisms:
- They’re associated with out-of-town, road trips and loyalties that span generations,
- They serve soup and a salad; plus the bread, the relish, the potato and the whole more-than-enough shebang,
- Their menus are traditional Midwestern comfort foods; typically prime rib, steaks, seafood, duck and chicken. Oh, and don’t forget the beloved Friday fish fry!
- They’re an endangered breed.
I think that last point is debatable.
It’s true many supper clubs have been nudged out by chain restaurants (which truly are the most unexciting of dining). One sad example is the Gobbler Supper Club in nearby Johnson Creek. It’s been empty and for sale for years. Please someone, save this historic building and bring back its true supper club glory!
But appreciation for supper clubs has recently gone from a continued simmer to a full out boil. Forget the clichéd, repetition of chain restaurants. Leave behind the factory-line hustle of fast food. Instead, relax, slow down and enjoy the unique experience of a Wisconsin supper club.
I think the brilliant copywriters for Capital Brewery’s Supper Club beer say it best. They’ve captured the essence of Wisconsin supper clubs like a thick, foamy head compliments a good glass of brew.
Yep, we’re celebrating a Wisconsin state of mind.