What Is a Supper Club? Some Interesting Supper Club History for You

What is a supper club?

If you’re not from the Midwest, you might be unfamiliar with the idea of a “supper club.” As the owners of a supper club in Seymour, WI, we’re here to provide you with a bit of background about the term, and what you can typically expect from a supper club experience!

A supper club is a type of traditional dining establishment that serves not just as a restaurant, but also as something of a social club for the local community. There are varying takes on supper clubs, but the supper club tradition generally involves a high-class, fine dining image while still allowing for affordable prices.

Supper clubs have Wisconsin roots, but you’ll also find them in Minnesota, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois and Iowa. These are typically more likely to be found in rural areas or on the outskirts of urban areas, rather than in densely populated cities like other types of upscale restaurants.

The history of the supper club

The idea of the supper club as we know it today dates back to the early 1900s. The very first supper club was established by a Milwaukee native, Lawrence Frank, in Beverly Hills, California. The idea quickly made its way back to the “home country” of the Midwest.

Some establishments that ultimately became supper clubs got their start as prohibition roadhouses before turning into these establishments. In the early days, supper clubs were a destination visit for patrons, a place where they could spend an entire evening taking in the entertainment. They could enjoy a cocktail hour, a nice sit-down dinner and even nightclub-style entertainment once dinner was complete, including live music or dancing.

Most supper clubs today have eliminated those entertainment portions of the experience to focus solely on the dining, but the general idea still remains—good food at affordable prices in a relaxed, yet still somewhat formal and high-class atmosphere.

The food

You can’t talk about supper clubs in Wisconsin without mentioning the Friday fish fry, a regional staple. Many of these fish fries are all you can eat. For those of you who aren’t originally from Wisconsin, you can expect a traditional fish fry to feature fried fish (occasionally a choice between cod and other lake fish like walleye, perch or bluegill), a form of potato (French fries, potato pancakes, baked potato or mashed potatoes), coleslaw and bread or rolls with butter. Food is often served with a brandy old fashioned or a crisp local beer.

Of course, there’s much more to the food than just the Friday fish fry. Other common supper club menu items include prime rib, steaks and chicken. Many supper clubs bring out Lazy Susans featuring items like crackers, vegetables, pickles and dips.

Most supper clubs will have relatively simple menus with American-style cuisine. Despite the limited offerings, you can typically expect everything to be of very high quality. Interested in experiencing your first ever supper club here in Seymour, WI? Contact the Hotel Seymour Supperclub today to schedule your reservation!

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