Out & About

Our Supper Clubs Treat You Like Family

| December 17, 2019

Our family has been coming up from Milwaukee to Fond du Lac since the early ‘70s when my in-laws bought a cottage on Lake Winnebago. We first discovered the classic Wisconsin supper club while snowmobiling with neighbors. We often caravanned by car and sleds to Roepke’s Village Inn in Charlesburg for a traditional Friday Night Fish Fry. This family-owned supper club in the country features hand-cut steaks, prime rib, roast duck and, of course, the traditional Brandy Old Fashioned. My memory of one snowy winter night and one of the most hysterical adventures I have had was when we arrived back to the cottage from the restaurant by car ahead of our friend’s snowmobile. Pops had hopped on the back, but when the sled pulled up, he wasn’t on it. I screamed “you lost my father-in-law” half-crying and half-laughing. James Senior had rolled off just before stopping and appeared from around the garage no worse for wear with a *&% eating grin on his face.

Years later and a move a few miles north up the lake we began a lifelong friendship with the owners of Cedar Lodge, Dale and Candi, located on Hwy. 151 in Calumetville. Now the second generation has taken over operated by their daughter Kellen and her chef husband, Casey. The dinners are even more elevated, yet still at reasonable prices. Make a reservation if you have a large party on a Friday or Saturday night or you’ll find yourself “three deep at the bar.” Dinner starts with their famous fritters and offers homemade soup and breads, juicy steaks and succulent seafood. In summer be sure to ask what the featured homemade pie is and cross your fingers it is strawberry rhubarb. I hesitate to sing its praises since it’s their best-kept secret, but Sunday Brunch is a special treat with Bloody Mary’s, huge cheesy omelets that fall off your plate and eggs benedict with homemade hollandaise sauce. On Packer Sundays they pack them in early before folks head to the frozen tundra.

Jim and Linda's Supper Club

For dining with a view we always headed to Jim & Linda’s Lakeview Supper Club in Pipe. Like most Wisconsin supper clubs you start by ordering a drink at the bar because there is no hostess stand. When you get around to asking for a menu they know you are there for dinner and a waitress is sent over to take your order. She comes back to tell you that your table is ready when your salads and breadbasket are placed at your table. In summer we like to dine outside with the tiki bar and live music on the weekends. And you can’t beat that spectacular sunset over Lake Winnebago.

Another Malone Supper Club of note is Blanck’s Supper Club, a place where everyone is your friend. This third-generation, family-owned destination offers great dining with great value.

Nestled in the quaint village of St. Cloud Idlewile Inn has been under the loving care of Dave and Brenda Panko since 1990. It’s been featured on the popular TV show, Wisconsin Foodie. We first dined there for my husband, Jim’s, company dinner. They graciously and easily served a very large gathering of staff and their guests in one of their dining rooms as we all ordered off the menu. I especially enjoyed the twice-baked potatoes made just like my Mom’s (we called them half-baked). Their combination dinners offer tenderloin and shrimp, lobster or perch and ribs and shrimp. They offer a great kids’ menu and signature dessert. Another time I had a great meal as we explored the “Holyland” with a group of tour operators.

A classic Wisconsin Old Fashioned cocktail

By broadening the traditional definition of supper club, several other awesome dining establishments come to mind: Worth the drive we found Red Cabin at Green Acres Bar & Supper Club in the county of Lake Winnebago Region just 10 minutes from Fond du Lac and enjoyed a delightful holiday lunch. Unlike most supper clubs which are only open in the evening, Red Cabin is open at 11 AM Wednesdays thru Sundays. Try their “smashed burger” and build it to your taste. They have an extensive menu so it begs you to return and return again! I imagine the grounds would be perfect for an outdoor gathering in summer.

Sebastian’s Steak House slogan is “Rare steakhouse – very well done.” Enjoy a drink and appetizer by their famous fireplace in the cocktail lounge. This comfy supper club offers soups and sandwiches, in addition to the prime steaks, ribs and prime rib.

Start at the bar at Theo’s 24 Prime Steak’s Seafood and Wine Bar in the heart of the Downtown District for handcrafted cocktails, an extensive wine selection, and attentive service. Last winter we had an office get together here and enjoyed appetizers to include Asian Pot Stickers and Ahi Tuna with Sea Scallops. I seem to remember the standard Wisconsin cheese curds being passed around, as well. Classy yet casual, be sure to order the New York Strip Steak or fresh seafood.

For a complete listing of restaurants go to www.fdl.com

Mary Denis
Denis and Company

Destination Lake Winnebago Region