SUPPER CLUBBING: Shawano Country Date Night

Like a great many Wisconsinites, when we think of an actual dinner date in Shawano Country, most of us imagine our next romantic meal to be at a supper club.  Supper clubs are the heart of Wisconsin’s dining scene and have been for decades.  Our beloved supper clubs are often copied by other states, but those states can never have what we have: The Original Supper Club Culture.

Supper Club Culture means that you and your date will feel comfortable immediately upon entering a Wisconsin supper club, staffed by friendly locals whose first step will be bringing you cocktails.  If you and your date are from Wisconsin, you’ll likely be ordering Old Fashioneds; brandy sweet or whiskey sour – your choice.  They’ll come garnished as you like and properly muddled and you’ll enjoy them at a romantically lit table, most likely shining with a lone candle and decorated with carefully folded cloth napkins and gleaming silverware.

Supper Club Culture also dictates that whatever you order comes with hot, fresh bread or rolls served ahead of your meal – with butter, of course; this is The Dairy State, after all – and access to a salad bar (or in some cases, an iconic relish tray) with an amazing array of choices.  We’re talking salad bar choices that you don’t see in other parts of the U.S.; only right here in Wisconsin.  Here are some examples of the unique salad bar toppings that are typical of most Northwoods Supper Clubs:

  • Chicken Gizzards (we promise you don’t have to eat them unless you want to…but maybe at least try just a bite, ok?)
  • Hot Bacon Dressing
  • Green Peas
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Pasta Salad
  • Hard-Boiled Eggs
  • Sesame Breadsticks
  • Mushrooms

Of course, you’ll also find all of the “normal” salad bar items, like lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cheese, croutons, typical dressing selections, and the like, so worry not if you have no desire to dig into a heap of BBQ chicken gizzards…and if you do, more power to you!

Soup may be offered at the salad bar and, depending on the day of the week and the time of year (Lenten Season affects menu choices in Wisconsin quite heavily), you may be able to try homemade clam chowder, chicken dumpling, beef barley, or a variety of other hearty soups make in the kitchen, and almost assuredly from scratch.

Supper Club Culture dictates that your entrée will be served with some manner of potato.  Twice-baked is frequently the spud of choice, and establishments can be very protective of their secret twice-baked potato recipes.  If a twice-baked potato seems like gilding the lily to you, a classic, buttery baked potato with sour cream on the side is your next choice.  Wisconsin practically lives on meat and potatoes and neither shall be in short order at any well-established supper club.

Hidden Valley Supper Club

Before your entrée comes, you’ll order another Old Fashioned.  If you don’t imbibe, you’ll order a locally-famous Sundrop soda (or “pop”, if you will) – and you’ll ask if they have it in glass bottles.  If you’re lucky, they will, and you’ll get to experience the preferred beverage of Shawano Country, as it was meant to be enjoyed: fresh from a cold, green glass bottle.

Anello’s Torch Lite

The main event in Supper Club Culture is, of course, the entrée.  By the time it’s placed on the table in front of you, you may be a bit full, already, but trust us: Your main course is the headliner for a reason.  Your options for an entrée might include items like filet mignon, something involving chicken, or even succulent scallops or shrimp, but one thing is certain… if you have the option to order prime rib, this is what you choose.  If you have the option to choose prime rib plus a seafood item, that’s an instant winner, as well.  In Wisconsin, nothing says “I love you” quite like a great cut of meat (or an ice cream drink, but that’s yet to come).

Crab ‘n Jack’s

No place on earth prepares perfect prime rib like supper clubs do.  Supper club prime rib is meltingly succulent; like nothing else one earth.  You almost won’t need the provided knife to cut it, and it will be served with a warm cup of savory au jus that takes it right over the edge into mind-blowing meat territory.  Generally, you’ll have the option to order an 8 oz., 12 oz., and 16 oz. cut.  Order big, because this caliber of leftovers doesn’t come along every day…and if you eat every last bite, you’ll be in good company!

About the time that the main course is finished and any potential leftovers are carefully boxed up for later, you may be asked about dessert.  Most supper clubs tend to be somewhat sparse in the traditional dessert arena (although usually there’s a slice of cheesecake to be had, should you even have room for it after dinner, which is unlikely) but they also are one of the few places where one can still get an ice cream drink.  When was that last time you enjoyed a Grasshopper or a Brandy Alexander?  Have you ever actually had an ice cream drink?  Well, now is the time to try to make room for one, because they are both part of Supper Club Culture and something you’ll probably want to try recreating at home.  Ice cream drinks are a dessert-cocktail hybrid that we’re surprised we don’t find all over the country, but Wisconsin, is after all, the center of the dairy universe as far as we’re concerned, so it makes sense.  Do yourself a culinary and local cultural favor and order this finishing touch to your amazing Supper Club date.  Your partner will thank you.

Classic’s Restaurant & Lounge


Dixon’s Torch Lite
1276 E. Green Bay St.
Shawano, WI 54166
(715) 526-5680

Antler’s Supper Club
120 E. Green Bay St.
Bonduel, WI 54107
(715) 758-2190


Classic’s Restaurant & Lounge
W6026 Lake Dr.
Shawano, WI 54166
(715) 524-8711

Crab ‘N Jacks
N2580 WI-55
White Lake, WI 54491
(715) 882-8611

Hidden Valley Supper Club
12704 County Rd. M
Caroline, WI 54928
(715) 754-5995

Kassidy’s Studio Lounge & Dining

Kassidy’s Studio Lounge
7703 County Hwy. MMM
Shawano, WI 54166
(715) 524-5883

Seasons Restaurant & Lounge
201 Airport Rd.
Shawano, WI 54166
(715) 201-0090    

Seasons Restaurant