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


Shawano Country’s Best Spots for Late Summer Outdoor Dining

Wisconsinites have always known how to make the most of the summer months, especially here “up north,” and this year we’re cherishing our time outside even more than usual, which is saying something.  Good news for everyone who wants to savor a bit more Wisconsin summer: Shawano Country has a TON of outdoor dining – with proper social distancing in place – that you can still take advantage of our gorgeous late summer warmth before winter creeps in.  …and if you prefer not to dine in the open air, there is both indoor seating and carry-out offered at the majority of our listed locations.  We’ve also included phone numbers so you can call and get that order in if you’re looking to carry out!

Here’s who made the Shawano Country Outdoor Dining List:

Bamboo Bar 
Lakefront seating on Shawano Lake’s South Shore.  Serving pizzas made in-house, burgers, and loads of other bar menu favorites…and you can enjoy your meal (and your cocktails) on tables that are as close to Shawano Lake as you can get without eating in your boat.  Speaking of boats, Bamboo has a dock and a boat launch, so park your boat and grab a burger!
W5884 Cedar Ct.
Shawano, WI  54166
(715) 201-1158

Big City Gyros
Shawano’s only gyro joint!  Offering traditional lamb gyros, gyro burgers and salads, falafel, Italian beef sandwiches, and more – plus a full list of sides.   This newer addition to downtown Shawano has a handful of café tables outdoors, so get there early!
230 E. Green Bay St.
Shawano, WI  54166
(715) 201-1141

Brothers’ Pub  
Enjoy their terrific food outside in their expanded outdoor seating area under a large tent, all just across the road from beautiful Shawano Lake.  With menu options like their big, beefy Steakhouse Wrap, Guinness cod sandwich, and seriously amazing fish tacos, plus appetizers like hand-rolled, homemade Mozzarella sticks, this lakeside spot has something for everyone on their sizeable menu.
N5867 County Rd HHH
Shawano, WI  54166
(715) 524-5212

Crab ‘n Jack’s  
Wisconsin supper club overlooking the scenic Wolf River at Gilmore’s Mistake rapids
which is also worth checking out videos of, on YouTube, if you’re into kayaking.  Here you’ll find dandy Old Fashioneds, in true Wisconsin style, and a variety of menu options ranging from French Dip sandwiches (we hear they’re awesome) to meal-sized salads, hearty steaks, and pan-fried walleye.
N2580 WI-55
White Lake, WI  54491
(715) 882-8611

With an always-craveable custard Flavor of the Day (you can even order PINTS via drive-through) and their North Atlantic Cod sandwiches – not to mention their perfect ButterBurgers, super-satisfying crinkle-cut fries, and those Lemon Ice Coolers – this Wisconsin fast casual staple has outdoor seating, so you can stop and get yourself a treat to enjoy in the open air.
1220 E. Green Bay St.
Shawano, WI  54166
(715) 526-2002

Glas Coffeehouse  
Enjoy your favorite caffeinated beverage crafted by cheerful baristas, have a tasty pastry, or savor a meal on the patio, with a view of the Wolf River.  You’ll be looking out at a charming view of Sunset Island but what all locals know, affectionately, as “Monkey Island”.  A dock is also available for watercrafts, so if you’re out on the lake or the Wolf River above Shawano dam and you want a skillfully-made latte, you can stop in by boat!
511 N. Main St.
Shawano, WI  54166
(715) 851-4527

The Golden Cone 
This local custard shop has expanded their outdoor seating and is ready for you to come and try one of their Custom Cookie Custard Sandwiches (say that three times, fast).  We like ours made with chocolate chip cookies, stuffed with Peanut Butter Paradise custard, and then rolled in Nut Crunch, but trust us, if that’s not your thing, you’ve got LOADS of options!  They’ve got shaved ice, smoothies, sundaes, and tons of other sweet, frozen choices.  Located next door to Papa Murphy’s.
1063 E. Green Bay St.
Shawano, WI  54166
(715) 851-6919

Hungry Bear Family Café & Catering  
Dine on the patio in the heart of downtown Bonduel, a small village just s a few minutes east of Shawano.  This place has EVERYTHING.  If you can think of your diner favorite, it’s on their menu.  Want biscuits & gravy?  Yep.  Loaded nachos?  Got it.  Pancakes?  OF course.  Breakfast skillets galore?  Check.  Rueben burgers?  Absolutely. Grilled tuna sandwiches?  Why not.  Perfect for family dining, because literally everyone will find something that they love at Bonduel’s Hungry Bear.
120 W. Green Bay St.
Bonduel, WI  54107
(715) 758-2727

The Launching Pad
Go visit local favorite bartender/owner Chad Kary, and his terrific bar staff at Shawano’s “border bar” between town and the lake.  They’ll mix you a perfect drink or pour you a brew from the tap.  The kitchen will prepare your burger perfectly (our pick is a Bacon Cheddar Cheese Burger with the works) and you’ll want to pair it with any side that gives you an excuse to dip into their homemade Ranch dressing (order extra Ranch), which the author believes to be the finest ranch dressing in the state of Wisconsin, which is saying something.  Yes, they have outdoor seating and an outdoor bar, plus weeknight menu specials that locals adore.
221 Airport Rd.
Shawano, WI  54166
(715) 524-4098

The Lighthouse
A local lake favorite, this bar is as inland-nautical as Shawano gets.  They’ve got nice slips for you to park your boat and one of the area’s best outdoor dining areas for watching the water – and the people.  Stop here to enjoy the lively atmosphere of this bar and grill’s outdoor patio seating on the Wolf River Channel, just off Shawano Lake’s southwest corner.   Hit them up for Friday Fish Fry, too!
Gumaer Rd. (at the end)
Shawano, WI 54166
(715) 526-5600

Luigi’s Pizza & Pasta 
Pizza on the piazza?  Luigi’s fits the bill… join the Badalamente family and their friendly staff for pizza, pasta, and amazing desserts (we promise) on the piazza/patio.  If you were to ask any given Shawano-ite where they want to order from tonight, they will likely tell you, “Luigi’s”.  Anything you order, here, will make you happy.  The pizza is shockingly good, the desserts are homemade, the pasta is rich and filling (Killer Meat Sauce Alert), the specials are creative and well-prepared, and the cheese steak sandwiches are the real deal.  Oh, and if you love wings, theirs will NOT disappoint.
607 S. Main St.
Shawano, WI  54166
(715) 524-4791

Maple Hills Golf Course & Restaurant 
Wittenberg’s 9-hole 36 par golf course is a slice of rural beauty, with scenic bridges and views of the area’s rolling landscape.  Dining is available each day from 4:00 pm – 9:00 pm and features specials like Saturday’s Prime Rib & Steak Night, Thursday Night Wings, and, of course, a Friday Night Fish Fry.
N6621 Cardinal Ln.
Wittenberg, WI  54499
(715) 253-2448

Pigeon River Brewing Co.
Located in Marion, Wisconsin, about 30 minutes to the southwest of Shawano, this small-town brewery was awarded “Fastest Growing Small Craft Brewery” by the Brewers Association in 2019.  Owned by Nathan Knaack, who hails from the area, this brewery has beer you must try (Wet Willy Oatmeal Stout, Buxom Lass Scottish Ale) and a solid menu.  Think shrimp tacos, whiskey BBQ chicken wraps, and fried Dupont cheese curds (Dupont Cheese is practically right next door, so you KNOW they’re ultra-fresh).
1103 N Main St.
Marion, WI 54950
(715) 256-7721

Shawano’s Café 
A newer Shawano dining spot, Shawano’s Café currently offers outdoor seating in addition to traditional indoor seating and they’re just (and when we say “just”, we mean literally 1-2 minutes) outside of Shawano, south on Highway 22, right next to Boarders. Check them out for daily specials, which they have a great variety of, killer pancakes, chicken stirfry, glorious French toast, and classic Sunday baked chicken, plus a looooooong list of other menu items.
W7389 River Bend Rd.
Shawano, WI 54166
(715) 201-1122

Stubborn Brothers Brewery
Two brothers.  A meticulously restored 1900’s vaudeville theater.  A labor of love.  A lot of great beer coming your way.  In an era when we sometimes choose to cast the old away rather than care for it, Stubborn Brothers Aaron and Erik Gilling took time to burnish, paint, reveal, and restore this treasure of a building… and then they created fantastic signature brews and a menu with enough comfort foods to make any rural Wisconsinite smile (Beer Mac and Cheese! Soft Pub Pretzels!) and enough innovative dishes to keep any visiting urbanites entertained (Vegan Kohlrabi Salad, Brie-Tomato-Bacon-Basil Croissants).  This theater-turned-brewery is fast becoming downtown Shawano’s structural heart.
220 S. Main St.
Shawano, WI  54166
(715) 201-0859

The Sugar Bowl 
Know what Shawano loves, besides Sun Drop soda?  Ice cream.  Lots and lots of ice cream.   The Sugar Bowl has ice cream, beer, wine, snacks, AND Sun Drop, so what’s not to like?  Housed in what was once a bowling alley, this Main Street spot has loads of vintage character and several cute, colorful outdoor tables to the south of the building, just ready to sit at and enjoy watching downtown Shawano stroll by… and have a big bowl of Cookies & Cream ice cream, or whatever flavor is calling to you!
136 S. Main St.
Shawano, WI  54166
(715) 201-1116

The Thunderbird Club  
A restaurant, mini-casino, and convenience store, The Thunderbird Club is located on Berry Lake and has daily dining specials like Sunday’s Cajun chicken sandwich with fries, Saturday’s brats and burgers, and Tuesday’s steak sandwiches.  Hang out on the patio and order up that Friday Night Fish Fry!
W106 County VV
Keshena, WI  54135
(715) 799-6541

The Torch Lite (Anello’s Torch Lite) 
A Shawano dining tradition with everything you expect from a classic Wisconsin supper club, albeit one that’s listed as an Italian restaurant.  If you’re not from around here, know that supper clubs showcase the soul of Wisconsin dining and that means there will be:

  • Charming waitstaff
  • Perfectly-executed Old Fashioneds
  • A supper club-style salad bar, with important items like cold green peas, hard-boiled eggs, cottage cheese, and hot bacon dressing.  Oh, and those tiny fried toasts with cheese spread, because you cannot have a proper supper club salad bar without these items.  😊
  • Masterfully-cooked prime rib in a variety of weights to choose from… served with au jus, of course
  • Unforgettable twice-baked potatoes
  • Scallops in beurre blanc that will make you wish you placed a double order
  • Another round of Old Fashioneds

Several years back, the original building burned to the ground.  The owners could have just called it quits, but they chose to rise from the ashes and built a brand-new Torch Lite.  Visit and bask in true “Midwestern nice” supper club hospitality…a Shawano tradition.
1276 E. Green Bay St.
Shawano, WI  54166
(715) 526-5680