Supper clubs offer a taste of Wisconsin
Note: The contents of this guide were checked for accuracy when this article was updated on Oct. 22, 2007 at 5:17 a.m. We continually update the thousands of articles on OnMilwaukee.com, but it's possible some details, specials and offers may have changed. As always, we recommend you call first if you have specific questions for the businesses mentioned in the guide.
Supper Clubs accentuate the classic, down-home comfort of Wisconsin. Usually found in the suburbs or small towns, supper clubs run rampant in northern and north central Wisconsin, where it seems like there is at least one every few blocks. In recent years, many old classics like Williams, Chuck's and the Aud-Mar closed, but we still have a smattering of Milwaukee area mainstays, mostly on the South Side.
The hallmarks of classic supper clubs seem to be large portions of steaks, chops, the iconic surf and turf, and spins on what each claim to be the city / county / state / world's best Friday fish fry. There is no alà carte nonsense as plates come piled with vegetable and starch, and décor is dark and moody, often with deer and bear heads peering down as patrons sip highballs and nosh on a relish tray and some homemade bread.
What follows is a list of some of the Milwaukee area's legendary supper clubs. Use the Talkback feature to share some of your own favorites.
Clifford's Supper Club
10418 W. Forest Home Ave., (414) 425-6226
This Hales Corners supper club features steaks, chops and seafood along with the token Friday fish fry. Banquet hall and catering are available, as well as dine in and carry out options.
Diamond Jim's Stoneridge Inn
11811 W. Janesville Rd., Hales Corners, (414) 425-777
Dinners come with your choice of soup or salad, fresh hot Italian bread, relish tray, choice of vegetable or potato.
Dobie's Restaurant and Lounge
4136 S Kinnickinnic Ave., St. Francis, (414) 744-9064
Dobie's, which opened its doors in 1954, began as a custard stand and later morphed into what can only be described as a classic Wisconsin supper club, complete with perfectly muddled hand-crafted cocktails and a lazy Susan relish tray including wonders such as homemade cheese spread or liver pate, pickled beets, corn and sweet pickle relish and Swedish meatballs.
The Five O'Clock Steakhouse
2416 W. State St., (414) 342-3553
Situated in a questionable neighborhood, the Five O'Clock is not only one of the best steakhouses in the Midwest, its décor and throwback atmosphere make it a supper club lover's dream. Reservations are required and the fish here is fresh, not fried.
The Packing House
900 E. Layton Ave., (414) 483-5054
This family-run South Side staple was founded in 1973 by the Wiken family, which still operates the restaurant. Friday fish (and drive-through service), catering, hall rental, dine-in and carry out options are available. The Packing House also offers brunch and a children's menu.
Pitch's Lounge and Restaurant
1801 N. Humboldt Ave., (414) 272-9313
Arguably Milwaukee's only Downtown supper club, Pitch's serves a mean highball and a side of pasta with just about everything on the menu. While steaks and chops are not as prominent as in suburban supper clubs, the ribs are good and the standard décor and service rules apply. Pitch's offers banquet hall and catering, dine in and carry out options.
The Rafters Steakhouse
7228 S. 27th St., Oak Creek, (414) 761-2222
The Dimiceli family has owned this Oak Creek traditional supper club since the 1930s. The Rafters is open daily and features an open charcoal pit in the center of the dining room. Prime rib is offered on Thursdays and Saturdays, and fish on Fridays; banquet hall, catering, dine-in and carry out options are available.
South Woods Restaurant and Banquet Hall
5404 S. Pennsylvania Ave., Cudahy, (414) 744-5430
With nightly dinner specials and an old-school atmosphere, South Woods visitors are often greeted with a wait for a table. All-you-can eat shrimp boils on Monday and Tuesday nights also create a draw in addition to their standard supper club offerings. Friday fish catering, hall rental, dine-in and carry out options are available.
Zak's Pleasant Valley Inn
9801 W. Dakota St., (414) 321-4321
It's upscale but casual in a residential neighborhood. Entrees range from classic American to European and the Friday night fish fry is a big hit.
I can't believe how awful Selenes food has become. A place known for it's prime rib, I couldn't recommend it at all. No wonder we were the only table there.
OlderWiser | Oct. 22, 2007 at 5:40 p.m. (report)
Also give a nod to Pleasant Valley Inn on 97th and Dakota (West Allis) and Diamond Jim's Stoneridge Inn just a little west of Hywy 100 on Janesville Road (Hales Corners). I know these are the 'burbs to some, but still really good "supper clubs". Thanks for the list.
You forgot Dobie's on KK! Come to the St Francis side of Bay View! You'll expect to see Buddy and Sally waiting for Rob and Laura Petrie! Interesting client base and an improved menu make this one great fun. Then head over to At Random for an ice cream drink to revisit 1963.
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