A historic hotel-turned-apartment-complex on Milwaukee's East Side will soon have a restaurant befitting its equally historic legacy.
Gina Gruenewald, owner of Wolf Peach in Brewers Hill, has announced that she'll open a modern supper club at the Shorecrest, a nine-story apartment building at 1962 N. Prospect Ave.
The hotel, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its Moroccan/Art Deco architectural style, was most recently home to the Savoy Room, with prior occupants including Snug's, Beccofino, La Dolce Vita and Lou Bruno's.
The new concept, which will be named Supper, will incorporate both beloved elements of the classic Wisconsin supper club with contemporary takes on seasonal fare.
Erik Hansen, whose experience includes recent work at the University Club as well as Distil and Hinterland Erie Street Gastropub, will serve as executive chef at Supper.
Although the menu will capitalize on modern cooking techniques, classic touches won’t be overlooked, including the prerequisite supper club relish tray – which will be available lazy susan style with a choice of both traditional and innovative options.
Entrees will include both time-less favorites like steak Diane and trout almondine, along with an ever-changing selection of more contemporary seasonal dishes including rack of lamb and salmon with seasonal vegetables. The "Everynight Fish fry" featuring beer-battered cod, crispy potato, creamy slaw, tartar sauce and apple butter will be available nightly. A wide variety of appetizers, soups and salads will round out the menu, while sides and sauces, including house-made worchestershire, will add flair.
Gruenewald says menu options will cater to eaters of all stripes, including vegans, vegetarians and those looking for gluten- and dairy-free options.
"No one will be left out," she notes. "And everyone will find options that allow them to eat well."
The beverage program and day-to-day operations at Supper will be overseen by Wolf Peach beverage director Erich Wilz, who says that – above all – the concept is meant to be fun and approachable.
"Supper isn’t meant to be a fine dining concept, per se," he notes. "It’s really going to be the sort of place where everyone can go and feel comfortable."
Cocktails, he says, will very much mirror the menu – offering up refined versions of classic cocktails – like the old fashioned – as well as modern riffs, and supper club favorites like ice cream drinks.
"The building was built in 1924," says Wilz. "And it really reflects that art deco vibe. So, we’re playing into that. It was a great era for cocktails, and we’ll make the most of it."
Supper will also offer up a relatively large wine list which both complements the men and offers up value for guests. Meanwhile, the beer list will focus on American craft beers with an emphasis on the Midwest. Wilz says he’s hoping to populate taps with Wisconsin offerings.
As for the atmosphere of the restaurant, Gruenewald says the best way to describe it might be "Great Gatsby meets 2015."
The design of the space will incorporate modern creature comforts, along with elements that capture the history of the building, which includes the escapades of Milwaukee mafia boss, Frank Balistrieri, who was known to have conducted business within the walls of Snug’s, a restaurant which occupied the space in the Shorecrest during the 1970s.
"The concept has been rolling around in my head for some time," says Gruenewald, who has been a regular visitor at some of Wisconsin’s best supper clubs, including the HobNob in Racine, which she cites as one of her favorites.
"Supper is really built for someone who loves the concept of the classic supper club, but wants to eat in a more modern way," Gruenwald notes. "Ultimately, in a scene filled with small plates, I just really miss old school dining."
Gruenewald has set her sights on Oct. 31 for the soft opening of Supper. And that’s no coincidence. After all, it’s the same date on which she opened Wolf Peach in 2012.
The restaurant is expected to open to the public on Monday, Nov. 2.
Watch OnMilwaukee for additional details about Supper as they develop.
Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club.
When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.