The Supper Club is Alive and Well… and Serving Fall Cocktails in Greendale

I should have seen it coming.  When the film “Wisconsin Supper Clubs” was (repeatedly) broadcast on the local PBS station, it couldn’t be an isolated bit of nostalgia.  Last week, suspicions confirmed, I visited the newest Bartolotta restaurant, Joey Gerard’s Supper Club.

It’s a mini-renaissance!

The Supper Club is a hard-to-define genre that began in the 1930s, grew widely popular, then faded as tastes moved more to fast food and lighter fine dining  Supper Clubs are difficult to characterize but bring up connotations of prime meats, classic cocktails, slow dining, and relish trays that include raw vegetables, cheese spread and breadsticks wrapped in plastic.  As a Chicago Tribune writer noted (echoing the Supreme Court), “I know it when I see it..”

Supper Club Relish Tray at joey Gerards

Relish Tray

You realize you’re getting older when your kids wouldn’t even recognize a major dining phenomenon from your youth.  In the end, however, the Gen Y-ers looked right at home among the black and white portraits, white tablecloths, and orange glass candles as they bellied up to the relish tray.  And when I consulted (early) 30-something blogger Karis from Karis’ Kitchen she could at least cite the relish trays, though she did link the experience to her grandparents.

The evening included a delicious steam of traditional appetizers including oysters Rockefeller and escargot.  When they came around with the raw beef, ground fresh in their own kitchens, my toes practically curled in delight.  Raw beef used to be everywhere prior to the e-coli days!  This “I only eat organic grass-fed beef” girl was first in line.

Oysters Rockefeller at Joey Gerard's

Appetizers Included Oysters Rockefeller

Next came a tour of the kitchen with its unusual Josper oven–charcoal fired and able to sear and cook a thick steak in eight minutes.  Perfect for a meat-centric menu!

Charcoal Fired Josper Oven aat Joey Gerard's

Charcoal Fired Josper Oven

It concluded with a cooking demonstration.

“Has anyone had Steak Diane?”  asked chef John.  I raised my hand.

“Did they flame it tableside?”  I shook my head “no.”

“Yah, we don’t do it here either”

“I’ve had Bananas Foster flamed tableside.”

“We don’t do that either.” He grinned.

He did flame it for us in the kitchen, however, then passed out samples.  Eating more Steak Diane is now right at the top of my “to do” list!

Steak Diane Sample at Joey Gerard's Supper Club

Steak Diane Sample

The 1950’s cocktail selection proved another attraction.  My parents always had a well-stocked liquor cabinet, but I serve primarily wine and beer, so I knew I had some catching up to do!  One Jack Rose, Tom Collins and Old Fashioned later, my husband and I were starting to understand what the cocktail phenomenon was all about!

To celebrate, I bought some Applejack (apple brandy) and tried making my own Jack Rose.  Anything apple-y is perfect for fall!

To  nostalgia and autumn!

Jack Rose Cocktail Ingredients

Jack Rose Cocktail Ingredients

Jack Rose Cocktail

recipe from Laird’s website


  • 1 oz. Lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. Grenadine
  • 2 oz. Laird’s AppleJack
  • ice


1.  Shake well with ice and strain into a cocktail glass, or serve over ice.

Jack Rose Cocktail with Fall Fruit

Jack Rose Cocktail

Do we really come to resemble our mothers as we age?  Well if this is what that means, I’ll take it!

Disclaimer: the (really good) appetizers were provided free of charge to bloggers (and non-bloggers).

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19 thoughts on “The Supper Club is Alive and Well… and Serving Fall Cocktails in Greendale

  1. Choc Chip Uru

    Haha my dad once took us to a delicious restaurant which he claimed was a classic and my brother and I just looked at each other with confusion 😉
    Very delicious looking food though and great cocktail!

    Choc Chip Uru

  2. Karis

    I love that you’ve already had a Jack Rose cocktail at home, I need to get on that. Also love that you prefaced my 30-something age with early 🙂 The Timbers Supper Club is where I used to dine with my grandparents in Platteville, unfortunately it closed a few years ago.

  3. cakewhiz

    my mom took me to this restaurant when we went back to her hometown and i was just totally lost. she kept raving about the food and it just didn’t work for me…hahaha.

    the food you ordered such looks inviting 😉

  4. Promenade Claire

    sounds and looks a great night out, I think at some point most things get revived, I wonder what is next?!

  5. Louise

    Okay, so the next time I’m in Wisconsin we are so going there!!! I long for the days of Supper Clubs and Steak Diane, and yes “raw” meat too! (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to sample my meatball mixture before putting them in the sauce. That’s how grandma always did it and we as children too:) The one thing about the classics though Inger, is they always return in all their glory. Thank goodness!!!

    You finished your meal with just the perfect cocktail. October is around the corner and guess what, October happens to be National Apple Jack Month!!!

    Thanks for sharing…

  6. Kathy

    It is always so interesting to drive down to Wisconsin and see all the Supper Clubs still alive & doing well. We don’t have any around here in the Upper Peninsula (that I know about) but I remember going to one in lower Michigan as a kid and loving it so much. Thanks for the memories. By the way, where exactly are you in Wisconsin? How near the UP?

    1. Inger Wilkerson

      I am in Milwaukee. I did go up to the UP last summer–my uncle was dying and I drove my mother up to Sault Ste Marie to say goodbye. A sad reason but really a beautiful drive.

  7. Lynn

    Sounds like a lot of fun, I should see if they have any in my area, as I think my parents would love that and my husband would love the drinks! Tom Collins is one of his favorites, lol.

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