There’s no dining experience more classic that a Wisconsin supper club. Time stands still in these lively roadside establishments that serve up delicious food in a cozy atmosphere. Many have a history as rich as the desserts—these establishments began appearing in the 1920s, and many hold stories of gangsters, moonshine and lumber barons. Hungry for more? Here are a couple of our favorites.
In the charming central Wisconsin community of Marshfield, there’s a restaurant that used to be a favorite of gangsters like Al Capone and John Dillinger. The gangsters, moonshine and molls are long gone, but people are still making evening runs to the Vintage. Located on the south side of Marshfield, this classic restaurant offers a full dinner menu. Steak lovers should order the Vintage New York Steak—it’s a well-aged, center-cut steak that’s grilled to perfection and topped with sautéed mushrooms.
There are two words that explain why food lovers flock to The Guide’s Inn, located in beautiful Boulder Junction: Jimmy Dean. With a personality that matches his vibrant flavors, Jimmy has been serving up exceptional dishes at The Guide’s Inn since 1984. The restaurant has an even longer history—in the 1920s, there was a building on site that stored the moonshine that fueled early lumberjacks. Northwoods vacationers today are more likely to enjoy something that goes down a little easier, like a hand-muddled old fashioned. It’s the perfect accompaniment to Jimmy’s pan-fried walleye.
Would you like a side of 1930s gangster history with your prime rib? Head to Head to Little Bohemia. You can still see the bullet holes in the walls of this traditional Northwoods lodge, which was the site of a shootout between notorious gangster John Dillinger and the FBI in 1934. Little Bohemia serves dinner seven nights a week and breakfast and lunch Friday through Sunday. “Remember,” the lodge’s website says, “Dillinger only left because he had to!”