The Supper Club Book: A Celebration of a Midwest Tradition

Overview

The supper club of the Upper Midwest is unmistakably authentic, as unique to the region as great lakes, cheese curds, and Curly Lambeau. The far-flung locations and creative decor give each supper club a unique ambience, but the owners, staff, and regulars give it its personality. Author Dave Hoekstra traveled through farmland, woods, towns, and cities in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Michigan, and Illinois, eating at salad bars, drinking old fashioneds, and most of all talking to old-timers, local historians, and ...

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The Supper Club Book: A Celebration of a Midwest Tradition

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Overview

The supper club of the Upper Midwest is unmistakably authentic, as unique to the region as great lakes, cheese curds, and Curly Lambeau. The far-flung locations and creative decor give each supper club a unique ambience, but the owners, staff, and regulars give it its personality. Author Dave Hoekstra traveled through farmland, woods, towns, and cities in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Michigan, and Illinois, eating at salad bars, drinking old fashioneds, and most of all talking to old-timers, local historians, and newcomers. He discovered that far from going the way of so many small establishments, supper clubs are evolving, combining contemporary ideas such as locavore menus and craft beer with traditional Friday night fish fries and Saturday prime rib. He brings to life the memorable people who have created and continue the tradition, from the blind dishwasher at Smoky’s to the Dick Watson Combo playing “Beyond the Sea” at the Lighthouse and the entrepreneurs and hipster crowd behind the Old Fashioned. Corporations have defined mainstream eating habits in America, but characters define supper clubs, and this combination oral history and guide, with more than one hundred photographs, celebrates not only the past and present but the future of the supper club.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"...for midwesterners, the supper club is an epicenter for social eating, a locally owned roadhouse where families repair for an evening to treat themselves to a hearty meal with friends and neighbors... Hoekstra relates the stories of a number of these institutions, their owners, and the people who have frequented them over the past half-century. He holds out hope for their future, noting how some are evolving in new directions, safeguarding local traditions in the face of competition from national chains. Photographs of both restaurateurs and their clientele preserve a sense of a passing era."—Booklist
Library Journal
This delightful book offers an excellent slice of American life as it once was and still exists in remaining supper clubs. Garrison Keillor offers a charming Lake Wobegon?like foreword that gets readers off to the perfect start in this combination oral history?guidebook. Colorful chapter titles include “Supper Clubs with Shtick,” “Wacky-Named Supper Clubs,” and a postscript, “Tribute to Supper Clubs Gone By.” Each of the 24 club entries includes name, address, phone number, and even some web addresses. The images are a highlight: there’s at least one exterior and interior shot, as well as photos of the owner(s), customers (some go back many years), and club staff. A favorite photo is of the Friday night kitchen staff at the Ced-Rel that includes a striking wall clock and vats of ingredients. Linen napkins and relish trays are still essential components of these clubs, examples of what used to be.

Verdict Well-written details about the clubs, their history, owners, customers, and many other points of interest round out this visually rich book. American history buffs, tourists, and foodies of all sorts should thoroughly enjoy.—Susan G. Baird, formerly with Oak Lawn P.L., IL
(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781613743683
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/1/2013
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 207,711
  • Product dimensions: 8.20 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author


Dave Hoekstra has been a staff writer for the Chicago Sun-Times for 27 years, and has also written for the Chicago Reader, the Journal of Country Music, and Playboy. His previous books include Ticket to Everywhere, a collection of his Sun-Times travel columns, and An Unofficial Guide to Chicago.
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