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Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013

More on Supper Clubs

hobnob-restaurant
The HobNob
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Written in the clean, hard prose of a classic screenplay or a Raymond Chandler story, The Supper Club Book (Chicago Review Press) is the second publication of its kind this year. Its author, the Chicago Sun-Times’ Dave Hoekstra, traveled more widely than Ron Faiola, who penned the recent Wisconsin Supper Clubs, and took in Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan and Iowa as well as the Badger State. Hoekstra records the oral history of these restaurants and samples from their menus. He concludes that supper clubs generally have linen tablecloths, often serve relish trays and brandy old fashioneds, but more importantly, offer a sense of place and hospitality a chain restaurant can fake but never replicate.

The Supper Club Book includes over a dozen Wisconsin venues. Closest to Milwaukee is Racine’s beloved HobNob, nestled on the Lake Michigan shore and serving prime rib and fish with a choice of salad and potato. In supper club land, “a la carte” is French for “pretentious.”