Known for dim lighting, large portions, local décor, and a drink list often longer than the menu, supper clubs have a long and storied history in Wisconsin. In Eagle River, the past of its most well-known supper clubs often includes fun facts about the establishment before it became a supper club.
While we just think the food is good (fish fry anyone?) and the company is better, we’re told the supper clubs in our neck of the woods offer a unique blend of charm, nostalgia, hospitality, and perfectly mixed cocktails. The more colorful pasts of many of these establishments might be long gone, but stories of the legends who preceded live strong.
We know it’s not likely you’ll visit a supper club every night you’re in the Eagle River area, so we thought we’d give you a short list of a few favorites.
One of the steepest histories of any Northwoods establishment—let alone supper club—the first presidential votes were cast for President Abraham Lincoln on the property back when it was a trading post.
Today, Eagle Waters serves up supper club classics like ribeye steak and broasted chicken. It also devotes an entire section to walleye, which is a house specialty. Saturday specials include a prime rib (a classic) and shrimp boil.
The restaurant is part of a large property that includes overnight lodging. This affords restaurant patrons the opportunity to enjoy a couple of drinks and just a short walk back to their room or cabin.
Another supper club with classic cabin charm and resort on premise, Pitlik’s Sand Beach Resort comes with a fascinating connection to Chicago. Celebrating it’s 95th year in 2023, Joseph and Rena Pytlik (as she signed in 1962) purchased the property in 1928 from Charles Comiskey, former owner of the Chicago White Sox.
The restaurant honors its original owners with the bar being called “Joe’s Taproom” and the dining room “Rena’s Place.” It serves up burgers, fish, fried apps, all the sides synonymous with supper clubs, and its famous beef sandwich—the bomber.
Eddie B’s White Spruce Inn
Another Eagle River supper club and another piece of area history. Located on the chain of 28 lakes, Eddie B’s White Spruce Inn is the oldest standing building in Eagle River. Established in 1843, the cabin structure as seen today has existed since 1884. The restaurant itself has operated since the 1940s.
Customers are treated to entrees like jager schnitzel, ribeye steak, parmesan encrusted chicken, and a variety of seafood options. If you’re going for the first, we highly recommend getting the ribs. While traditional supper club fare dominates the menu, customers also can try apps like duck bacon wontons and ahi flatbread.
Chef Rene’s at the Inn
Just off Watersmeet Lake, Chef Rene’s at the Inn is a true family story. Chef Rene’s parents Homer and Carol operated the Persian Paradise from 1970 through the mid ‘90s. After learning through a traditional culinary education and work experience, Chef Rene returned to Eagle River to open his own supper club.
Chef Rene’s at the Inn has big cuts like the 24-ounce T-bone and 22-ounce ribeye, non-beef fare like lamb chops, and seafood that ranges from lake perch to lobster tail. Like any good supper club, its patrons surely won’t go home hungry.
You Might Need a To-Go Bag
Maybe it’s the surrounding Northwoods landscape. Maybe it’s the authentic experience. Maybe it’s just a family tradition. Whatever your reason for sitting down at a big, supper club table, we’ll always have a seat open for you.
Supper club portions can be large. If your eyes are bigger than your stomach, don’t be shy to ask for a to-go bag. We hope to see you soon.