In The Wisconsin Supper Clubs Story: An Illustrated History, with Relish, the third in his popular series, Ron Faiola invites readers to pull up a chair as he regales us with more than a century of history behind this beloved dining tradition, guiding readers from London to Hollywood, to New York City, and finally, to his own home state.
The journey begins with the world’s very first supper clubs, which emerged in London in the mid-1800s. The phenomenon was adopted by New York’s restaurant and saloon owners in the late 1800s, and soon spread to suburban and rural areas. Across the United States, supper clubs enhanced culinary and dining traditions, and greatly influenced the evolution of live entertainment such as cabaret, comedy, and jazz, and dance crazes such as “The Charleston,” “Turkey Trot,” and the eyebrow-raising “Wiggle Wiggle.”
Faiola unfolds the history of Wisconsin’s supper clubs with stories of its most iconic establishments, such as Ray Radigan’s, Hoffman House, and Fazio’s on Fifth. He reveals the remarkable durability of the supper club tradition as it withstood WWI, the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, Prohibition, the Great Depression, WWII, as well as the mid-twentieth century advent of fast food franchises and casual dining chains. Through their innovation and determination, supper club owners and their staff have managed not only to survive, but to maintain generations-spanning restaurants that remain prominent features of their communities to this day.
Bursting with full-color photographs, newspaper clippings, and first-hand interviews, The Wisconsin Supper Clubs Story: An Illustrated History, with Relish offers a hearty buffet of the history of Wisconsin’s most iconic supper clubs and the folks who keep the cocktails poured, the relish trays fresh, and ensure there’s always an open seat at the table.