By Mary Bergin
Special to TravelWisconsin.com
Winter sports lovers know how to work up an appetite on the Badger State’s numerous slopes, rinks and trails. We have a gazillion places to sled, ski, skate, snowboard or snowmobile in Wisconsin.
It doesn’t matter whether you are a powderpuff, content with making snowmen, or an elite athlete racing in the Birkie. You need to eat, and here’s just the ticket for eating well in the neighborhood. Stay in the know about more of Wisconsin's best supper clubs by subscribing to our newsletter.
What’s an apropos way to celebrate finishing the American Birkebeiner, the continent’s largest cross-country ski marathon? Head 14 miles east of your Hayward endpoint, toward the Chippewa Flowage and Chequamegon National Forest. Authentic German food, in addition to traditional supper club fare, is just a whiff away at “The Chip.”
What began as a neighborhood tavern after Prohibition is a cozy haven for dining today. When owners Tom and Debbie Landgraf bought the place in 1995, German recipes were a part of the property transaction. Son Eric cooks up schnitzels, sauerbraten, spaetzle and strudel – enough Bavarian fare to fill a page of the menu.
Sashay about one dozen miles north of “Tube Town” – Cascade Mountain, home to an 800-foot-long snow-tubing chute and three dozen downhill trails) – to family-friendly Cimaroli’s, flanked by farmland and now in its third generation of family involvement.
For kids: a special menu that includes chicken strips. For grown-ups: a friendly bar with affordable cocktails. Order a 6- to 32-ounce slab of prime rib, 5- to 16-ounce flat iron steak or slow-roasted barbecued ribs. Ribbit … frog legs are an entrée option, too.
Acoustic guitarist Brad Palmer entertains on weekends, and the bustle of downtown Wisconsin Dells is just a 15-minute drive away.
Within five miles of Wilmot Mountain Ski Resort, which began with downhill runs in 1938, is a rural supper club that’s been around nearly as long. Settle near the fireplace at Colony House, whose name is a nod to the nation’s original 13 colonies, and hear all about it from the two couples who are owners.
Rumaki appetizers are made the old-time way, as skewers of bacon-wrapped chicken livers and water chestnuts. Regardless of the entrée, add honey-glazed carrots with onions (available by request and for no extra charge).
Your location, merely one mile from the Wisconsin-Illinois border, means fans of both the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers are welcome and at home here.
Just down the hill from Granite Peak and its 74 bunny to double-black diamond runs at Rib Mountain State Park is the skier’s ultimate reward: a hearty meal that looks elegant. Michael’s began business in 1975. Brothers Bill and Adam Jamagochian took over ownership in 2008.
Expect dishes with artistic flair in a no-stress setting, and more seafood choices than steak. Start with oysters, on the half shell or topped with a creamy mix of spinach, bacon and béarnaise.
End with a s’mores martini (garnished with roasted marshmallows) or tiramisu whose decorative sauce contains heart-shaped swirls of red.
Looking for a classic choice for dining out? Try these four historic supper clubs across the state, all more than 50 years old!