By Martha Keeffe —
If you’re from the Upper Midwest, you’re innately familiar with supper clubs. Complete with relish trays and slabs of prime ribs, these restaurants offered an entire evening of sipping cocktails, all-you-can-eat dining and nightclub-style entertainment. Though supper clubs have changed over the years, they still provide guests with a gathering place to socialize and enjoy a great meal.
“That’s the kind of atmosphere we wanted to create at our restaurant,” says Trisha Gronemus, who, along with her mother, Ruthie Lepke, owns the Sylvan Glen Supper Club near Stoddard.
“We want people to feel special—like they’re out for the evening—yet comfortable enough to feel at home.”
Purchased on a whim approximately six years ago by Lepke and her husband, Danny (who died in 2016), opening a restaurant was quite a departure from what they had known. “We hauled milk, farmed, then opened a trucking and excavating business,” says Lepke. “But we just wanted to try running a restaurant. And with the help of the good Lord, it happened.”
The restaurant, which was rebuilt on the property, has retained its supper club ambiance while being infused with Lepke’s subtle, yet contemporary style. Soothing blue and gray hues accent the high-back booths while the vaulted ceiling, stacked-stone fireplace, handsome wood of the tables, and indoor cedar shake awning invite guests to settle in for a casual evening. In addition, the use of a redwood branch and root to create the lounge fireplace complements the striking redwood bar, creating a uniquely rustic surrounding.
Likewise, the food options work well to maintain this feel. Unpretentious with broad appeal, the menu includes appetizers, salads, soups and dinner options ranging from the flavorful Bacon Boom Boom Burger (served with cheddar, bacon and Sylvan’s own spicy sauce), to jumbo shrimp and frog legs, to the ever-popular rib-eye steak dinner served with a choice of house salad, coleslaw or cottage cheese and one of the seven side dishes. To begin, my guest ordered a glass of Benvolio Pinot Grigio, and I tried a refreshing glass of Hillsboro Brewing Company Leaping Lemur Cream Ale from one of the local businesses that Gronemus likes to support. Anticipating the rich, savory flavor of French onion soup, we each ordered a cup and were not disappointed by our choice. Fresh salads with housemade dressing followed our starter. Though we were already content, we were eager to try the cod, which we requested they prepare in Sylvan Supreme style (lightly dusted in seasoned flour, then broiled with a lemon and white wine butter sauce). To our delight, we were rewarded with a satisfying portion of flaky, delicately flavored seafood and tender, crisp sweet potato fries.
To close the evening, we treated ourselves to an icon of supper club desserts—the ice cream dessert. “Pink squirrels, golden cadillacs and grasshoppers are traditionally popular,” says Gronemus. “But we also have bar specials like our mammoth margarita and Southern Comfort old fashioned sweet made by muddling the ingredients. It’s the real deal.”
Sylvan Glen Supper Club is located at N1856 County Road O in Stoddard. For more information, find it on Facebook or call (608) 457-3030.