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“Supper clubs, especially in the outlying area, are critical to tourism,” Schmelzer said. “In those areas, there aren’t any businesses, and it is often the supper club that gives that community its character. . In some of those areas there isn’t much more than the supper club, perhaps a gas station, church and maybe a bar.”

Look no further than Gobbler’s Knob in Stockbridge. It’s been in the Levknecht family for 40 years. Brothers Brian and Dave took over the supper club 15 years ago from their parents, Lyle and Marilyn.

“We’re just trying to make a go of it like everyone else,” Brian Levknecht said of business at the restaurant that seats 50 in the dining room and features all of the amenities you’d expect in a classic supper club, fish fry and relish tray included. They’re open for dinner Wednesday through Sunday.

“This really is a Wisconsin thing,” he said. “When we’re out of state, people don’t even know what we’re talking about when we say supper club. They just stare at us. We finally say, ‘Well, we own a restaurant,’ and then they get it.”

The message Schmelzer wants to spread is that these supper clubs are a cherished part of our Wisconsin culture and they aren’t going anywhere. Why not celebrate that?

“I don’t have numbers on what clubs existed years ago, but I can report this - I am not aware of any former supper club buildings that are no longer being used as a supper club,” she said of Calumet County. “Our older supper clubs are classics and therefore still in business. We have had new ones open up in the past decade, so I would feel safe in saying we have more now than we did in the past.”

And that is good enough to be deemed the “Supper Club Capital of the Midwest.”

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Information from: Post-Crescent Media, http://www.postcrescent.com