The Supper Club Book

The Supper Club Book
The Supper Club Book

The Supper Club Book

A Celebration of a Midwest Tradition
By Dave Hoekstra, Foreword by Garrison Keillor


304 Pages, 8.25 x 8.25

Formats: Cloth, PDF, Mobipocket, EPUB

Cloth, $29.95 (CA $32.95) (US $29.95)

ISBN 9781613743683

Rights: WOR

Chicago Review Press (Jun 2013)


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The oral history of the beloved eateries of America’s heartland

The phenomenon of the supper club—as unique to the Upper Midwest as great lakes, cheese curds, and Curly Lambeau—is explored for the first time in this attractive and engaging book. Revealing the rich history behind these time-honored establishments, it defines the experience for the uninitiated and reacquaints those in the know with a cherished institution. Painstakingly researched, the book documents modern supper clubs in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Michigan, and Illinois, bringing to life the memorable people who created the tradition and keep it alive. It goes on to explain how combining contemporary ideas such as locavore menus and craft beer with staples like Friday night fish fries and Saturday prime rib has allowed the clubs to evolve over time and thrive. With numerous photographs, this combination social history and travel guide celebrates not only the past and present but the future of the supper clubs.


"...for midwesterners, the supper club is an epicenter for social eating, a locally owned roadhouse where families repair for an evening to treat themselves to a hearty meal with friends and neighbors... Hoekstra relates the stories of a number of these institutions, their owners, and the people who have frequented them over the past half-century. He holds out hope for their future, noting how some are evolving in new directions, safeguarding local traditions in the face of competition from national chains. Photographs of both restaurateurs and their clientele preserve a sense of a passing era."—Booklist

"...little backstories are what make the book precious and, as time goes on, of historical significance."—Mary Bergin, syndicated columnist for Midwest Features

"Hoekstra has long been one of the city's best reporters and writers at the Sun-Times, and so he fashions, from what are essentially oral histories, lively feature stories about each of his selections."—Chicago Tribune (Printer's Row)

"This delightful book offers an excellent slice of American life as it once was and still exists in remaining supper clubs... American history buffs, tourists, and foodies of all sorts should thoroughly enjoy."—Library Journal's Xpress Reviews

Author Biography

Dave Hoekstra has been a staff writer for the Chicago Sun-Times for 27 years, and has also written for the Chicago Reader, the Journal of Country Music, and Playboy. His previous books include Ticket to Everywhere, a collection of his Sun-Times travel columns, and An Unofficial Guide to Chicago. He lives in Chicago. Garrison Keillor is the writer and host of A Prairie Home Companion and The Writer's Almanac, heard on public radio stations across the country, and the author of more than a dozen books, including Lake Wobegon Days, The Book of Guys, Love Me, and Homegrown Democrat. He lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.