The Maiden Lake Supper Club, Mountain, Wisconsin
Rating: 5 out of 5 Old Fashioneds
Relish Tray: yes, with plenty of radishes
Ice Cream Drinks: available
Price Range: about $15 to $32 for entrees
Ambiance: lakeside, northwoods
The Maiden Lake Supper Club has been on my supper club bucket list for many years. One of my dearest friends (also named Jean, believe it or not) spent a summer waitressing there when she was a girl, and I’ve always wanted to see it in person. Owen and I don’t get up to the northwoods as often as I would like. When an unexpected funeral for a beloved relative of a close friend brought us to Lakewood, we made the most of it by finally stopping by Maiden Lake Supper Club.
During our visit to the area, we stopped by a lot of little towns – Suring, Pound, Hickory Corners, Embarass (yep, that’s the name), and drove past countless perfect, picturesque lakes. As the name suggests, The Maiden Lake Supper Club is right on Maiden Lake, with a beautiful cocktail deck right on the water. Unfortunately, our visit was in November, so we didn’t have a lot of daylight to enjoy the view. We’ll just have to visit again in the summer!
As we were walking into the restaurant, another patron greeted us with a “What’s up, go pack go!”. For the record, this is exactly how I would like to be greeted whenever I enter any room. We didn’t know this man, he didn’t know us, but his friendly camaraderie, and his focus on what really matters – the Packers – set a very welcoming tone to the whole evening.
Because we were a bit later than our usual early bird arrival, the bar and restaurant were packed when we arrived. We don’t mind a wait at all, and two seats at the bar opened up, and we settled in with a couple old fashioneds. Maiden Lake knows how to make an old fashioned, and we were particularly charmed by the options of fruit, mushroom or brussel sprout as garnishes. We both tried the brussel sprouts, new for us. They were deeply pickled, with that distinct brussel sprout sulfury flavor – according to Owen, “like farts in a good way”.
The Maiden Lake Supper Club feels just like how you would want a northwoods supper club to feel – not too modern, plenty of twinkle lights, and fully wood paneled. The demographic leaned a bit younger than many supper clubs we visit, in fact we saw multiple #supperclubselfies in action during our time at the bar.
While seated at the bar, the bartender gave us a couple of menus. It’s always nice to peruse the options while you’re waiting for a table. It gave us plenty of time to consider our options, though they were a bit limited because they had run out of tenderloin and prime rib by the time we arrived. I was caught completely off guard when a server took our order right at the bar. Owen knows better than anyone that when I’m ordering at a restaurant and I’m flustered, I tend to surprise even myself with my decision, usually opting for whatever my panicked eyes land on first. Once our orders were placed, we were led to our table.
Always a bonus for a supper club – a complimentary relish tray. This one was fairly simple, just carrots and an impressive amount of radishes, but it hit the spot. I’m not always a fan of liver pate, but this was excellent – smoky and salty, almost like whipped summer sausage. In case the basket of crackers and breadsticks wasn’t enough pre-dinner carbs, we also got our own little loaf of bread.
Owen started his meal with a cup of french onion soup. A bit unusually, the soup was served with a bowl of cheese on the side. Owen can be a bit of a stickler about the proper presentation of foods, but this was pretty charming. The soup was rich and sweet, with a good amount of beef flavor.
For me, the highlight of our whole experience at Maiden Lake was the salad. When our salads arrived, they came with a little mini salad bar, right at our table, allowing us to add as much cheese, bacon, and sesame sticks as we wanted. It was all the fun of a salad bar, but from the comfort of our own seats. Plus, the little dishes were left on our table for the rest of the meal, allowing us to add a bit of cheese or bacon to our other dishes (hello baked potato). They even take the extra time to freshly grind pepper onto your salad for you, which is enough to make Owen feel like a pampered prince.
In my surprised panic, I ended up ordering a ML Burger. It wasn’t a bad choice at all, with Waygu beef, onions, bacon, gorganzola cheese, all served on a ciabatta bun.
Owen tried the wild mushroom ravioli, which was served with a lemon basil cream sauce and roasted red peppers. Very delicious. Neither of us were unhappy with our meals in the slightest, but next time we stop by Maiden Lake, we want to try one of their infamous steaks.
Though a sad circumstance, a funeral, brought us to Lakewood and Maiden Lake Supper Club, we thoroughly enjoyed our time. In fact, the funeral had been for a life-long Packers fan, and all attendees were encouraged to show their Packers pride. Our server noticed our Packers garb, asked if we had attended the funeral, and offered her condolences. Even though we are certainly not locals, at that moment, we felt a real sense of belonging. I can’t think of a better example of how supper clubs serve as community institutions with real connections to their patrons and neighbors. Thanks for the hospitality, Maiden Lake – we’ll see you again soon!