3 Mile House, Hazel Green, Wisconsin
Rating: 5 out of 5 Old Fashioneds
Relish Tray: you betcha
Ice Cream Drinks: yes
Price Range: about $10 to about $38
Ambiance: friendly roadhouse
When you hear the name “3 Mile House,” you might be expecting a longer building than the little roadside supper club off Highway 11 in Hazel Green, WI. The name comes from the fact that it’s a mere three miles from the Illinois border, and it’s only one mile from the Iowa Bridge, making it a worthwhile destination for anyone in the Tri-State area. We wish it was a little closer to us, but I guess those poor folks in Iowa and Illinois deserve a brandy old fashioned and a basket of fried cheese curds once in a while too.
We started off with a couple of BOFs (brandy old-fashioneds) with pickled mushrooms at the bar. The bar is really a stand out, it’d be worthwhile to stop at even if you weren’t eating dinner. We loved everything about it, the decor, the drinks, and the people (both in front and behind the bar). They’ve got an impressive collection of beer signs which’ll really take you back. They’ve even got one of those Hamm’s “Scene-O-Rama” signs with the moving images of flowing rivers and waterfalls (quite the collector’s item I’m told).
The service is outstanding – the bartender was the nicest guy and had great rapport with the regulars and us newbies alike. The drinks did not disappoint either, I was even swayed by another customer to try a gin gimlet. I couldn’t decide whether I wanted it with an olive or another one of those tasty mushrooms, and the bartender let me have BOTH! He also asked me if I wanted a small, medium, or large amount of Rose’s lime juice in my gimlet. I have to admit I’ve never considered my preference on the matter, so I split the difference and went with medium. He came back with my gimlet and let me know he’d be happy to top it off with more should I need it part way through my drink. Now that’s service!
When our table was ready, we were led into the dining room, which is cozy and charming just like the bar. Another important supper club criterion was met when we saw the relish tray at our table. It’s got crinkle cut carrots, celery, radish and green pepper, along with dishes of cheese spread, ranch and liverwurst spread and a basket of crackers.
We started off with house salads with french dressing. The salad featured iceberg lettuce, shredded red cabbage, shredded cheddar cheese and plenty of croutons. The level of service we experienced in the bar continued throughout our meal. While I was fishing around in the cracker basket from more of those little pre-packaged onion flavored breadsticks, I discovered we were out and mentioned it to Jean. Not five seconds later a server who wasn’t even ours dropped some more off at the table. Ask and you shall receive at the 3 Mile House Supper Club.
I ordered the prime rib with blue cheese crumbles broiled on top and potatoes “au gratin” on the side. They make a mean prime rib, and the au gratin was something else. It was served in one of those white ramekins creme brûlée might come in, and I gotta say the comparison doesn’t end there. I cracked open a crust of broiled cheese to reveal a layer of creamy potato goodness underneath.
Jean decided to take a walk on the wild side and ordered the “Impossible” veggie burger. We have a couple of friends who don’t eat meat, and we always think about how at most supper clubs they’d be stuck with no entrees to order. But, here at the 3 Mile House, there is something for everyone. Plus, we’d seen those Burger King commercials with the cowboys who get fooled eating an impossible whopper and think its beef. Jean loved it, both the burger and the zippy avocado poblano sauce it came with. She said it was just as good as the last beef burger she ate (which may have been from a Kwik Trip, for context). She ordered a “loaded” baked potato with her burger, and it really lived up to its name.
As we left for the evening we saw the staff and customers bid each other good night with handshakes and hugs. The place has clearly got a great reputation that brings people in and keeps them coming back. I’m sure the folks coming from outside Wisconsin don’t have a whole lot of other supper club options that can offer a comparable experience to the 3 Mile Club, but even for those coming from the Badger State, it’s worth the drive!