One of two books on the Midwestern phenomenon of supper clubs out this summer, Dave Hoekstra's The Supper Club Book: a Celebration of a Midwest Tradition is heavy on definition. (Which is good, because for non-Midwesterners the concept has proven a little elusive.) "You can be in a supper club in the middle of the day and it will feel like the middle of the night," he writes. "A supper club still has a Friday night fish fry and will serve prime rib on a Saturday." Supper clubs have linen napkins and do not have beer on draught and perhaps most significantly are not actually clubs: everyone is welcome.
Hoekstra's oral history of 24 supper clubs in Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota and Michigan covers everything from the originals (the Ced-Rel, outside of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, open since 1917) to the modern riffs on the concept (Madison, Wisconsin's Old Fashioned, which opened in 2005). Each chapter features the story of a different club by the families that have owned them for generations (or, in the case of the newer places, the people that hope to). Below, a peek inside; The Supper Club Book is out now from Chicago Review Press (buy on Amazon).