In Wisconsin. there is a small period of time in between snow and racing season. Once summer and all the things that go along with it arrive, this period of time, for the most part, goes away. My wife and I use this time to explore some hidden gems around the area called Supper Clubs. These establishments have been around since the prohibition era and are a staple of Midwest life. They are also a great excuse to find the road less traveled and drive. Sure, maybe this is just another excuse for a road trip, but is there anything wrong with that? Especially a road trip that ends at delicious food and friendly atmosphere? I think not.
So, my lovely wife works out of a Madison salon. Her clients love to tell her about great places to go for fish or whatever. We rarely get steered wrong and recently went on a trek to find The North Shore Inn on Lake Koshkonong. We had previously visited The Buckorn Supper Club on the other side of the lake, and were quite impressed(plus there is a really cool chicane on the way). We took all back roads with less emphasis on getting there and more on enjoying the ride. The last third of the trip was on a winding highway and almost made the trip worth it without the food. When we arrived, we found a small bar type restaurant next to the lake, that looked like it had been there twice as long as I’ve been alive and had water from the lake halfway into the parking lot(high water from melting snow and recent rains). We went inside and sat at the bar while we waited for a table. We had heard that one of the draws of this place was the friendly people and within seconds of sitting down, the bartender had engaged us in conversation. Slowly more folks joined in. There was NASCAR qualifying on TV and the talk turned to racing. Our bartender, a 60 something woman, declares she would love to go to Daytona and has never been. The banter goes back and forth for a while and she admits to going to a few races. I then ask her if she had ever gone to Road America for a race( I find that a lot of NASCAR fans have traveled outside our state to see oval races, but have never seen the great road coarse race that the Nationwide series puts on right here in Wisconsin). She then tells me that she used to go all the time for the vintage festival(now the BRIC) because she was an automotive journalist before she settled here to take care of her family. She also covered Barrett-Jackson auctions and other events all over the country and met Carroll Shelby. Then, as quickly as this conversation started, customers started pouring in and our table was ready. I invited her to come to the June Sprints to watch us race and went to enjoy dinner. The whole time we ate, the thought of this chance meeting with somebody with automotive and racing knowledge and stories was not lost on us. This world is full of characters and personalities, all we have to do is be willing to go out, find them and start a conversation. As we left, I asked her what her name was and promised we would be back to hear more about her previous career. We will. You should too.