FALL RIVER, Wis. - With the promise of old-fashioneds, fish fries and good company, supper clubs are a Wisconsin staple. For one iconic supper club in Fall River, the tradition is coming to an end.
It's a bit off the beaten path on a side road off of Highway 16, but the regulars who have been stopping by Casino Supper Club for decades say it's worth the trip.
"It's absolutely worth the drive," said Rhonda Langetieg, who has been going to Casino for 30 years.
"Oh, it's friendly," longtime regular Dave Jones said. He walks to the restaurant every Sunday.
Walking inside, it's almost like stepping back in time.
"It's been here since the early '40s," owner Scott Schultz said. His mother bought the restaurant in 1984, and he took over in 2004.
Schultz said the spot started as a dance hall then transformed into a restaurant, eventually landing on its current name in the mid-‘50s.
"Nobody can tell me why, not even the old-timers," he said. "People want to book hotel rooms and want to know how many blackjack tables we have."
There's no gambling at this Casino, but you'll find all the ingredients of a good old fashioned supper club.
"Oh, it's your typical Wisconsin Supper Club," Langetieg said. "You know, the great drinks, the country atmosphere, even – the places that you find out in the wilderness, if you will."
"Oh, it's great," Jones said. "There's great people, great customers, great food. It's a good time."
Over the years, memories have stacked up like drink glasses.
"The supper club is almost like going to your neighbor's house," Schultz said. "My kids both grew up working here. All my grandkids have worked here."
"My 50th birthday was here, that was a good night," Jones said.
"It's like the old Cheers," Langetieg said.
When everyone knows your name, it makes it even harder to say goodbye. Though business is good, Schultz was ready for a change, deciding to sell the restaurant earlier this year.
"It's going to be missed by a lot of people," Jones said.
"It's sad," Langetieg said. "It's sad to go, but I'm happy for Scott, certainly, to be moving on to the next adventure in his life."
With other supper clubs in the area closing including the Capri Steak House in Columbus, it can seem like the supper club itself is becoming a thing of the past.
"It's a dying thing," Jones said.
"There's a lot of them closing all around," Schultz said. "I think it's just today's world, we're getting more into fast food, like to get in and out, and we don't need to sit down and talk."
The goodbyes and thank yous are pouring in, in the form of notes and a large signed card in the front of the restaurant.
"Thank you for all your hugs," Schultz read from the card. "From Evelyn. Every time she comes in, I have to give her a hug. She won't leave until I give her a hug."
It's the small traditions that leave a lasting impact.
"It's just amazing how many people we've touched over the years," Schultz said.
Since announcing its closing date of Saturday, Casino has doubled or even tripled its daily business, Schultz said. He's hoping whoever purchases the building can carry on the supper club's tradition.
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