By Daniella Byck
Kohl Center patrons seeking a quintessentially Wisconsin meal can now enjoy traditional supper club fare at a new concession stand at the Kohl Center.
A day before UW-Madison basketball took on their in-state rival, Marquette, the Wisconsin Department of Tourism launched the Travel Wisconsin Supper Club. Located outside of Section 112 at Gate C, the concession stand is serving state classics with game-day convenience.
“We wanted to certainly parlay off of our heritage and history in the state and bring one of our iconic brands to our building,” said Joe Carney, Director of Operations for Levy Restaurants, the contracted concessionaire for UW Athletics. “We tried to model it after what you would see in a traditional Wisconsin Supper Club but also focus on very quick service and keeping people moving through the lines.”
The birth of supper clubs is credited to Milwaukee’s Lawrence Frank. Although Frank’s club was established in the glamourous 1920’s in Beverly Hills, supper clubs remain a family-friendly Wisconsin tradition. Customarily, a supper club can be identified by its relish trays, brandy old-fashioneds and Friday fish fries. The Travel Wisconsin Supper Club is at the intersection of Wisconsin tradition and game day fun.
The concession stand’s aesthetic is inspired by the familial feel of sit-down supper clubs. Deep red walls and glowing lanterns evoke the warmth of the traditional restaurants. A 46-inch musky, the Wisconsin state fish, is mounted on the wall. The stand is completed by a blazing neon sign set atop a shingle roof.
“It’s moving more away from your stainless steel and more institutional look and really trying to customize and theme concession stands to a different level that is outside of the norm,” Carney said.
While the stand’s design is a departure from the usual game-day look, it’s the food itself that sets the Supper Club apart. Sports fans looking for a unique concession experience can sample the featured daily specials such as a Tuesday pot roast and the quintessential Friday fish fry. For those attached to Kohl Center staples, the main menu offers cheese curds and french fries.
“This season we offered hand carved turkey sandwiches, hand carved brisket, hand carved everything,” Carney said. “We’re always looking to create our own unique identity and give Wisconsin fans a different taste.”
At the Kohl Center, sport and supper club enthusiasts can now conveniently feed both their cravings. The Travel Wisconsin Supper Club continues the Wisconsin tradition of both food and fandom.