WISCONSIN – It is 5:00PM on a Friday evening. The dark, empty dining room is silent. A sullen, portly man flicks a switch and a few warm, golden lights illuminate the bare tables. He waits, drying glasses at the bar – making Old Fashioneds and dumping them in the sink just to pass the time. A young waitress tearfully brings out relish trays filled with pickles, shredded cheese, celery, and melba toast that will go uneaten. A cook stands in the doorway holding a 24oz prime rib. A single tear drips down his face.
This is the dreary state of things at most Wisconsin supper clubs today.
Once bustling with soused couples and your grandparents (probably), supper clubs around the state are seeing fewer and fewer patrons. A few regulars make it in for the Friday Fish Fry, but not much more than that. The culprit? GIRL DINNER.
Now that middle-aged moms figured out TikTok and are trying to relive their youth, they’ve latched on to the new trend going viral on the popular video app. Girl dinner, which is basically a snack plate, is taking Wisconsin by storm.
“For once my wife has finally made a decision about what she wants for dinner,” says Gary Schwartz of New Holstein. Similarly, husbands across the state are giving in to their wives’ insistence and staying home for supper. “It’s cheap and easy,” continued Gary. “Though I do miss those little cups of au jus.”
Daniel Klapperich, owner of the Backdraft Supper Club in Shawano, says Girl Dinner is directly responsible for the financial hit they’ve recently taken. “We used to clear nearly $3,000 a night,” says Klapperich. “Last night we had so much beef ready to expire, we had to feed it back to the cows.”
Klapperich, however, has hope that the industry will bounce back. “We survived the Air Fryer epidemic of 2017. For, like, six months this place was empty,” he said. “They all come crawling back for the cheesy potatoes.”