Duck Inn, Richmond, Wisconsin, 1968
Supper clubs are an upper Midwest tradition and are found in states such as Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ohio, Michigan and Iowa. Typically located on the edge of town in rural areas, many serve only dinner, and have been run by families for generations.
This charming vintage menu cover is dated 1968 and comes from The Duck Inn in Richmond, Wisconsin, one of the state’s best supper clubs.
Naturally, there is a family of delightful ducks – nattily dressed Mom and Dad and their little ducklings - on the front cover. We are particularly fond of the littlest duck who is still in his diaper and carrying his bottle of milk.
These cartoon ducks are typical of the wit and imagination of vintage menu artists.
The Duck Inn was established in the 1920s, about 40 or so years before this menu cover was created, and became a speakeasy during Prohibition when patrons would ‘duck in’ for drinks.
After Prohibition ended in 1933, Wisconsin liquor licenses were issued with the proviso that establishments must serve food. Thus, supper clubs which specialized in dinners – no breakfasts or lunches – were born.
Thankfully, these establishments still flourish today and are known for hearty all-American food served in convivial surroundings. The old-fashioned cocktail is the drink of choice at the bar at many supper clubs.
The Duck Inn was bought by Jeff and Nora Karbash in 1994 and the couple and their family continue the tradition of casual fine dining and warm hospitality at this historic old supper club. Many thanks to the current owner Jeff for allowing us to show this menu.
Courtesy Private Collection.
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