A 55-year tradition is about to come to an end at a Town of Delavan supper club.
Chris and Dave Marsicano, co-owners of the Village Supper Club, 1725 S. Shore Drive, recently sold the business that has been in their family for about 55 years.
Dave Marsicano, left, and Chris Marsicano recently sold the family business the Village Supper Club to new owners. The supper had been owned b…
Chris Marsicano said he felt that now was the appropriate time for him and his brother to step aside and sell the business.
“We’re getting older. The next generation all worked here growing up. There’s been nieces and nephews, but a lot of them have other careers and have moved on,” Chris Marsicano said. “We would like to enjoy a little bit of life after years of hard work.”
Dave Marsicano said even though he has enjoyed being involved with the family business, there is a lot of work and long hours involved.
“It’s a 24/7 deal when you get hooked up with something like this,” Dave Marsicano said. “Even when you go on vacation, you get a phone call that something broke.”
The brother’s last day operating the business will be Sunday, Sept. 12. They have not disclosed who will be the supper club’s new owners.
The Village Supper Club includes several dining areas where customers can enjoy a fish fry, prime rib, ribs, pasta dishes and other menu items.
“We’re not at liberty to say yet,” Chris Marsicano said.
However, he said the new owners do plan to keep operating the business as a supper club.
Beginning of the
family traditionThe Village Supper Club was started in 1966 by Chris and Dave’s parents, Nick and Doris Marsicano. Chris Marsicano was about 3 years old when his parents opened the supper club.
“I’ve grown up in it,” Chris Marsicano said. “It’s always been here. It’s just something I’ve always done. We’re a close family. We’ve worked together over the years.”
Dave Marsicano said he began managing the kitchen when he was 19, and he and his brother took over ownership in 1989.
“We just grew into it,” Dave Marsicano said.
Chris Marsicano said, since taking over ownership of the business, they have received a lot of help from several of their family members including siblings, children, nieces and nephews.
“We definitely couldn’t have done it without our family,” Chris Marsicano said. “It’s a huge job to run a place like this, and you can always count on family. They have always been there.”
Supper club vs. restaurantChris Marsicano said some of the main differences between a supper club and a restaurant is that supper clubs often have a more relaxed atmosphere with a full bar — and a Friday fish fry and a relish bar is a must.
“That’s traditionally a supper club,” Chris Marsicano said. “It’s been voted best in the county for years. We’re well known for our relish bar.”
Chris Marsicano said supper clubs are popular in Wisconsin, but they are not as common in other states.
“Supper clubs are a tradition in Wisconsin,” Chris Marsicano said. “You get people from around the country who don’t know what a supper club is. They ask ‘Is it something I have to become a member of?’ or ‘Do I have to join?’”
Chris Marsicano said supper clubs seemed to be in decline a few years back, but they have seemed to make a comeback during the last several years.
“There was a time in the 1990s and early 2000s it kind of was in decline a little bit,” Chris Marsicano said. “Everyone was looking for more modern things. I think the publication of supper club books really helped turn it around. Now, it’s a popular thing to do.”
Dave Marsicano said there are now supper club groups that visit different supper clubs on a regular basis.
“There’s clubs that go to certain supper clubs every other month or so,” Dave Marsicano said.
A place for good food, service and atmosphere
Chris Marsicano said, over the years, the Village Supper Club has been a place for birthday parties, wedding parties and funeral lunches.
“You forget your restaurant is creating memories in people’s lives,” Chris Marsicano said. “A lot of people are sad to see us go, and they got a lot of good memories.”
Dave Marsicano said besides the fish fry, the supper club also has been known for its ribs, prime rib and pasta.
“It use to be steaks and chops and stuff like that, but we brought in a lot of new items,” Dave Marsicano said. “Since we announced we are selling, the prime rib has been flying out the door, because people say, ‘I got to get the prime rib one more time.’”
Chris Marsicano said customers also have enjoyed the view of Delavan Lake, which can be seen from the back of the supper club.
“The view has drawn them in over the years,” Chris Marsicano said. “They enjoy the food and they enjoy the socialization with the staff.”
Challenges during the past year
Chris Marsicano said operating the supper club during the past year has been difficult with regulations that have been placed on dining establishments because of the coronavirus.
“The government has made it harder to run your business with all the different regulations and rules that have come into play,” he said.
Chris Marsicano said, like other businesses, the supper club has had difficulty finding staff during the past year.
“The employee situation has been difficult the past couple of years to staff your restaurant,” Chris Marsicano said. “That’s a universal problem all over Wisconsin not just with this industry but with every other industry.”
Chris Marsicano said, during the pandemic, the cost of food has increased, and it has become more difficult to obtain supplies and products.
“You can’t get product and if you can get it, it’s sky high,” he said.
What they will miss the most
Dave Marsicano said he will miss the challenges of operating the businesses and developing new ideas for the supper club, as well as interacting with the customers.
“Every day you get up and you say, ‘What are we doing today?’ or ‘What are we going to make?,’” Dave Marsicano said. “I’m going to miss that.”
Chris Marsicano said he also is going to miss the people who visit the supper club.
“There’s an old saying, ‘Walk in as a customer and leave as a friend,’” Chris Marsicano said. “After all these years, it’s very true. We have a lot of people who started out as customers who became our friends.”
Dan Marsicano said as part of his retirement he plans to “enjoy the time off.”
Chris Marsicano said he also is looking forward to relaxing and enjoying some down time.
“It’s going to be nice to be able to relax and decide what comes next,” Chris Marsicano said. “We never had the ability to do anything at the spur of the moment and say, ‘I want to go here or I want to do there,’ because you’re always working.”
The hours for the final week are: Wednesday & Thursday 3-9 p.m. Friday & Saturday 3-10 p.m. and Sunday 11:30 a.m.—9 p.m.