Bigfoot Inn Review, Harvard, IL
There’s a burg on the Wisconsin/Illinois border, on US 14, about halfway between Chicago and Janesville, WI (home of JerkInChief Paul Ryan), or halfway between Rockford, IL and Milwaukee.
Name of the town is Bigfoot. No relation to the legendary monster whom we never see, because Noah didn’t let him on the ark. Along with the dinosaurs.
Blink and you’ll miss Bigfoot. There’s a cemetery. A used car dealer. A closed manufacturing facility of some sort, and a “Welcome to Illinois” highway sign. The Bigfoot High School is in Walworth, WI, a few miles north.
Bigfoot is also home (since the mid 1940s) to the Bigfoot Inn, a survivor of a dying breed of restaurants in the Upper Midwest we call “Supper Clubs,” which wikipedia defines as “a dining establishment generally found in the Upper Midwestern states of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois and Iowa. These establishments typically are located on the edge of town in rural areas.”
Supper clubs became popular during the 1930s and 1940s, and generally feature “simple” menus with somewhat limited offerings featuring “American” cuisine. Menus include dishes such as prime rib, steaks, chicken, and fish. An all-you-can-eat Friday night fish fry is particularly common at Wisconsin supper clubs.
Full meals are quite inclusive, starting with a relish tray, cracker basket or rolls and butters, and entrees generally include soup, salad, starch and vegetable. Some establishments even include dessert.
The Bigfoot Inn is no exception to the aforementioned generalities, but their menu is quite extensive, features daily and nightly specials, and offers an AYCE champagne brunch on Sundays. The establishment is open seven days, has a large, full bar, and video gambling machines.
Spoiler alert. Was I ever impressed! Our server “the guy from Elkhorn,” was informed and attentive without being intrusive. He knew the menu and the area well. He boasted that everything was made from scratch, and after eating (btw, servings are HUGE), I had no reason to doubt his claim. I over ordered, because there were so many good things on the menu.
Started with appetizers of saganaki (flambed cheese, a Chicago thing) and perfect onion rings, large cut, nice breading, mildly seasoned, fried perfectly.
Along with the appetizers came complimentary crackers, rolls, butter, and cheese spread (another geographical thing). Soup? Yes please, and a tale from the server of when he met the actual “Soup Nazi.” Salad, with a wide choice of dressings, and then the entree; they come with vegetables and a choice of many different starches. With my Wienerschnitzel Holstein style, I went with steak fries. Couldn’t finish the steak or the even start on the fries, was too full with the prelims.
Also at the table, perfectly grilled, inch thick pork chops, a huge spud with all the fixins’ brought without asking.
$70 for two dinners, two appetizers, an adult beverage, and worth every nickle. Actually, I think the place is under priced, but don’t tell them.
Will I return? You bet. The bottomless champagne brunch (Sundays only) is around $13! Egad! The Washington Times did an interesting bit on Wisconsin supper clubs. I was recently at another, “Donny’s Girl,” which apparently I didn’t write about. It was out in the sticks, kinda hard to find, but worth the trek.