Supper Club Capital of the Midwest
Chilton sits smack dab in the middle of Calumet County, otherwise known as the “Supper Club Capital of the Midwest.” Many of the county’s small communities were settled by Catholic Germans in the mid-1800s. These settlers established churches first and then communities, including social gathering places, cropped up around them. These social dinner establishments that are unique to the Upper Midwest became known as supper clubs. Just south of Chilton is one such establishment that has roots dating back to the 19th century, Roepke’s Village Inn. Today the supper club serves hand-cut steaks, German entrees and seafood. Roepke’s is especially famous for its Friday night fish fry and extensive salad bar, which is a meal on its own. A trip to Chilton would not be complete without at least one supper club stop and Roepke’s is a local favorite.
Local Brews: Rowland’s Calumet Brewing Co.
Rowland’s Calumet Brewing Co. has been brewing craft beer before hipsters wore skinny jeans. Today it is Chilton’s only microbrew pub, but it follows in the footsteps of a long brewing history in Calumet County. The former Calumet Brewing Company, one of several now defunct breweries in Chilton, was the last to close its doors in 1942 after nearly nine decades in business. Forty-eight years later, Bob Rowland opened Rowland’s Calumet Brewing Co. in 1990, naming it in tribute to Chilton’s last operating brewery. The brewery produced 80 barrels of beer its first year and has continued to grow. In 2006, Bob’s son, Pat, took over operations and today it is a must-stop during any visit to Chilton. Try the Fat Man’s Nut Brown Ale, with rich, roasty nut notes, or the moderately hopped Calumet Amber with a sweet caramel malt flavor. The brewery also offers homemade root beer for non-imbibers.
Dining To-Do List
These eateries will keep you fueled from morning to night
Start your morning with an organic coffee at Terra Verde Coffeehouse. For sustenance, try the Norwegian bagel with salmon lox, tomatoes, marinated onions and cream cheese, or customize your own egg bowl with meats, cheeses and veggies. You can even pick up a growler of iced coffee, tea or kombucha for the road. Lupita’s Bar & Grill is another great breakfast option. They open at 8 a.m. everyday and serve up Mexican breakfast dishes like huevos rancheros and chilaquiles. Top it off with a glass of horchata or a fresh fruit smoothie and you’re ready for a day on the town.
For an easy grab-and-go lunch, hit up Hilde’s Deli & Bakery. Choose from sandwiches and salads made daily or have them whip up one on the spot. Hilde’s also offers several hot options each day such as broasted chicken and fish. Feeding a crowd? Consider the homemade pizza, particularly the 30-inch BAP (which stands for Big Appetizing Pizza). It’s legendary. Pla-Mor Lanes offers a large menu and the grilled salmon sandwich on Texas toast comes highly recommended by Chilton Chamber of Commerce President and former chef Pat Rowland, who usually orders two at time. Ethel’s Pub & Grill serves up a large selection of creative burgers, including the Ethel Burger – a bacon cheeseburger topped with fried onions, chipotle BBQ sauce and onion rings.
Pete’s Fisherman’s Inn has a bacon burger that is made with local meat from Pipe Meat Market with bacon ground into the burger. In Rowland’s words, it’s “the bomb.” He recommends trying it topped with fried onions and cheese and a side of sour cream fries. If you’re traveling with a group, Papa Don’s Pizzeria & Buffet is perfect for parties and picky eaters. From soup and salad to pizza and chicken, the huge buffet offers something from everyone.
Scoops Ice Cream House is the cherry on top of a great day in Chilton. Choose from the “Sweet 16” lineup, flavors that are always on standby like salted caramel, mint chip and blue moon. Eight rotating seasonal flavors, in flavors like pistachio almond and s’mores, round out the offerings at Scoops.
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