Let me ask you a question: How far would you be willing to travel up Lincoln Avenue for some cheese curds, a fair kettle of fine fish and an Old Fashioned or three?
Well if you drive up to Lincolnwood, Illinois, you'll be treated to a Wisconsin supper club experience at the L. Woods Tap & Pine Lodge right in the Chicagoland area. Trust me: in weather cold or hot, it's the right thing to do.
Opened in 1998, L. Woods has a feel that is redolent of those Wisconsin supper clubs (note: no floor show here, unless you count people watching) where you go in, probably around Rhinelander, someone would sit you down and you might talk with folk about the fishing conditions, trade stories about Egg Harbor, and then catch up on more gossip from Door County and beyond.
You definitely get the feel of a supper club with the décor as well, and you'll want to spend some time looking at the deer-antler lighting treatments in the main dining room, the mounted fish that tell of lake victories gone by, and other design elements that signal that you're "Up North," in a manner of speaking.
There's usually a busy bustle at the bar and Fridays and Saturdays are quite busy, so call ahead, especially if you have a larger party in tow. First up should be a drink, and the beverage program includes a quartet of old fashions that gentle tweak the traditional brandy base a bit. My own favorite is the Gin & Citrus, which uses as its base Death's Door Gin (a product of the Badger State, along with St. Germaine, lemon, lime and orange bitters.
Moving along, the soups are worth a look (think hearty offerings such as French onion and others in that galaxy), and the solid cheese curds and the rather intense smoked brisket nachos. They offer a range of nightly specials (lake perch on Friday, natch), their signature BBQ ribs, and a good mix of seafood and steaks. My nod goes here to the crusted whitefish or the fresh cod and chips.
You can also take on a lighter meal with their flatbreads or one of their sandwiches and you'll want to leave room for the apple streusel, which takes 30 minutes to prepare, so order ahead. Finally, it's worth noting that they also offer a gluten free menu and the kitchen staff can offer suggestions for folks with other allergies or food preferences.