Classic Del-Bar Supper Club Celebrates 80 Years with Special Recipes

For those who love supper clubs, then check out The Del-Bar, a supper club in the Wisconsin Dells celebrated their 80th anniversary on June 1st with the release of one of their most popular dishes, Shrimp de Jonghe. A Chicago classic created by the de Jonghe brothers in the late 1800s, Shrimp de Jonghe is one of the most classic of classic supper club dishes and interestingly, for as delicious as it is, is typically served only in the Chicagoland area.

Wisconsin is the epicenter of supper clubs, probably boasting the most in the nation.

Mary Bergin, author of Wisconsin Supper Club Cookbook – Iconic Fare and Nostalgia From Landmark Eateries explains what differentiates a supper club from a restaurant.

It’s not just food and drink, she says. Supper clubs tend to be less about family than couples, lighting can be neon on the outside and dimly lit—or should we say atmospheric inside.

As far as I know there are no chain supper clubs, instead, according to Bergin who is a travel writer and author, they’re locally owned and often have been in the same family for generations. Sure, there are some in big cities, but often they’re in rural, even out-of-the-way places. And they don’t skimp on the food.

Of course, what makes a supper club in Wisconsin might differ in other states, but in the Midwest, it’s more the rule that they offer a friendly atmosphere, making you feel like you belong to—yes, you guessed it—the club.

“I think at a supper club, you immediately feel like you belong,” says Bergin, who is also authored xxx

Del-Bar checks many of the boxes. It was founded Jim and Alice Wimmer, the grandparents of third-generation owners– Amy Wimmer and Anne Stoken. In 1943 the Wimmers bought a roadside diner situated between Baraboo and the Wisconsin Dells (hence the name) that was in actuality a cabin with room enough for six tables.

Jim, a former quarterback for the University of Wisconsin who grew up in rural Wisconsin Dells, was all gung-ho about the buying the place. Alice less so. But he pointed out she had a degree in Domestic Science from the University of Wisconsin and also was a pretty good cook.

And so they took the plunge. Obviously the current restaurant is more than a converted cabin. Designed by James Dresser, a protégé of Frank Lloyd Wright, he designed homes throughout the country but many can be found in Wisconsin including not only Del-Bar but also Fields at the Wilderness, also in the Wisconsin Dells.

Taliesin Preservation describes Dresser’s design of the Del-Bar as featuring {strong geometry in its design, with the triangle as a repeated element, including on the sign out front, which literally points diners into the restaurant.  The building’s construction materials also reinforce its connection to nature and the prairie. Exterior stone walls continue inside, giving way to large expanses of glass. The warmth of another natural material, wood, harmonizes with the earth tones of the restaurant’s color palette, which can be found both inside and out.  Another design principle James absorbed from Wright, the use of compression and release, is easy to see and feel at the Del-Bar: Intimate, low-ceilinged spaces open to larger, soaring expanses.”

To celebrate 80 years in business, Del-Bar is releasing two recipes including their hot bacon dressing that they serve with their spinach salad and has been on the menu since almost day one.

The Del-Bar’s Hot Bacon Dressing

Serves approximately 20

  • 1 pound bacon – cut up and browned(grease drained off)
  • 1/2 cup 0nion – chopped and sauteed
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustart

Combine first three ingredients and bring to a boil.

Lower heat to low and add sugar and simmer for a few more minutes.

Turn the heat off and add mayonnaise and mustard.

Stir until dissolved.

The Original Shrimp de Jonghe Recipe:

According to The Del-Bar’s website “As we continue our 80th year celebration, we are excited to reveal the history and recipe for The Del-Bar’s Shrimp de Jonghe recipe. Shrimp de Jonghe has been a staple among Chicago cuisine dating back to the late 1800’s and legend has it that this recipe was acquired at Binyon’s, a famous Chicago restaurant, which held the Original Henri De Jonghe recipe. Second generation Del-Bar owner Jeff Wimmer seized an opportunity to bring a Chicago specialty to the Dells area in the early 70’s and it has been a staple on our menu since then! Enjoy! Or continue to let us do the cooking!

This recipe yields one loaf of de Jonghe Bread which is plenty to cover up to two 9×13 casserole dishes or if you are doing individual ramekins as we do, you will have plenty to freeze and it will keep for a month.


  • 1 load bread- remove crusts, use dough hook in standing mixer to make into crumbs
  • 2 1/2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 teaspoon dry chives,
  • 1 teaspoon dry tarragon
  • 2 teaspoon chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper,
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco
  • 1/3 cup garlic
  • 1/3 cup shallots
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined

Cream butter with the Worcestershire sauce, chives, parsley, black pepper, salt, and Tabasco.

Mince the garlic and shallots with a food processor or by hand.

Then sauté on low heat for five minutes with 1/2 cup butter.

Combine all ingredients into mixer with dough hook.

Form into loaf and refrigerate 24 hours. When ready to assemble, season shrimp with salt and pepper.

Slice de Jonghe bread thin, top shrimp (5 for ramekin size) or fill a casserole dish with shrimp and cover with thin slices of bread.

Brush bread with butter and bake at 450°F for 10 minutes and then broil until bread is browned.

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