The Dorf Haus Bavarian style supper club in Roxbury has a lot to celebrate in 2019. Not only is it their 60th year in business, the Dorf Haus also just won the “best supper club” annual poll by Madison Newspapers STAR of Madison.
Fans voted for a month for their favorite places to grab a good meal.
“We’re kind of built on tradition,” said Dorf Haus Co-Owner Rebecca Maier-Frey. “We stick with the true supper club and German cuisine because people really like it… It’s truly an honor.”
The Dorf Haus is known for hosting a traditional German smorgasbord the first Monday of every month. The smorgasbord won them a “best buffet” award on top of “best supper club.” The Dorf Haus won a second place STAR for ethnic dining and third best fish fry.
At the October smorgasbord, Dorf Haus served 441 people.
“It was a very busy one,” Maier-Frey said. “We have a three-piece band that plays. It’s just a very fun night.”
One person drove two and a half hours from the city of Merrill to experience it, Maier-Frey said.
Some of the restaurant’s most popular menu items include traditional wiener schnitzel, jägerschnitzel and schweinshaxe, or pork shank. Old Fashioned made with brandy are also popular.
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“My parents bought it as a tavern and grocery store,” Maier-Frey said. “My parents actually had their wedding dance there in 1950.”
Nine years after that dance, Maier-Frey’s father traded his and his wife’s house for the Dorf Haus. The tavern and grocery store eventually became a restaurant when he came home with a bunch of fryers.
The place began serving all-you-can-eat chicken and fish for $1 in 1961.
The menu became more traditionally German over time.
“They just kept growing,” Maier-Frey said. “It went from seating for 25 people to 450 people.”
Maier-Frey said the availability of different ingredients from Germany to Wisconsin resulted in adaptation and new opportunities for the menu.
The “Dorf” as the Dorf Haus is dubbed by regulars, is about 20 miles from the west side of Madison in the town of Roxbury.