RANDOLPH — Feil’s Supper Club is marking its 50th anniversary this year, and owner Terry Feil and restaurant staff are celebrating with a large party on the grounds and in their bier garten July 20-21.
On July 21, well-known German folk group Dorf Kapelle will bring its 28-piece band to the venue.
Herb and Harriet Feil founded Feil’s Supper Club at N8743 Highway 73 on July 1, 1969, in the former Club 73. Since Herb died in 2017, his son Terry and his staff have added to the restaurant’s offerings while maintaining Herb’s high standards and the club’s German ethnic character.
Feil’s was designed and decorated by the same person who designed and decorated The Pyramid on Highway 33 near Beaver Dam, an establishment that is now closed.
Terry Feil grew up in his family’s restaurant. He was 8 years old when his parents took ownership.
“All of us five kids worked in the business,” Feil said. “I started out sweeping floors and stocking coolers and cleaning bottle chutes and things like that. I think I got 50 cents a week. We didn’t really see dad a lot unless we came out here to work. In the early years of the business, he was putting in 70 to 80 hours a week, easy. Mom was waitressing for a while until she decided to stay home with us kids, because there were five of us.”
Eventually family members took on more important roles, with son Jim running the kitchen, Terry managing the catering business, daughters waiting tables, mom doing the books and dad running the front of the house.
“Now I do all those jobs,” Terry Feil said, while also quickly crediting head chef and assistant manager Joann Randall and other staff members for making it all possible.
The fare includes old and new favorites.
“Feil’s Supper Club still serves the classic Wisconsin supper club fare such as Friday fish fry, prime rib and old fashioneds, but we also embrace our German roots with great sauerbraten, wiener schnitzel and a popular German Fest Buffet,” Feil said. “The 15-foot soup and salad bar is always a draw. And you can’t leave without enjoying a grasshopper or brandy Alexander.”
And although Feil is soft-spoken and doesn’t always attend the evening service, he is still the man in charge of a legacy that began more than 150 years ago.
“My family has been in the baking business since 1852 in Wangen, Germany,” he said. “My grandfather Karl came to the United States in the 1920s and he started a bakery in Randolph. Dad and his brother, Dick, worked there growing up, and Dad never lost that skill, bringing it to the restaurant when he opened it.”
Freshly baked bread is still served at every table, and some years ago, it was a newsworthy event when the 1 millionth loaf was pulled from the oven.
Herb Feil was there for the landmark event, although he stopped coming to the restaurant when Alzheimer’s disease made it impossible for him to continue.
Terry Feil has made his mark, continuing some things while improving and changing others.
“This isn’t Herby’s supper club anymore,” he said. “Nowadays we’re trying to attract different clientele than we did in the heydays of the 1970s and ’80s. We still have loyal customers, but we have to add things to attract new clients as well.”