BLACK CREEK, Wis. (WFRV) – Just follow the signs that you can’t miss among the cornfields of Outagamie County.
Geno’s Hilltop Steakhouse has been a gathering spot for decades. Most recently under the ownership of the Hietpas family.
Nicole Hietpas owns it now. She grew up in the supper club owned by her mom and dad. His name is Geno. She bought out her parents several years ago and keeps the timeless entrees, mostly notably the 16-ounce ribeye and Geno’s burger named after her dad.
“I was ten when we bought it,” recalled Hietpas. “I’ve been a dishwasher, waitress; I’m my only cook. I have fry cooks, flat line cooks, but I’m the main cook.”
Local 5 News stopped by the same time the Corvettes of the Bay group was doing its monthly dinner run. They lined up right away at the salad bar, which features some 40 items, most of them homemade, including barbequed chicken gizzards.
Although steak is part of the name, Geno’s also offers fish and chicken, which makes it just about anybody’s pick when they’re craving an old-fashioned supper club experience.
“We like the camaraderie,” said Sally Northrop, who organized the visit. “We like the hometown feel. Every time we’ve been here, we sat down and talked with the people who live here.”
Rick, her husband, said there’s just something about being in the country. “People are just warm, friendly, hard-working. We can identify with that, and the whole club loves getting out of the city and getting into the countryside.”
Servers are sometimes customers, always friends, and many times family.
Longtime bartender Wynter Deftache can attest to what it means to have a boss who cares about you, the person, not just the worker.
“I’ve been working at Geno’s part-time for about 15 years now,” Wynter revealed. “I have several part-time jobs. This is the [most fun]. I got engaged here. I became a mom while I was working here.” She then paused, composing herself when talking about her son’s diagnosis of cystic fibrosis. “They’ve helped me raise money for years and years. During COVID-19, when I had to stay home with Hayden, they brought me food to my door. Then when it was time to come back, she invited me back. I am so happy to be back.”
When the Hietpas family took ownership in 1999, there were just four tables. Now there are several rooms, and much of the woodwork was done by Geno himself.
“My dad did all the woodwork,” Nicole shared. “Those side tables, he made all those.”
In fact, it was Geno who came up with the idea to close the back patio. It allows them to host big groups without adding to the wait time of its regular customers and walk-ins.
Nicole says when people come to a supper club for the first time, they usually have to adjust their pace. From her experience, everybody gets acclimated very quickly.
“You come in, have a drink at the bar, get a menu, and decide what you want. We take your order at the bar. We don’t start your food until you’re in the dining room.”
When you do stop in, be sure to look up and around at all the unique finishing touches, decorations, and inspirational messages that sure make this supper club feel like home.
Geno’s Hilltop Steakhouse is located at N8755 Old Highway 47 in Black Creek. The hours of operation are Wednesday thru Sunday at 4:30 pm. They are closed Monday and Tuesday. They have a full salad bar that is included with all meals. For more information, click here.