ST. ANNA, Wis. (WFRV) – On a Friday night, the kitchen at Schwarz’s Supper Club is hopping with sizzles and smells all around.
Chef Patrick Schwarz is something of an air traffic controller who has to have impeccable timing to get the dishes out. The preparation, however, has been going on for hours beforehand.
Schwarz’s considers itself a cut above because it cuts all its meats on-site. They are known for their unusual shape and have a lot more meat on the bone.
“We have a meat saw here,” explained Chef Patrick Schwarz who is the grandson of the original owner. “We take large, short loins, and then we cut them to get the sirloin for two, which is unique to this restaurant because it’s so large.”
The porterhouse and t-bone steaks also have a tail on them for extra meat, which you really can’t find in stores. By cutting their own meat, the supper club saves money.
Chef Patrick thinks it also improves the quality because of his skill and that of 22-year employee Brett Feurerhammer.
Schwarz’s goes through a ton of meat each week; about 900 pounds of that is their prime rib.
Hand-cutting the steaks is the way the original owner always did it, and his descendants have carried on the tradition.
Military Veteran Ziggy Schwarz opened the place with his wife Evelyn in 1957. Son John and his wife Lisa took over until they sold to his son Charley in 2016.
Charley’s wife, Stephanie, and her two children have decided to keep going even after Charley’s passing less than a year ago.
“The dream of Charley to continue with the restaurant is one that is important,” Stephanie told Local 5 News. “It’s bittersweet because we always thought we’d be doing it together. We still are doing it together, just in a different way.”
Lisa added that it would be just too much for one person to take on.
“So, we decided we would do it as a partnership,” Lisa noted. “We wanted to keep it in the family, so if we both do it, it just helps.”
What also helps is the Schwarz children who work alongside their elders and the devoted partners of the family, and those who have just worked here long enough that they’re practically blood.
“My mom worked here, so I started as a dishwasher and worked my way up,” said Feuerhammer in between cuts of sirloin. “Good place to work. Great bosses. I love the work.”
Stephanie says you know you’ve been accepted by the Schwarz family when they share their recipes. That includes Grandma Schwarz’s pickled mushrooms.
Grandma Schwarz’s pickled mushrooms can be a hard sell sometimes, especially for folks who love cherries in their old-fashioned.
“We say they’re sweetened and pickled. We’ve been doing them since 1957. Worst case scenario, you don’t like them,” explained Stephanie.
They now sell jars of pickled mushrooms for customers to take home and go through 10 pounds every week.
“10 pounds doesn’t seem like a lot until you consider a mushroom doesn’t weigh a lot either,” added Stephanie.
The mushrooms are a great way to tide you over until you sit at a table. Be sure to spend some time at the bar where there are so many stories that people love to share.
“It’s the kind of restaurant where you sit down next to someone you don’t know, and you’re going to know them when you leave,” said Stephanie.
Schwarz’s is a place where the more things change, the more they stay the same, and it’s nice to know that the person who’s serving you has their name on the door.
Schwarz’s Supper Club is located at W1688 Sheboygan Road on the border of Calumet and Sheboygan County. It’s open from 3:30-8:30 Wednesday through Sunday.