DE PERE, WI (WFRV) – It’s Friday in De Pere. Sounds of the happy birthday song fill The Marq Supper Club.
The traditional fish fry is rivaled only by the nightly feature that on the night Local 5 News stopped by was the Beef Wellington.
“I tend to speak to the bar staff and ask them their opinion,” said customer Tim Aebi, who was visiting from Crivitz. “They will make a suggestion. Then, when I get to my table, I ask the wait staff. When they match, I’ve never been disappointed yet.”
The idea to make this longtime catering and banquet facility a supper club, Tuesday through Sunday, was born out of necessity.
“So, when we bought it two and half years ago from Festival Foods, we started the catering process right away, getting contracts on and off sight,” explained owner Mike Grahek. “We also started the supper club to bring in some revenue while coronavirus was still going around.”
Mike says he wanted his place to work with family and people who have become family.
Something that keeps a core group of workers with him from the start.
“I love the sense of family here,” server Jess Schumacher told Local 5 News. “I’ve made some great friends here in addition to co-workers. I just love the sense of family, it’s great!”
Grahek’s vision for The Marq combines what he grew up with, while experimenting with the menu for food and drink.
Whatever the recipe, socializing is always in the mix.
“You come in, meet and greet everybody,” he said. “Socialize around the bar, and have a few cocktails. Then you go in and dine. We have the soup and salad bar on Friday and Saturday, a huge draw for everybody.”
There’s one thing distinctive about The Marq; its’ Maitre D “Mr. Robert.”
“We like our supper club to be elegant for our patrons. It’s a touch of class,” Mr. Robert said in between greeting customers, where he seemed to know everybody’s name.
The Marq still does catering. Grahek loves to sink his teeth into a special event he created called the “All Game Buffet.”
“My passion is hunting,” he said with a twinkle in his eye. “About 300 people. All different foods from around the world. Red stag, venison, duck. You name it! Everything! That’s a huge buffet!”
They’re determined here to be many things to all people but especially hope to make “The Marq” when it comes to supper clubs.
The large space allows them to take reservations and do a banquet and supper at the same time.
“We can take and put a wall up and they can have that side of the room to themselves,” Mike revealed. “We can cater a hundred-person event on that side and also have the supper club open on the other side.”
Mike Grahek is a culinary visionary of sorts who’s always looking for the next opportunity to create something special. Like the time when his office has a water leak.
“I had to look into some excavation and remodeling anyway so I decided to rip out our patios and expand them. We can have about 60 people in each one. The one on the east has a gas fire and bar, they’re perfect for the summer.”
The Marq’s sense of adventure doesn’t end there. It’s constantly experimenting with the menu both at the table and the bar.
Jess the server says the best seller is an old-fashioned cocktail because they hand-muddle each drink.
So, it never forgets those familiar comforts and the mark of a true supper club.
“This is a warm place to enjoy a wonderful supper club dinner,” was the parting thought Mr. Robert left with us. “So, when you leave, you can say I was spoiled tonight.”