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Modern nostalgia finds a home at The Harvey House supper club

Courtesy: The Harvey House

If you grew up in the Midwest at a certain time, you probably relish the memories of eating at supper club...or the relish trays there. The Mid-Century modern vibe, the cocktails, and the dim lighting are all sources of light that remind us of good food and good conversations. Those days are long from gone. We are showing you how a new supper club on West Washington Avenue in Madison is offering up those good times with a twist.

No matter which way you slice it, a good meal doesn't just happen. You need someone to add a little zest to create something everyone craves.

"Food was always really important," Joe Papach, co-owner of The Harvey House, said.

"It's how we connect with our friends, our family. It's really our whole lives," Shaina Robbins Papach, co-owner of The Harvey House, said.

That's the goal at the Harvey House. It's a newly opened supper club in an old train depot on West Washington in Madison.

"You can see the black marks on the exterior of the building when the baggage handlers slammed the luggage into the wall," Joe said.

Within those walls, old world meets the 21st century. The two people who are marrying these flavors happen to be married themselves.

"We complement each other, because Joe is pretty traditional and I tend to want to push the envelope a little bit," Shaina said.

Joe and Shaina hope this combination at their supper club goes down as smooth as one of their signature Old Fashioneds.

"Modern nostalgia is kind of what we've, throughout this process, kept coming back to," Shaina said.

And the food will feature some modern takes on some of your supper club favorites.

"Classic stuff. You know, walleye, chicken cordon bleu, the old fashioned duck that has that old fashioned vibe to it," Joe said.

Joe and Shaina are both from the Midwest, and met working in a restaurant in New York. Eventually, they decided to turn Shaina's hometown of Madison into their own kitchen so they could cook up something special.

"The sense of hospitality, the sense of celebration, were really key and then the sense of comfort and fun. We really tried to bring these elements to all of the things," Shaina said.

Shaina grew up eating in supper clubs with family, and the establishments hold a special place in her heart. The two spent years renovating the old train station. There are bars on two levels and vintage d├ęcor everywhere. The train platform is now a dining area, and a train car will soon set up for private dining. They wanted to make everything fresh, but honor history.

"In the late 1800s, there was a man named Fred Harvey who started a chain of restaurants along train lines before there were train dining cars and try to sort of elevate the business they were called the Harvey Houses," Shaina said.

The Papaches want to add new zest to the old supper club. They hope by combining these ingredients, they can create something we've all been craving -- a future full of memories of good times together.

"Food is our religion. It's what brings us together. It's a hug huge part of our lives," Shaina said.

"We wanted to create something special for the city, but this is a family restaurant," Joe said.