A family tradition
When you drive through the small town of Denmark (the only town in the state that is a Viking fan on fall Friday nights and a Packer Fan come Sunday) your nose may lead you to a small restaurant just on the other side of the local ball diamond. That small restaurant is Susters Arcade (known as the Tavern to the family) and the smell is its well-known broasted chicken.
You can always expect friendly customer service from our family-oriented business.
Now why would an Arcade sell chicken? Well it all started in 1909 when Vit Suster purchased a tavern in downtown Denmark. How was he to know that a few years later the government would enact prohibition? Still needing to provide for his family and adapt to the changing times, he and his son, Victor Sr., purchased billiard and poker tables to have the tavern classified as an arcade instead of a tavern.
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In 1939, bowling lanes were added as a way to bring customers into the arcade for a good time and to take their minds off the nation’s looming depression. The lanes were the main attraction to the arcade and Victor Jr. noted that the phone would ring constantly to reserve an alley. Along with bowling and once again some brew, patrons could also enjoy soups and sandwiches that were served.
Then in 1963, the third generation of owners, Bob and Victor Jr. Suster, made a decision that would forever change the direction of the business. The family put in broasters to serve chicken as well as serve up a local favorite every Friday night – fried fish. The chicken is served every day of the week to this day and if you talk to local patrons they might say they had a bucket of chicken for dinner. What is a bucket of chicken? Well, the chicken used to be sold to go in a bucket. The big ones were barrels and the small ones were tubs. Now they are more like boxes, but like many things in small towns we still get phone calls for our buckets of chicken.
On weekends customers from all over the local area come to enjoy the family style meal that is offered with fish and chicken on Friday, chicken and barbecue ribs on Saturday, and only chicken on Sunday. Now if you go to Madison or Milwaukee people will likely ask “what is family style?” If they are from northern Wisconsin they know that it is basically grandma’s thanksgiving dinner. Suster’s family style comes with homemade sauerkraut, dressing, gravy, coleslaw and potato salad. Before dining, patrons will often enjoy a state favorite, the old fashioned.
From 1963 through April of 2013 the business ran much the same with bowling on evenings and weekends. As the popularity of bowling decreased the fifth generation decided it was time to make a change and took the bowling alleys out. It was converted into a dining hall and is now capable of serving large parties up to 140 people.
Suster’s is proud to have served the community since 1909. Its fifth generation is excited to be carrying on the family traditions and as in the past adapting to the times. They look forward to generations to come to carry on the family legacy. Doing some of these little things the way they have been done since 1963 is what keeps the people coming back and there are no plans to change that!