Sometimes an evening in the country is way more appealing than a night on the town. Need evidence? See Sovereign Estate Winery and Vineyard’s revival of the supper club.
More than just a nice restaurant, supper clubs were traditionally located on the outskirts of town and served as a destination for an evening of entertainment with a simple but outstanding multiple-course menu and live entertainment.
For the past year, the Waconia winery has done just that: serving up classically extravagant food and drink paired with live music on Friday evenings in its intimate Willow Room. “We love to serve our wines with the appropriate food,” says Teresa Savaryn, winery owner, of the inspiration behind the supper club.
With a rotating, multiple-course menu designed to complement Sovereign Estate wines, the supper club always features a prime rib ($49) or seafood option ($40–$49), along with a relish plate, soup, salad and dessert. Wine, mixed drinks (the winery has a full bar available) and appetizers are sold separately.
The menu is developed using local, seasonal ingredients, says Savaryn, who also serves as the supper club sous chef/food designer. Ben Banks, Savaryn’s son and the Sovereign Estate winemaker, serves as chef. His intimate knowledge of the wine informs the menu, making inspired pairings possible. Wine is available by the glass with each course or as a flight that can be customized to match each course.
Most evenings feature live music in the dining room that seats about 40 people. While the supper club makes for a great date night destination, the winery staff also work with people who are planning special events, such as groom’s dinners or birthday parties, and can add custom décor to set the tone for a party.
A date night at the Sovereign Estate Supper Club lead to a lot more vacuuming at our house (no, that’s not a euphemism).
As the proud parents of a two-and-a-half-year-old and an almost-one-year-old, my husband and I were pretty exhausted as we drove out to Sovereign Estate last June to check out the supper club for this story. Exhausted, but giddy for a meal that would be served to us, and then enjoyed without any tears, screaming or food thrown on the floor.
Even the drive to Sovereign Estates is beautiful, winding around Lake Waconia and then pulling into the picturesque vineyard and winery.
As the setting sun cast a golden light in the Willow Room, we enjoyed music from a talented singer/guitarist. One couple danced. Another celebrated 19 years of marriage. A small group marked a friend’s 30th birthday. My husband and I talked—well, actually, we conversed, sharing a lot more than the one-sentence declarations that usually pepper our dinner table.
As we delighted in dining among adults, we also devoured an amazing amount of food, from the baked brie appetizer we ordered to the grilled cinnamon roll with ice cream (it was a bit like bread pudding) for dessert.
The Five Onion Bisque soup paired beautifully with the tart Seyval Blanc, which was a perfect foil for the sweetness of the onions. My husband and I were particularly pleased with the pear salad and Blue Loon pairing. When I mention it to Savaryn, she says that many people comment on the salad pairing, noting it’s often overlooked when considering food and wine, but salads are actually a natural fit with wine, especially when they’re studded with nuts and cheese. Our main courses—my husband had the prime rib and I had maple-glazed salmon—were generously portioned and decadent.
We left completely satiated and happy.
On the drive home from the winery, having discussed just about everything, I brought up a contest that I had read about on a mommy blog, asking readers to submit photos of their husbands taking care of their children. The winning photo would win a vacuum cleaner.
“I know which photo you should submit,” my husband said. “It’ll win.”
Later that weekend, I did enter the photo, and it did win. Hence, the increase in vacuuming. One never knows where an evening in the country will lead.