While supper clubs may be gradually vanishing relics, we’re lucky those that remain are largely concentrated in the upper Midwest. We’re also lucky that J. Ryan Stradal, beloved author of Kitchens of the Great Midwest and The Lager Queen of Minnesota, is back to tell a beautiful story with the fictional northern Minnesota Lakeside Supper Club as a backdrop.
Husband and wife Ned and Mariel Prager have differing opinions about their Minnesota restaurants. Ned would like to make his restaurant, Jorby’s, a chain and expand it statewide; while Mariel, who’s inherited the Lakeside Supper Club, is singularly focused on keeping the struggling establishment afloat.
Stradal writes with such a strong sense of place in this novel. If you’ve ever visited a supper club, you’ll know he gets the vibe just right. He was born and raised in Minnesota, and always brings his Midwestern characters to life with great care and respect. They’re as strong and stubborn in this novel as we’ve come to expect, but their tender parts are also exposed as Stradal explores parenthood, tragedy, loss and how to escape or embrace our family legacy. This is an incredible story. Long live the relish tray!
Rachael Johnson is the assistant manager at Valley Bookseller. Saturday Night at the Lakeside Supper Club will be published on April 18th. You can order or purchase it at Valley Bookseller or your favorite independent bookstore.