November, 2019. My husband and I sat down at Tuscon’s on Lime Kiln for our first dinner out to eat in the Great City of Green Bay after we moved into town. We knew nothing about the town, where to shop, what to eat, where to go for basics. We were blessed by a local waitress that took care of us. She gave us our first sips of Spotted Cow and told us where to go for the best produce and the best deals on meat and pantry items. She pointed us to The Rite Place for what she termed ‘ the best soup in town’.
More than a year passed before we remembered that advice and decided to stop in for lunch at the supper club not far from where we now live. The warmest day of the year so far made us want a nature walk along the path not far from the restaurant, so after a short walk, we came back for a drink and a tasty lunch. I wasn’t sure what to expect when we went inside. I drive by every day and look upon a parking lot almost always full at lunch time, and that’s to say nothing of Friday evening when Fish Fry comes for Wisconsin. They’re busy, and that tells me they’re a much beloved family favorite.
This was the same feeling I got when I went inside. While my husband and I were among the youngest people there on the bar side for lunch, one thing was perfectly clear: this was a place for family. Parents, grandparents, and the children of the family gathered at most of the tables for a nice meal together. Couples sat at the bar or took up smaller tables. We chose to sit in the window area and look out toward the nature walk we had just taken.
We once ordered their fish fry to go during the pandemic, and if we’re being honest, felt like the price wasn’t quite worth the amount of perch we got. We have been spoiled by Redwood Inn and their gigantic pile of fish and fries each Friday, so when I sat down to eat at the Rite Place For Real, I didn’t think about the fish fry of a year past. I came for exactly what our pleasant waitress described as the best soups in town.
Chicken Booyah was on their menu for the day, so it’s what I went for. My Booyah experiences are pretty limited given that my husband and I have been unable to visit a Packers tailgate this year, but the Booyah Shed gave me my first cup of the Northeast Wisconsin soup during a Stillmank Brewing Company event last fall. I loved it. It was a clear regional favorite that deserved the attention it got during these fabled tailgates and on all restaurant menus.
I’ll start by saying: I found a thin chicken bone in my soup. In some other situations, this might be a big red flag. When it comes to restaurant soup, I will never be angry about finding a bone. That bone told me that the kitchen didn’t open a plastic bag and pour it into a cauldron to serve their soup for the day. That bone told me that someone back there loved booyah so damn much that they were going to make it themselves. And they did!
The broth was very tomato forward while peppered with the ingredients we expect from Booyah: carrots, potatoes, chicken bits, etc. A nice package of oyster crackers came out with the soup to soak up the broth, and I ate it with great pleasure after a chilly walk beside the East River. It felt good to get outside and be a human again after some health struggles and the very, very cold February we just got through across most of the country.
My husband ate his broasted chicken dinner across the table from me with a similar level of approval through the course of our meal. What can be said for the Rite Place in most circumstances is that the price is good and the quality equal. We got what we paid for there, and their servers were excellent. COVID-19 protocols were honored by patrons and staff, masked at all times unless eating or drinking. It felt like a safe place for a good meal for anyone who might be concerned about venturing out as the vaccine lowers case rate in our community.
What other Green Bay Supper Clubs should we explore this year? Let us know your favorite, and we’ll go see them too!