Regional Dining Guide

The Butterfly Club: Historic Restaurant Keeps Things Fresh


This restaurant has been a staple in the Beloit community for nearly a century. Find out what keeps people coming back to this historic Wisconsin supper club.

Hektor Sala (left) and his brother Mike have owned The Butterfly Club for 20 years, but the restaurant itself is nearly a century old.  (Samantha Behling photos)

Hektor Sala (left) and his brother Mike have owned The Butterfly Club for 20 years, but the restaurant itself is nearly a century old. (Samantha Behling photos)

At The Butterfly Club, one cut of meat reigns supreme.

“Our signature dish is the filet mignon,” says Hektor Sala, who owns the popular fine dining restaurant with his brother, Mike. “Steak is our main concentration, and the filets are the most ordered item on the menu.”

The Butterfly Club, 5246 E. Country Road X, Beloit, is a sprawling, historic restaurant with a large bar, oversized windows and plenty of seating. This classic Wisconsin supper club has a casual ambiance and peaceful, relaxed atmosphere.

“The bar area is just amazing,” Sala says. “There’s also a beautiful view on the back of the building. People can eat while looking at the trees, environment and wildlife outside.”

The Butterfly Club’s storied history dates all the way back to 1924, when Hal and Mae Sherburne first opened the establishment, then called the Butterfly Tea Room. The restaurant changed hands multiple times over the years before eventually becoming The Butterfly Club.

“We’re trying to keep the same tradition of the old restaurant,” Sala says. “We wanted this place to look the same way it did 50 years ago.”

Sala can’t help but smile when he thinks about the restaurant and how far it’s come. At one point in his life, however, there was nothing to laugh about.

In 1990, the brothers fled Communist Albania, risking their lives to find better and safer lives in America.

The brothers came to the United States in 1992. They spent time in New York and Chicago before coming to Freeport, where their uncle was living.

Since they were safe in the United States, they decided to put their culinary chops to use, since they both worked in the Mediterranean food industry in Albania.

In 1994, they decided to purchase a family restaurant in Brodhead, Wis., called Sandburr Café. In 1999, they also purchased The Butterfly Club. The brothers ran both locations until they sold the family restaurant three years later, focusing their attention solely on The Butterfly Club.

The menu is focused on steaks. The restaurant serves New York strip, boneless rib-eye, the popular filet mignon, and prime rib, which has been a tradition for more than 50 years.

“The meat comes fresh every day, and I cut the meat fresh every day,” Sala says. “I cut as much as I need in a day, because if I cut more than I need, it has to go in the freezer and be served again – and that’s not how we do things here.”

Since he’s able to cut his own meat, Sala is able to custom make orders.

“If someone wants a 20-ounce filet, we can clean it and chop it back here,” he says. “We can special-cut the meat however people want it.”

The enticing menu is also loaded with other restaurant favorites such as walleye, which comes pan-fried or broiled, grilled salmon and chicken Parmesan. There are also Mediterranean items on the menu including rack of lamb, which is served with mint jelly sauce.

“The lamb falls from the bone,” Sala says. “It has lots of flavor and it’s really good.”

The Butterfly Club has specials throughout the week. The restaurant offers a fish fry on Wednesdays and Fridays, with Icelandic cod, and fried chicken on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.

“When we cook the chicken, it gets all crispy and nice,” Sala says. “It’s the same recipe that’s been used for 50 years. You don’t have to put salt, pepper or anything on it because it’s already good to go.”

Beer and spirit selections complement the menu, as does an extensive wine list.

The Butterfly Club has established a loyal customer base throughout its history, Sala says. The restaurant attracts customers from around the area, but the bulk of diners come from Rockford.

“We have good food at reasonable prices,” Sala says. “We want to make sure people come happy and they leave happy.”

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