Ninety years strong and it’s still a staple for the Beloit community and beyond. Meet the intrepid brothers who maintain what they call one of the best supper clubs in our area and beyond.
Tia Lasswell has plenty of fond memories of The Butterfly Club, 5246 E. County Road X, Beloit.
The Rockford resident first dined at the popular supper club for her high school homecoming. She and her two teenage daughters have enjoyed a girls’ night out there. These days, Lasswell and her significant other celebrate birthdays and other special occasions at the Beloit restaurant.
“We’ve always had great occasions to celebrate there, and even better memories that were made,” she says. “The back roads leading there really make it a pretty drive.”
Fond tales like Lasswell’s are common for longtime fans. Customers say it’s the sensational food, inviting atmosphere and keen attention to service that keep them coming back.
“It’s a beautiful thing to have a supper club like The Butterfly Club,” says co-owner Mike Sala. “People like to come here to have a good time.”
The restaurant’s rich history dates back to 1924, when Hal and Mae Sherburne opened the Butterfly Tea Room, so named for the yellow and white butterflies floating around the fields of nearby Turtle, Wis.
Over the years, the place exchanged many hands, eventually becoming The Butterfly Club. During the 1950s, owners added a new kitchen, dining room and picturesque cocktail lounge, which featured live entertainment. The Butterfly Club suffered a setback in 1972, however, when fire destroyed the building; it was rebuilt, and re-opened one year later.
Then along came Mike and Hektor Sala, two brothers who fled Communist Albania, leaving behind family and friends, risking their lives in order to find a better way of life.
In 1994, the brothers bought a family restaurant in Broadhead, Wis., called Sandburr Cafe. Five years later, they bought The Butterfly Club and parted with the cafe.
“We like fine dining,” Mike says. “It’s more relaxing. We wanted to buy a place like this in the beginning, but we couldn’t afford it.”
The Salas have brightened decor and tweaked the menu, but for the most part, they’ve relied on The Butterfly Club’s solid reputation.
And it starts with a standout menu, which is loaded with many signature dishes: an eight-ounce prime rib and three large white Honduran shrimp; Shrimp de jonghe, baked with onions and mushrooms in a pastry shell; and Alaskan king crab legs – a full pound served with butter and a steak-and-shrimp platter.
The Butterfly Club offers a Wednesday and Friday night fish fry, as well as a prime rib special on Tuesday and Thursday.
“We’re known for our steaks,” Mike says. “And everything we serve is fresh and seasoned to perfection.”
The Butterfly Club draws customers from across northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin, especially Rockford, DeKalb, Madison and Lake Geneva.
“We feel we have the best lounge within 100 miles,” Mike says. “The layout is beautiful – large windows with great views and comfortable, oversized chairs. It’s the way a supper club should be.”
Singer and entertainer Mike Williamson first started performing at The Butterfly Club in the 1980s. These days, he performs everything from rock to country to Tony Bennett, during the first two weekends of the month and special occasions, such as New Year’s Eve.
“It’s a special place,” he says. “For the type of music we play, there aren’t many venues around like The Butterfly Club. It encompasses all kinds of people who enjoy dining and dancing.”
The Butterfly Club is open Tues.-Thurs. 5-9 p.m., Fri. 4:30 p.m.-10 p.m., Sat. 5 p.m.-10 p.m. and Sun. noon-8 p.m.