The historic building housing 1847 at the Stamm House has been a lot of things in the last 175 years: a general store, a hotel, a dance hall, an oft-raided speakeasy, and several iterations of the supper club it is today. So when Troy Rost and his partner came across it for sale in 2013, they knew they wanted to restore it to its former glory.
“It was just a really cool building. The opportunity to restore something like this just wasn’t going to come across again,” said Rost, managing partner of 1847 at the Stamm House. “We gutted it all the way to the studs. We took it pretty much all the way down to where it was when it was built.”
It took nearly two years to restore the restaurant to the beautiful showpiece it is today, but that was just the beginning.
“It took a while to figure out what a supper club looks like in 2021. Because it’s the not the same thing it was in 1950. People don’t eat like that. People don’t eat big steaks on Tuesday nights. They don’t drink as much as they used to. Which is probably all good, but the model is changing. So, we’re trying to figure out what does it look like, what do people really want,” Rost said.
The partners used their pandemic down time to take a hard look at their business and set their focus on efficiency so they could raise wages and still offer delicious, homemade meals at reasonable prices.
“I just really wanted it to work. To potentially lose it during Covid was more than I could take,” he said. “So we all just really knuckled down. My partner and I decided we’re not going to let it close and made a commitment to our senior staff that you’re going to have jobs, so let’s figure out how we get from here to there.”
Rost admits that the journey would not have been the same without the ardent support of the Middleton community.
“We’re super blessed. People took care of us. We had to work hard to earn their trust, but I think people wanted the business to survive too.”
The summer was a record one for 1847 at the Stamm House, and this fall they’re eyeing some seasonal menu changes, while being mindful of those trying to eat healthy.
“We’re trying to bring in more fresh fish and pasta and lighter sauces,” Rost said. “We still have four steaks on the menu and the fish (dishes) people are used to. But things like seafood pasta sell really, really well. Crab cakes, lighter sides, stuff like that. I think that’s what is bringing people in.”
Of course, you’ll still find all the menu favorites like the Stamm burger topped with melty cheese curds, homemade chicken parmesan, and their classic Old Fashioned.
“It’s a really good meal without being over the top expensive,” he said. “You can come here and spend $20 and get a really great handcrafted meal that’s filling, and you can probably take some home, and it’s not going to break the bank and you’re not going to be ruined calorie-wise.”
As for the future, Rost says they’re looking forward to welcoming new generations to their historic Middleton supper club for years to come.
“People love this building. Their grandparents went here, maybe even their great-grandparents. Who knows how far back! People have been really supportive as we’ve tried to figure out who we are. All along, they’ve been very patient with us. They’ve taken care of us. We’re super appreciative of where we are right now.”
1847 at the Stamm House
6625 Century Ave., Middleton, WI
Monday-Thursday: 4:30-9 p.m.
Friday-Saturday: 4:30-10 p.m.
Sunday: 4:30-8 p.m.