October 7, 2019 – West Bend, WI – Condolences to the Walden family as Bob Walden, owner of Walden – A Supper Club, on Wallace Lake has died.
Walden was 76 years old. He and his wife Karen owned the supper club on the south short of the lake for 30 years.
“Bob purchased the restaurant in 1989,” said Karen. “It used to be Benike’s before we got it. George and Carol Benike purchased the club from Dot who ran it as Dot’s Club.”
Dot and her husband Nick added the cocktail lounge in 1974.
Lee Stehling from Ace Canvas worked on the bar rail at Walden’s. “Bob was the classiest guy to deal with,” he said. “He was such a great customer and the supper club was part of the fabric of the community. Who hasn’t been to Waldens? This is a sad loss for this area.”
Dennis Fechter from the Boltonville Fire Department said he’d run into Bob regularly at The Copper Penny. “He was a guy who would always take the time to say hi,” he said. “Nice guy.”
Bob worked in education at the start of his career. He was principal at Jackson Elementary School about 40 years ago.
David and Nancy Slinde lived down the block from the supper club. “Bob has been a great neighbor on Wallace Lake,” said David. “He had an understanding of his customers by offering a familiar setting and great food. His restaurant is a historic place in the Barton community. While many said he should do this with the building or that with the building, he stayed firm in offering the community a historic supper club pure and simple and rich in memories.”
Neighbors across Washington County are familiar with the supper club that sits on the south shore of Wallace Lake.
According to supper-club website,
Walden presents a Northwoods ambiance of knotty pine and lake shore, a relaxed fine dining experience. Excellent service and delicious entrees accompanied by mouth-watering salads, breads, potatoes, and desserts.
Prime Rib, the house specialty for over 50 years, is served every night. A dry aged center-cut tenderloin steak is also very popular. Walden also features Bavarian Pretzel Chicken, Frog Legs, Lobster Tails, Shrimp, Salmon, a most delicious Shaum Torte. Several other exciting entrees are served including Fish Frys on Fridays, nightly specials and sandwiches.
Walden is available for larger group luncheons and for banquets depending on availability. Several weddings followed by wedding banquets have been held along the shores of the lake.
The dining room seats up to one hundred guests. the cocktail lounge, overlooking the lake seats 52 people at the bar and side bars.
According to Karen, Bob died Friday, October 4.
Details on the funeral arrangements are still pending. More information will be posted as it becomes available.
A bit more history on the supper club is below.
Walden-A Supper club began life as a summer home for Lucy and her family from the Milwaukee area in the early 1940’s. Emil Kufahl and his family operated the White Oaks Resort using the current dining area as a bar and four cabins once located along the western boundary of the property.
Kufahl’s were convinced by several Friday customers that they should start offering a Friday Fish Fry. In addition to adding a small kitchen, Kufahls added a bait shop lake side. Rental cabins, boat rental, fish bait sales, bar business and Friday Night Fish Fries kept the White Oaks Resort quite busy.
Several owners succeeded Kufahls each bringing a uniqueness in talent, interest and personality, blending to give Walden a character all its own.
Karl and Mush Hansen greatly expanded the dinner menu beyond the Friday Fish Fry. At this time, the bar was located across the fireplace wall. The Hansens sold the supper club to Nick and Dorothy Jonas who named the restaurant Dot’s Club.
Over a 22-year period, Dot’s Club became an even more inviting place to enjoy the food, the company, the lake and turtle soup. Nick and Dot added the Cocktail Lounge in 1974. The knotty pine was added to the dining room along with the beautiful field stone fireplace.
The Waldens made significant changes in the kitchen, enabling them to expand the menu. Windows were added to the dining room for the view and expanse. Booths were added in the area which had been a front porch for Lucy. Banquets were added to the Cocktail Lounge. And a beautiful patio has been added outdoors, lake-side, next to a waterfall garden.