FALL CREEK, Wis. (WEAU) – Two restaurants that have been operating in the Chippewa Valley for decades are changing hands.
Lynn McDonough opened Connell’s Supper Club in Chippewa Falls in 1988 and later opened another in Falls Creek near Highway 12.
Due to illness and difficulty moving around as before, McDonough decided it was time to sell.
Its staff say they are grateful for their years of service.
“Lynn is a legend in the Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire and Fall Creek area,” said Carol Lien, General Manager of Connell’s Supper Club 12.
Lien is the General Manager of Fall Creek Supper Club locations. She’s worked with McDonough for more than 20 years and now that it’s time for her boss to retire, she says it’s bittersweet.
“I’ve learned so much from him over the years that I’ve worked for him. He’s the brains behind the company,” Lien said. “It was a fun ride.”
Neal Wellner has been part of the Chippewa Falls sites since 1990.
“I never thought I would have been doing this for 30 years or more than 30 years, but here we are,” Wellner said. “And it’s definitely been an adventure.”
With the upcoming transition of owners, Wellner hopes the supper club feels that McDonough builds will continue.
“It’s the feel of a supper club, you know, and he never wanted that tradition to go away, under any circumstances,” Wellner said. “So with the new owners coming in, we certainly hope that will stay there.”
Link feels the same.
“It’s the old-fashioned relish platters and the old-fashioned cheese and cracker baskets,” Lien said. “We’re known for our old fashions and Connell’s is pouring heavy old fashion and I don’t want that to change because that’s us.”
Joanne Palzkill, fellow restaurateur and former Wisconsin Restaurant Association, says McDonough has made strides in the industry.
“He’s done a lot to really help put the Chippewa Valley on the map as it relates to the entire state of Wisconsin,” Palzkill said.
Palzkill also says he’s been a mentor to others in the business.
“He’s someone who motivates everyone and influences us, not like, look at me what I’m doing. He’s just a genuine, natural person and he cares so much,” Palzkill said.
Over the years, McDonough collected a number of celebrity autographs, and Lie says it shows how much he cared about his customers.
“He went individually and he went shopping late at night to make sure he had the right mustard, to make sure he had the right horseradish sauce, whatever it was,” said Link.
As the pages turn to the next chapter, Lien hopes Supper Clubs and everything McDonough has built will continue to serve those who come through the doors.
“I believe in everything he has accomplished. And he is a legacy for the region, the community,” Lien said.
The sale of Connell’s Restaurants is nearing completion. As part of the agreement, staff from both sites will be invited to stay.
Until there is a transition period, both Supper Clubs will remain open until the sale is complete.
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