The Wandawega Dining Hall that served its last meal over 60 years ago reopens its doors. This little spot is coming back to life with the local best as well as star chefs from Chicago and beyond.
From 1925-1961, Wandawega Lake Resort served 3 meals a day in the dining hall of our original main lodge for guests. When we bought camp, we found all the original tables, chairs, and hoards of serverware from its restaurant days.
It’s taken us 17 years of dreaming of bringing it back so we’re so excited to read about its re-opening in the new issue of Chicago Social magazine.
HOW IT WORKS: Guest groups that are staying with us can now experience their own private dinner in the historic dining hall by special arrangement with our partner chef Tyler Sailsbery of The Black Sheep. We’re also hosting a series of dinners with special guest chefs, including a dinner with Maxwell Robbins of Land And Sea Dept and Joe Flamm of Rose Mary to benefit The Wandawega Historical Society (stay tuned for dates, we’ll announce a limited number of seats on social).
Following is the story which is written on every placemat:
“You now sit in the Dining Hall of an establishment known over the years as Wandawega Inn, Wandawega Hotel, Wandawega Lake Resort, “Vandavega”, and Camp Wandawega. Originally established in 1925, it is now recognized on The National Register of Historic Places for its colorful past. In the decades following the construction of this modest lakeside get-away, a motley ensemble of Prohibition-era characters would eat and drink in this dining hall: gamblers, bootleggers, corrupt cops & judges, prostitutes & Johns.
Throughout the 1930s, Anna Beckford Peck was the personality most associated with this place. During her time the modest resort would become known for more than its “good fishing” and “real southern cooking”. Anna’s hotel was a discreet getaway for gentlemen with very specific appetites. “Orphan Annie” was the innkeeper, bootlegger, and madame of Lake Wandawega’s notorious “bawdy house of ill fame.”
After multiple Federal raids and run-ins with the law for incidents including criminals on the run, illegal liquor, gambling, and prostitution, this era of Wandawega came to end in ’42 when Anna was sentenced to serve three years at Taycheedah, the state prison for women. In the late 1940s, the Andzejewski family of Chicago resurrected it as a “legitimate” establishment, Wandawega Lake Resort, and served 3 meals a day in this room for resort guests. The Catholic Church purchased it in 1961 and used it as retreat for Latvian Catholic refugees who fled the war-torn Europe and made the American Midwest their new homeland.”