The iconic restaurant Iozzo’s closed earlier this year. Now a couple living nearby are reopening the location as a modern supper club called The Jig.
Marcy Tobalsky and her husband Steve bought the former Iozzo’s building and transformed it into a modern supper club called The Jig, which opened Dec. 7.
For decades Marcy and Steve Tobalsky often drove by Iozzo’s Italian Restaurant on Camp Phillips Road as they went to and from their nearby Weston home. They each remembered the restaurant fondly—both are Wausau area natives—and for months it bothered them to drive by and see it closed.
Iozzo’s closed March 28, and one day this summer they decided enough is enough. The location along the Eau Claire River is just too perfect to waste, and with 30 years in the restaurant business under Marcy’s belt, the couple decided to take a look.
The result is The Jig, which they describe as a supper club with a modern twist. The restaurant opened Dec. 7 and those who remember Iozzo’s will hardly recognize the place. The bar has been completely rebuilt and the walls have accents made of wood from a barn built in 1919 that belonged to Marcy’s grandfather. Artfully displayed antique fishing lures, reels and rods line the walls. A window separating two dining rooms features a cascading waterfall built by her 17-year-old son Lucas.
Bistros, crostini bars and other modern styles of dining might be all the rage now, Tobalsky says, but there’s something about a supper club that feels like a Wisconsin staple. And more seem to be closing than opening. The Jig pays homage to that disappearing restaurant genre with features like hand-muddled old fashions, but gives it a modern twist with things such as mini-martini flights.
“We grew up on supper clubs,” says Marcy Tobalsky, who’ll be mostly charged with running the restaurant while Steve keeps his job at Greenheck. “We’re trying to keep some of that feel, some of that old supper club nostalgia.”
The menu? Think old-school supper club with a contemporary upgrade. Tobalsky and chef Patrick Johnson point out dishes such as smoked prime rib or root beer-battered fish fry, and fusion items such as egg rolls or Thai peanut rolls as items that might not be considered typical supper club fare. The Jig also will be open for Friday and Saturday lunches and Sunday brunch.
The Tobalskys first had the idea to buy the restaurant in June, and closed the deal in October. Since then, Marcy Tobalsky and her staff have been modernizing the former Italian restaurant into The Jig. The name reflects the importance of fishing to their family, Tobalsky says, and befits a restaurant with a great view of the river.
Another aspect that Tobalsky emphasizes is building a loyal staff. After spending decades in the restaurant—a former manager at The Plaza hotel and at a supper club in Merrill, to name a few— she saw what worked and what didn’t. Tobalsky already has hired much of the staff who have been working with her to build the restaurant. “Everyone feels so invested in this place,” Tobalsky says. Many staff were present during an interview Monday afternoon working on various projects around the restaurant. “They want to be part of building this from the ground up.”
Customers can see the results of those efforts as The Jig opened Thursday, Dec. 7. A grand opening party featuring The Allen Brothers is slated for Dec. 16.
The Jig is open Tues.–Sat. for dinner, plus lunch Fri.–Sat., and for brunch Sun. 9 am–2 pm. 715-393-4479, and on Facebook.