Make a reservation or stick to a small party and go early to Lydia’s. This supper club is a Butte favorite, packed with families, parties, and double dates. From the outside, you might not be so sure it’s worth a stop. The unassuming sign and building don’t give anything away.
Inside, you get a feel for the history of the place, founded by Lydia Micheletti in 1946. Lydia came from Butte’s Italian-American neighborhood of Meaderville, and worked tirelessly to deliver home-cooked meals in a supper club setting. Today, the traditions are carried on by her great grand nephews.
Start by choosing an entree, which can be anything from halibut or Alaskan crab to fried chicken or veal scaloppine. Lydia’s will take it from there. Even before ordering an entree, the first act shows up: tangy pickled beets, squares of Swiss American cheese and salami, pepperoncini, cold sweet potato purée with a touch of onion and applesauce, and raw green onions. The onions are for munching or adding to the salad, which also arrives in the first wave. With it come three homemade dressings: spicy, tomatoe-y French, thick 1000 Islands with sweet pickles, and chunky “Roquefort-style” blue cheese.
Onto the second act. Along with the entree come both red- and white-sauced spaghetti, mushroom ravioli, and French fries. The white sauce tastes like butter and cheese; the red is about as standard as it gets. The ravioli are salty and tasty (and you’re welcome to get more if you run out), and the fries are deliciously crunchy.
Friday’s bone-in prime rib is about half an inch thick, served with jus and spicy horseradish. Pork chops are tender and incredibly well-seasoned with salt, garlic, and butter — so perfectly complemented by applesauce. Dip fries in the sauce and you’ll easily finish the whole plate.
Finally, act three: ice cream. Choose from turtle (vanilla with caramel and chocolate), huckleberry, or orange sherbet. We splurged and added fried Oreos. They taste something like an Oreo beignet: a chewy outside gives way to slightly soft cookie inside. Weird, but good.
The wine list is reasonable, with many picks under $20.
Lydia’s is a kid-friendly place, even if children might not like all the dishes. The whole affair takes about two hours and is a fun experience for everyone.