Baumgartner’s Cheese Store and Tavern is located in Monroe, Wisconsin.
Baumgartner’s is clearly an institution in this area. We were told by multiple sources that we had to visit the shop and try their chili and cheese sandwiches after our brewery tours. The chili was certainly worth mentioning. I had to laugh at their tagline stating that they were the second best chili, right after your mother’s. They topped it with cheese or raw onions.
The list of cheeses available for the cheese sandwiches would only be found in good ol’ Wisconsin. I wanted to try something different. When in Rome philosophy. I noticed one type of cheese was brick cheese. I assumed that this was so named because it was a large brick of cheese and the type rotated based on the local selection, similar to how farm-to-table restaurants rotate their fresh selections. So I inquired with the waitress about what type of cheese the brick cheese was currently on the menu. Some of you may already know the punch line to this riddle. There is a mild, white cheese that is actually called brick cheese. I went for it.
In my mind, the cheese sandwich was going to be a grilled cheese sandwich, so I was a little put back when they dropped a slice of cheese between two slices of white bread on our table. I felt like a child. In my opinion, it would have been infinitely better if they had slapped some butter on it and grilled it up a bit, but who am I to judge the preparation of a cheese sandwich in Wisconsin. Clearly they know more about cheese than this Iowa girl!
My biggest piece of advice would be not to try the limburger cheese! My brother bravely ordered one for the table so we could all sample a little bit of it. I hesitated and decided that it would be best to let the boys try it first and if they could handle it, then I would consider. They are big fishermen and likened the smell to stink bait. I quickly decided that the accolades of eating limburger cheese were not worth it.
I would love to return to this quaint establishment. My brother bought a few types of cheese to put on sandwiches for future lunches and said it was the best colby-jack cheese he has ever tasted. They definitely sell high quality cheese in their store and I would love to purchase more of it on the way out than I did on that particular trip.
If you are ever in the area, do not miss Baumgartner’s Cheese Store and Tavern. You will not be sorry!