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Mar 26, 2007 10:12 PM

Monroe, WI - Baumgartner's

Took a trip to an old fave - Baumgartner's in downtown Monroe, WI. It is under new ownership - the Hubers having taken flight to Colorado nearly two years ago. The new staff is enthusiastic but knows nothing - and I do mean NOTHING - about cheese. No longer do they sell the aged swiss that Baumgartners was famous for. When I asked why they had discontinued this staple, the cheesenik said, "It took too long to make." This wasn't irony or snark - just the unvarnished, stupid truth. They had no idea where the cheese they did sell was produced. Not a pretty picture.

For general café eats, you are better off with the folksy "Corner Cafe" about 1 blk south of Baumgartners, staffed by former employees of Baumgartners back in the day. Breakfast all day and decent corned beef hash. The pancakes are said to be excellent.

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  1. Hi, I own Baumgartners, and would like to clear up some misconception in this post. For the record the only cheese we no longer cary which the previous owners did, is the Stilton from england, because the importer stopped carrying it. Every swiss cheese that the hubers carried when they left is still here and we've added one older swiss than they carried. Unfortunately, the cheese factory that makes the aged Swiss stopped aging it because it takes too long and they didn't find it to be worth their time. They still produce one year old swiss and that's what the Hubers still carried when they left. We have actually hired space in a refrigerated warehouse so that during the christmas season we have two year old swiss and are hoping to have 3 year old next Christmas. I would be willing to bet that the "cheesenik" knew that the cheeses are produced locally. As they don't order or pay for the cheese we don't expect them to know the factory of each cheese; which we buy from ~ 10 local producers.
    You never actually addressed the quality of the food you may or may not have eaten at Baumgartners. The pancakes at the "Corner Cafe" are good, but the sausage patties are the real treat. There is one former employee at the Corner Cafe, Sandy worked here for several years, but didn't when the store changed hands.

    8 Replies
    1. re: subtle1

      I have always wanted to get back to Monroe to try your famous limburger & braunschweiger sandwich. May have to plan a Monroe/New Glarus cheese/beer/roesti road trip...

      1. re: xena

        You may want to ask for a small taste of Limburger before going for the full sandwich, It's good stuff but not for everyone.

        1. re: subtle1

          Yes, thank you. I am familiar and will probably want cheese on half. Around here we call Limburger "outdoor cheese" and wait til summer to enjoy it in the backyard. :)

      2. re: subtle1

        Frankly, while I was cheered by the general friendliness of the young staff, I was so disappointed and startled by the lack of knowledge about the cheese that they were selling - something that had never been an issue with the "old" staff - that I didn't stay to order anything.
        I was told that all the cheese was made by the Decatur Dairy, which I knew to be over in Brodhead.

        Thanks for the news about your good work to sell a good aged Swiss. I wish you success with the ageing process. It was always a special treat for us and we used to send it to relatives in the military and in California because it was so good.

        I appreciate your tip on the Corner Café! As we don't eat pork, the sausage patties are probably not on the menu for us, but it's a good thing to know.

        And the limburger just wouldn't be the same without Bob... but I never was the limburger fan. That was my uncle.

        1. re: teamkitty

          Well, I first want to apologize that whomever you dealt with here couldn't answer your questions about our cheese. But it is alot of information for our employees to learn. We still have much of the "old" staff from the Huber's ownership as both my brother,(co-owner), and I were employees of Baumgartner's before purchasing it. So my only explanation is that perhaps you dealt with a newer member of our team, We do try to train all of our employees as well as possible, and will continue to do so in the future. .

          1. re: subtle1

            Of course it's a lot for new folks to learn - and this fellow was on the young side. He did ask three other people on staff and finally one lady knew about the Decatur Dairy. I think the fellow was confused about who had decided "the cheese took too long", i.e. that it was an import problem (over which you obviously have no control) versus some issue with selling (enough) aged cheese.

            1. re: teamkitty

              If you could tell us some of the other questions you asked, that the employees were unable to answer that would be appreciated. It could help with our training.

        2. re: subtle1

          I too am a huge Baumgartners fan! We make a special trip for Cheese Days (3 times now), and I enjoy my bi-annual limburger/braunshweiger/red onion sandwich! Yes, one sandwich every other year is plenty. I make sure to buy some fresh limburger, and then take it home and age it for another year in my fridge (in a glass jar). Stinky and yummy.

          With the previous owner gone, I guess that may mean no more owner-dancing-on-bar, but we'll be back anyways. Cheese Days '08!!