Wisconsin June 12, 2019
This Swiss Cultural Hall In Wisconsin Serves Up Old World Fare In A Historic Setting
The Wisconsin town of Monroe is well-known as the center of cheese production in the state, but there’s more to this south-central Wisconsin city than cheese. Visitors may have passed the large Swiss chalet in town a number of times without realizing they are passing a part of history. The Swiss Turner Hall of Monroe is on both the State and National Historic Registers. This building dates to 1938, but the first Turner Hall was erected here back in 1868. For more than 150 years, this hall has served as a center of community for the large number of folks with Swiss heritage that settled and flourished in Green County. Today, the hall is home to a truly delicious restaurant that serves up old-world specialties, an eight-lane bowling alley, and a grand hall that hosts a number of private and community events. They don’t make community gathering places like this anymore.
This sprawling building houses so much amazing history. Once a refuge full of the comforts of home, it has evolved into a place that preserves and educates. Community gathering centers for those who came to the US were once quite common, but most have disappeared with the changing of the times. This is believed to be the only Turner Hall of Swiss origin left in the United States and is one of the oldest, continuously-running Swiss entities in this country.
Today, Monroe's Turner Hall still serves as a place that celebrates and educates about Swiss heritage, culture, and history. You'll find everything from small-scale music jam sessions and movie showings to expert lectures and Swiss holiday celebrations.
The restaurant, known as the Rathskeller, is a cozy and welcoming spot full of dark wood and friendly staff. Rathskeller is used in German-speaking countries for a bar or restaurant located in the basement of a city hall (Rathaus). Though this isn't quite city hall, this restaurant fulfills the idea of a central location for eating and socializing.
The Rathskeller is big, yet homey and comfortable and the sprawling bar feels familiar and enticing. The food here ranges from the expected Wisconsin fish fry to more specialized Swiss cuisine. On the second Tuesday of the month, they feature a Swiss buffet for $14.95 that's a really great way to be introduced to the specialties.
In the end, this is still Monroe County, so you can bet cheese is heavily featured on the menu and you will not be disappointed in the number of ways it's featured here. From fondue and raclette to a number of plates and entrees, many of which are vegetarian, cheese really is the star of the menu.
Diners really cannot go wrong with the large selection of Swiss dishes on offer here. A wide variety of sausages and schnitzels are joined by spatzli, Swiss cheese pie, and more. It's a menu that cannot be matched anywhere else in the state. If you're looking for a taste of Switzerland right here in Wisconsin, you have to visit the Rathskeller at Turner Hall of Monroe.
Turner Hall's Grand Hall is often used for weddings, but it's also home to an array of Swiss cultural events, from meals to dances and concerts. This gorgeous room with a sprawling hardwood floor is the center of gathering and community here.
Whether you take advantage of the bowling alley, Sunday afternoon dances, lunch buffet at the Rathskeller or any number of special events, a trip to this truly amazing and unique Wisconsin location should be on your to-do list. The huge amount of events they host mean there's something for everyone.
For more than 150 years, this place has served a huge role in this community, first by providing the comforts of home and now by protecting and preserving that history. Locals still come to gather for meetings and to just socialize.
There's simply nowhere else like this in the country where you can have such a wide variety of Swiss experiences all in one spot. Take part in traditional events like lighting candles on the Christmas tree or a squeezebox jam session. Learn from lecturers or simply enjoy one of the best meals you can possibly have.
This gorgeous, historic building is a truly special experience we Wisconsinites should take advantage of having access to!
Address: 1217 17th Avenue, Monroe, WI, 53566
You can find out more about this historic, amazing location on
their website or by heading over to their Facebook page.
Have you ever eaten at or visited the Turner Hall of Monroe? What’s your favorite part of this very cool community building? What’s your favorite dish on the menu?
If you love Swiss food, culture, and history
you have to check out this fabulous Wisconsin town that’s unlike any other in the country.