Mars Cheese Castle-Is it worth the stop?


When we were driving from Milwaukee to Chicago, we looked for easy stops along the way.  There weren’t many that were easy to see that were easy to reach off the freeway.  The one thing that stuck out was the Mars Cheese Castle.  It was right off the freeway and looked to be a fun and easy stop.

Was it worth the stop?  For us, it wasn’t worth the stop, but it could appeal if you are in desperate need of a stop and don’t mind paying a steep premium for a snack.  We preferred this stop much more!

What is Mars Cheese Castle?

Mars Cheese Castle is a roadside shop that screams 1950’s or 1960’s roadside attraction without actually being vintage at all.  The building itself is designed to look like a small castle complete with a drawbridge and turrets.

Inside, you will find a handful of different sections/rooms with candy and souvenirs, a bakery, a deli, a cheese shop, and beer/wine.

The store dates back to 1947 and named after its founder, Mario Ventura, Sr.  It has become somewhat of a landmark as one of the oldest cheese stores in this cheese-crazed part of the country.

Where is Mars Cheese Castle?

Mars Cheese Castle is located in Kenosha, Wisconsin off the I94, directly south of Milwaukee, on the way to Chicago.  It is about 10 miles north of the Illinois border.

To get there, take the Burlington Rd. exit and it is directly west of the freeway.  It is a big “castle” standing by itself so there is really no way to miss it once you take the exit.

Our Impression

Mars Cheese Castle is right off the freeway, which is a big plus.  If you decide to make the stop, you can be in and out and back on the freeway in as little as 15 minutes so, even if you hate it, you haven’t lost much time on your drive.  It is definitely more interesting than a usual gas station bathroom break, but it won’t take any more time.

Our kids ran for the candy as soon as we walked in.  There is a pretty good selection of candy and there a lot of older candies that you don’t see everywhere.  That is fun, but be prepared to pay a bit of a premium.

As soon as we handled the kids and their candy, we went to the bakery, hoping for a yummy treat.  We were disappointed in the bakery.  There was nothing special, it didn’t look particularly fresh and was as much or more expensive than you would find at a legit bakery.  We couldn’t even find something tempting enough to buy.

Since we don’t drink, we skipped the beer and wine and headed for the big cheese room.  The cheese room was kind of fun.  There were a few kinds of cheese and dips out for samples that were fun to try.

We didn’t stay long and got back to our drive.  We weren’t very impressed and the prices seemed unnecessarily steep, but it didn’t take long and it was a good break from the drive at least.  If you have a bit more time, we enjoyed stopping and hiking the Seven Bridges Trail a whole lot more.

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