More than Groceries: Food Speciality Shops

3/6/2019 - Food Travelists

Foodie, Shopping
More than just groceries, these specialty food stores are worth a visit!
More than just groceries, these specialty food stores are worth a visit!
More than just groceries, these specialty food stores are worth a visit!
More than just groceries, these specialty food stores are worth a visit!

Shopping is a favorite pastime for many, and one of our favorite forms of retail therapy is by having a ridiculously fun time visiting many of Kenosha’s unique and memorable specialty shops. No matter what you have a taste for, you’ll find it at one of these many local stores that will make your taste buds tingle. Here are just a few of our favorites.

Mars Cheese Castle is in a class all its own. A third-generation family-owned business, this amusement park for food lovers has grown from its humble 1947 beginnings to more than double its size over the years. It has seen the likes of up to 3,500 visitors in a single day. And while it’s cheesy namesake is absolutely king of the realm (over 650 types available!), there are also some 200 meat and sausage offerings, aisles of beer, wine and beverages (many of them local to the area), and a bakery that tempts you with delicious smells before you even reach it. You simply have to get a loaf of the fresh baked cheese bread, toast a slice and serve with butter. You will feel like royalty. There is also pub/cafe where you can sit a spell and enjoy something tasty before you hit the road. If you want to get a cheesy souvenir, there are plenty of those to be had in their extensive gift area, including the ever-popular Cheesehead hats in just about every size and configuration imaginable. You can even order some things online, check out their calendar of events, and even see what specials may be offered on their website!

Tenuta’s Delicatessen & Liquors offers a deli, grocery market and liquor store all in one, and is another Kenosha shop that you’ll want to try. More than just a market, Tenuta’s is an experience in authentic Italian culinary culture. Another long-standing gathering place in town, Tenuta’s has had visitors dancing in the aisles since 1950. Another family-owned business, Tenuta’s was the dream of Italian immigrant John Tenuta and his wife Lydia. Looking at the packed aisles, huge pasta section, enormous deli and tons of hard-to-find Italian imported goods, you’d never know that this bustling business was once about the size of a two-car garage. And, since you’ll undoubtedly get hungry going through the store’s many specialty sections, you’ll want to get a bite at the outdoor window. The only trouble you’ll have is deciding on whether you want the homemade Italian roast beef, homemade Italian sausage, freshly made “Muffo-Lotta” sandwich or any of their other delicious choices. The prices can’t be beat either, so while you might just want a little nibble, you’ll likely end up with a tasty buffet. You can grab a seat and do some people-watching while you decide which of the baked goodies and desserts, salads, cheeses, and other Italian treasures you’ll be taking back with you. If you have trouble deciding, not to worry. The cheerful staff will be happy to help as they’ve been doing for nearly 70 years! 

Elsie Mae’s Bakery & Cannery smells heavenly, filled with the scent of freshly baked pies and other irresistible treats. As soon as you open the door, you’re drawn to the rows of freshly baked pies big and small just begging to be eaten. Elsie Mae was owner Kelly Deem’s grandma, whose name and spirit clearly live on in Kelly’s delicious creations. There’s the bakery part and the canning part, each filled with oodles of options to enjoy right there or take away. Whole pies, pot pies, hand pies, mini pies and just about any kind of pie you can imagine tease you into submission. Elsie Mae’s offers some 120 flavors of jam throughout the year, each created from the freshest seasonal ingredients. And just in case you want to get more than pies and jams, this tidy little food market also sells fresh local eggs, fish products, granola, crackers, and incredible drink mixes too. Who could resist an award-winning Bloody Mary Mix? Not us! And just in case you still want more, then hop next door into the wonderland of Myrtle Mae’s Sugar Emporium. Yes! Kelly has two grandmas, and Myrtle Mae’s offers cookies, ice cream, candies and more. One insider tip we’d love to share is that you might want to ask about the amazing little ice cream and chocolate chip cookie “taco.” The perfect proportion for a sweet ending, this little dream dessert stole our hearts. Thank you grandma Elsie Mae and Myrtle Mae for your inspiration, your recipes and your family’s innovation. Thank you very much. 

When you’ve had enough deliciousness from the amazing Kenosha food markets, House of Nutrition & Wellness will give you some wonderfully healthy snack choices to take with you when you go. One of the first things you’ll notice when you step inside this oasis of calm is the gentle music and cool ambiance that invite you immediately to relax and slow down. Even if you’ve been a mad to-do list checker-offer on your visit, you’ll appreciate the incredible comfort that greets you in this place where its name really says it all. These folks are so knowledgeable and happy to chat with you about whatever interests you have. We are fascinated and learning more every day about the benefits of CBD and asked a ton of questions that they were happy to answer. They offer a fabulous array of local and Wisconsin sourced products, including LoveBootch Kombucha and Hemp Rescue CBD. And, don’t forget to check for when they have demos, samples and educational events. You'll also find tea, local honey, and other food products in this charming shop.

This is just a tiny taste of the wonderful specialty markets you can discover and explore in Kenosha - there are also a variety of other great local shops to check out. Enjoy to your fill while you are in Kenosha and don’t forget to take some treats home with you so you can have a bit of Kenosha wherever you may be.

Community Blog Team 2018

Food Travelists

Community Bloggers

Sue Reddel & Diana Laskaris - Food Travelists' goal is to connect food travelers with great destinations, and experiences. Traveling the world seeking memorable food and drink in every destination.