Essentials: Fried Cheese Curds from Mars Cheese Castle, Kenosha, Wisconsin
A tourist trap that's worth your time
Once you’ve entered the hallowed State of Wisconsin, it’s hard to find a gas station, grocery store, or even roadside antique shop that doesn’t offer fresh, squeaky cheese curds—dense, salty chunks of joy.
Recent years—decades, maybe—have seen the deep-fried variety gain serious popularity. You can get them anywhere from high-end brewpubs to Culver’s, the Wisconsin-born burger chain.
But if you don’t want to venture too far off the freeway, the ones to try come from Kenosha’s legendary—and admittedly tourist-trappy—Mars Cheese Castle. To my eyes, they don’t look all that appetizing, but to my tongue, they live up to their billing on the menu: World’s Best Fried Cheese Curds. Plenty of people would disagree, pointing you to their favorite local spot. To that I’d answer: Try them all. —Josh Modell
Josh Modell began his writing career with vicious critiques of his grade school’s cafeteria food. From 2000-2018, he worked in various editorial capacities for The A.V. Club, from copy boy to editor-in-chief to editorial director of the whole Onion Inc. empire. He is currently the executive editor of Talkhouse.