Vow of Tastiness

newly opened Monk's Bar & Grill offers meaty menu, sporty fun

Anne Sandell, photos by Andrea Paulseth

GRILL UP AND FILL UP.  Monk’s Bar & Grill opened its fifth location last month – in the former home of Northwoods Brewpub near Oakwood Mall.
GRILL UP AND FILL UP. Monk’s Bar & Grill opened its fifth location last month – in the former home of Northwoods Brewpub near Oakwood Mall.

Monkey fries, carnivore tots, and monkburgers, oh my! Monk’s Bar and Grill is bringing terrifyingly tasty dishes to the Eau Claire area that are sure to please families and sports fanatics alike.

Last month, Monk’s Bar and Grill opened its fifth location right here in Eau Claire, taking the place of the old Northwoods Brewpub. The restaurant, best described as a sports fans paradise, is equipped with more than 20 televisions and enough sports memorabilia to impress that uncle of yours who claims to be the biggest Wisconsin sports fan ever.

Monk’s Bar and Grill first opened in Wisconsin Dells in 1947 and has been serving up a good time ever since. The original owners, Gustave (“Monk”) and Helen Heineke, have a passion for Wisconsin sports and two sons who were successful Badger athletes. This passion and love of sports has carried on through generations. In 1982, seven years after Monk’s passing, Helen sold the bar to Tom and Jane Heller, who have upheld the Heineke’s traditions and expanded the restaurant into a successful Midwestern franchise.

Ryan Poppenga, franchisee and owner of the new Eau Claire location, is excited for the Chippewa Valley to get a taste of what Monk’s is all about. “The atmosphere is exciting and upbeat. We cater to the sports enthusiast,” says Poppenga. “Badger game days are huge with us.”

The menu features a wide array of options, from specialty Monkburgers to salads and wraps. A scan over the menu will quickly turn into a game of eeny, meeny, miny, moe before you know it. Oh and did I mention they serve a Bloody Mary the size of your head?

When asked about his favorite unique menu item,  Poppenga quickly mentioned the carnivore tots; a crispy batch of tater tots loaded with melted cheddar cheese, tender pulled pork, and green onions. Monk’s is clearly after our Wisconsinite hearts with that concoction. “We’ve got big portion items and phenomenal, quality food,” he said. “From food to customer service, we strive for greatness.”

While the restaurant’s memorabilia-heavy interior showcases a love for Wisconsin sports, Monk’s cherishes its community driven roots – a trait that is important in a tight-knit community like ours. The bar and grill hopes to get involved and be a place Eau Claire is proud to call its own. “We want to have a positive community impact. We want to bring Eau Claire something new and fun, but we want to do it right,” Poppenga says.

With tater tots covered in pork and cheese, and Wisconsin sports playing on more than 20 televisions, Monk’s Bar and Grill is quickly on its way to winning over not only our stomachs, but our hearts.