Room with a view: Lakeside restaurant, banquet facility invigorates small community
The 1914 lakeside building provides a unique background for Monroe’s Crossing, a restaurant, bar and banquet facility on Hudson Lake in New Carlisle.
“It is one of the last old ballrooms around due to the way they were constructed,” said Rich Monroe, who owns the business along with wife Leslie. “It was a pretty popular place when trains were the mode of transportation but as trains went by the wayside, so did this place.”
“The owner in 1998 did lots of renovations,” Leslie added. “We kind of kept everything preserved. We keep it this way because everybody loves it because it’s old and has lots of history.”
The couple offer a “little bit of everything” for breakfast, lunch and dinner with a diner in the front and family dining in the back of the 8,000-square-foot building. The back ballroom is a basis for their banquet offerings and they also cater events outside the facility. Leslie creates many homemade food specials and they also have pizza on the menu.
“The ballroom is kind of a charmer on Hudson Lake, which is obviously a perk to have a beautiful view also,” Leslie said.
Since launching in 2012, Monroe’s Crossing has offered Friday night fish frys, live music and is the setting for weddings and events.
“We get to go to about 15 weddings a year. It’s really neat to participate in a lot of weddings and school functions,” Rich said. “It really puts us out there in the community.”
They are also able to help support the community by providing a place for fund-raisers, employment and region entrepreneurs.
“We provide employment to local students and most of our employees can walk to work,” Rich said. “We offer eight different local craft beers including Burn ’Em Brewing out of Michigan City.
“We have a local BBQ guy whose barbecue sauce is featured on our hamburgers and we use locally smoked meats. We stick with local as much as we can.”
While this is their first foray into business ownership, Leslie has a strong background in the restaurant industry.
“I have been in restaurants since I was young from salad girl to bus girl, working my way up the ladder,” Leslie said. “When we found out the building was available, we put together a business plan and crunched the numbers and thought we can do it.”
Leslie said family has been an essential component of Monroe’s Crossing.
“Our daughters Mallory and Casey were a huge part of our business and are very much missed. We have employees who have been with us since Day One,” she said. “We are attached to Lakeside RV Resort and a lot of campers patronize us and have become a big part of our family and business.
“Our loyal patrons bring their families and friends. We have always thought thinking outside the box has been a great tool for us to get more people through the door and get our name out there.”
7038 N. Chicago Road, Hudson Lake