Mondus plans to sell Anello’s Torch Lite

Retiring owner has operated the restaurant since 1981
Luke Reimer

An iconic Shawano restaurant is up for sale.

Rita Mondus, the owner of Anello’s Torch Lite, made the decision to sell on the heels of her pending retirement.

“I think it is about time for me to retire,” said Mondus.

The eatery at 1276 E. Green Bay St. has been a popular dinner and drinks destination for more than a century. According to the Anello’s website,, the building, then known as The Continental, was a popular place in the “Roaring Twenties,” often frequented by notorious gangsters, Al Capone and John Dillinger. In the 1920s, the upstairs of the building was known as “a house of ill repute.” The restaurant then became known as Club Continental until 1969, when it was changed to the Bavarian Inn.

The name changed one more time to Anello’s Torch Lite in 1981, when Mondus took over. She has been working at the restaurant for 44 years.

The restaurant is known for its soups, salads and fresh baked breads, as well as Friday fish frys.

Mondus talked about the great memories that she has shared with the many customers who have came into the restaurant during her career.

“The people in general made it special; I love the people,” she said. “It is a great business, it is never dull and always extremely interesting. You never know from minute to minute what is going to happen in this business.”

Mondus, who has lived in Shawano her whole life, praised how the community has been in supporting her and the business.

“A lot of people are saying that they do not want it to change,” said Mondus. “There has also been positive support with people understanding and congratulating me on retirement.”

Mondus believes that Anello’s Torch Lite plays a big role within the Shawano community.

“If you look at it, it is a very lovely, elite contribution to the community,” said Mondus. “It is a nice gathering place. People know the name Torch Lite, with the old building being built in 1897.”

Mondus also explained that many people have a personal connection with this building.

“People remember their weddings, their birthdays, their anniversaries and even the baptisms of their babies here,” said Mondus. “It has a lot of familiar thought. Even though it is a new building, people still know the area.”

While its petting zoo is a special attraction, Mondus credits the success of the business to the good, basic food and a friendly atmosphere.

“People love to gather,” said Mondus. “We happen to be a nice central place for people traveling from Wausau and Green Bay. We are also up north from Chicago and Milwaukee, but we are not too far up north.”

The area’s casinos in the area have been a big contribution to the business as well, she said.

“People always draw up to the casinos and always want a good place to eat,” Mondus said. “Hopefully we give them good food and a great atmosphere.”

Mondus looked back at her time within the Shawano community and at Anello’s Torch Lite in a positive light.

“It is home,” said Mondus. “What else can you say, it is home, it warms my heart; these are my people.”

The current Anello’s Torch Lite building is fairly new because the restaurant burned down on Dec. 30, 2014. The building that stands today was constructed in 2015 and reopened in 2016. After the building was rebuilt, she thought about selling for a while.

“We built it to pretty much think of selling it,” Mondus said. “But it just becomes part of you. You think you have got forever until you look in the mirror and say it is time to wake up if you want to do something else.”

A couple of people have looked at buying the building, but nothing yet leading to an actual sale, she said.

After she retires, Mondus said she plans to stay in the community and spend more time playing with her animals and meeting up with friends.

“After I retire, I just plan on hanging out in the community and sitting on the other side of the bar,” Mondus said.