Win Schuler’s Onion Soup with My Homemade Parmesan Croutons

Win Schuler’s has over a 100 year family history  here in Michigan beginning with a cigar store opening in Marshall, Michigan in 1909.    A billiard table, bakery and a lunch counter were then added.  In 1920 a café was purchased and a hotel with a small dining room.  Then in 1924 the spacious Royal Hotel and Restaurant was purchased and this is the only location in historic Marshall, Michigan that remains open today besides the Schu’s Grill and Bar subsidiary in St. Joseph, Michigan.

In 1934 the restaurant was remodeled and expanded adding a glass-block front and a bowling alley.  The father, Albert gifted the restaurant to his sons, Winston (Win) and Albert.  Then in 1946 Win bought out his brother’s share and continued to expand Schuler’s by opening a few restaurants throughout Michigan.  In 1952, Win introduced their famous Bar-Scheeze, which was a mixture of cheese and beer.  This was sooo good and was always on the table along with their crispy Bar-Chips while diners waited for their meals.  This cheese was trademarked and packaged for grocery store sales and in 1982 was eventually sold to Campbell’s Soup.

Around a dozen subsidiary restaurants opened beginning in Jackson, Michigan (1952) and the one in Ann Arbor where I live opened in 1972.  At the time I was a librarian working for a Federal agency and the restaurant/hotel was just across the street from where I worked.  Needless to say, my fellow co-workers and I had many lunches, a few “happy hours” and a few dinners there as well with my husband, Gene.   So many good things to eat besides the Bar Scheeze, like their meatballs, onion soup and 1 lb. prime rib steaks.  The prime rib was a favorite of Gene’s!  Everyone was sad to see it go and I am not sure exactly when the Ann Arbor restaurant closed.  😦

I got my recipe many years ago and then when Schuler’s came out with their own cookbook in 2004 I bought it.  I am a librarian so I like to collect books, recipes, and so on.    As an example I have about 12 recipes for onion soup that I have collected over the years.  Some are already on my computer and just waiting to be transferred to my new site, some are from cookbooks, magazines and now the internet and all of the good food blogs, and then of course there is Pinterest.   I get many recipe emails from different food related companies, such as Weber’s Grill, America’s Test Kitchen, Food Network and so on.  Some recipes are from family or friends, others are my own and many I have “tweaked” over the years.   I have amassed quite a collection – I should probably quit “collecting”!!!

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This is a special onion soup  which includes a roux making it very rich and yummy. It  is not your typical caramelized onions in beef broth soup.   If you are not watching your calories by all means make this soup;  you will not be disappointed 🙂

There is only a slight difference between my original recipe and the one in the cookbook.  The cookbook suggests using only 1/2 cup flour instead of 3/4 cup.  I would go along with this change as the soup is rather thick and rich.

The recipe calls for a “dark beer” and while shopping at Trader Joe’s recently, an employee suggested this beer.  Sure, why not – I do not know anything about beer, now wine… that is a different story.  If you do not want to add beer, substitute beef broth or just leave it out.


Prior to making the soup I made a batch of Homemade Parmesan Croutons.   In 1 cup of oil I added a whole head of garlic that I cut into pieces.  You could also “smash” the garlic to release the flavors.  Allow to sit out overnight, covered; remove the garlic pieces prior to using the oil.

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I use a firm loaf of white bread, cut off the crusts and place on a foil-lined baking sheet.  I brush  the garlic oil on both sides of each bread slice.   Then I cut each slice into cubes.

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Grate a bunch of Parmigiano  Reggiano to have on hand when the hot croutons come out of the oven.  Preheat the oven to 350°F and bake the croutons for 10 minutes, then turn and flip and cook for another 10 minutes or until nicely browned.

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Quickly, and carefully, pick up the foil holding the croutons and place in a paper lunch bag.  Toss in a bunch of freshly grated Parmesan and shake the bag.  Pour out into a bowl until cool.  The croutons need to be refrigerated because of the fresh cheese.

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Win Schuler's Onion Soup

Win Schuler’s Onion Soup:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 lbs. onions, diced (I weigh the onions after I have trimmed and peeled them)
  • 1-1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 6 cups Campbell’s beef broth
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup flour (my recipe called for 3/4 cup but I prefer to use a smaller amount)
  • 3/4 tsp. celery salt
  • 8 oz. dark beer
  • mozzarella/ parmesan/and or swiss
  • homemade croutons

Cook the onions in butter until soft and translucent,  you are not trying to caramelize them.  Stir in paprika, beef stock and bring to a boil.

In a separate pan make a roux by browning the oil and stirring in the flour, you want a rich brown color.  Add to the onion mixture along with the celery salt.  Simmer on low, covered, for 2 hours stirring occasionally so the bottom does not burn.

Prior to serving, add the beer to the soup and allow it to return to serving temperature.  Pour into bowls, add croutons and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese;  broil briefly until cheese starts to brown.

Recipe by 

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You can eat  the soup plain, add some croutons and or some cheese to melt on top of the croutons.  I like the idea of using croutons for the bread instead of one whole piece of bread – a lot easier to eat!

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2 thoughts on “Win Schuler’s Onion Soup with My Homemade Parmesan Croutons

  1. I have the same cookbook! I picked mine up at a garage sale feeling like I just won the lottery! How could anyone sell that at a garage sale is beyond me! I’m glad they did though! 😉 Those croutons like so good! Cheesy good! Love this classic soup recipe today!


  2. Great recipes in their cookbook as I remember the good ole days since I do not get to Marshall for dinner very often. Who could throw out such a historic Michigan cookbook!!! At least you bought it and I am sure for a good price! Nice to know you appreciate our great Michigan restaurants…and history…

    I am trying to figure out their meatball recipe – the one I have and the one in the cookbook are very different! The croutons are good – a sister and stepson eat them as snacks 🙂


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