Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Thursday Thirteen 125: Where to Eat in Madison

Last week I noted thirteen things to do and see in Madison. This week's topic is a spin off of number thirteen, which was Ella's Deli and Ice Cream Parlor. If you want a good place to eat that isn't a national chain and the natives frequent, here are thirteen restaurants worth visiting in Madison.

1. State Street Brats. Bar & Grill. Two levels and a patio. Crazy crowded on game days, but a fun atmosphere any time.

2. Bagels Forever. University Ave. The best place in town for bagels and bagel sandwiches.

3. Mickie's Dairy Bar. Monroe Street, near Camp Randall Stadium. American/Ice Cream/Sandwiches. Bring a huge appetite for breakfast. Really.

4. Essen Haus. German/American cuisine, located on East Wilson St. Wednesday and Friday fish fry, free shuttles to Badger football games, and Oktoberfest coming up on October 3.

5. Gino's Restaurant. Italian/Pizza. Located on State Street, this place has been around forever (okay, since 1962). The family also used to have a more formal restaurant, Gargano's,

6. Parthenon's Gyros. I personally don't care for them, but my sisters love this place.

7. Nitty Gritty, Madison's official birthday bar. Two levels at each of their two locations. Birthday person's get free soda or tap beer. Excellent menu (American/bar food) and a lot of fun, but the downtown location often has a long wait for tables on game days or during other special events at the Kohl Center.

8. Myles Teddywedgers Cornish Pasty. Meat pies. Corner of State Street and the Capitol Square.

9. Paisan's. Italian/Pizza. One block west of Monona Terrace on West Wilson St, a Madison institute since 1950. Voted Madison's best pizza -- need I say more?

10. Nau-ti-gal / Mariner's Inn. Seafood/Steaks. I mention these two together as they are owned by the same family and are across the road from each other. The Nau-ti-gal is a more relaxed, family-friendly atmosphere, while the Mariner's Inn is a bit more upscale. Both are located on the water. They are the only two on my list not located in the downtown area, but if fish is what you're hungry for, these are two of the best places to go. Technically located in Waunakee, they are are on the far north side of Madison.

11. Lombardino's Italian Restaurant & Bar. Italian/Pizza. Casual, friendly atmosphere. This restaurant has been a Madison institution since 1954, and has been under new ownership since 2000. Menu changes often.

12. Great Dane Pub & Brewing Co. American, Bar food, Micro brewery. Corner of East Wilson and King St, a block off the Capitol Square.

13. Chocolate Shoppe. Ice cream. Founded in Madison in 1962. State Street and other locations around the city, and featured in many local restaurants as well. You can now find Chocolate Shoppe ice cream in eleven states.

(Note to Alice: I had intended to include Dotty Dumpling's Dowry, but in verifying links I discovered they have apparently closed. Bummer!)

(Please leave your link if this is your first visit!)

Stephanie Adkins * Mary Quast * Elise Logan * Adelle Laudan
Alice Audrey * Ms Menozzi * Shelley Munro * J-Dawg
Colleen * BrendaND * Hootin' Anni * CM Torrens
Ella Drake * David Bridger * Inez Kelley * Jennifer McKenzie
Sophia Parkwood * Yvette Davis * Jeanne St James * Paige Tyler
Calico Crazy * Flicka Holt * C C * Nicholas * The Bumbles

You can find more Thursday Thirteen participants HERE


Elise Logan said...

Yum! Sounds tasty. We'll have someplace to eat after visiting the zoo.

Heather said...

Exactly! Walking around the zoo on a hot day, or around the down town, can really work up an appetite. *G*

Alice Audrey said...

What? No Dotty Dumplings? Or is the wait too long.

Stephanie Adkins said...

They all sound heavenly! Great list! :)

Ms Menozzi said...

You're like a godsend with this! :)

Thanks so much - even if you are getting me sooooo hungry - and I've hours until lunch! LOL!

Happy TT!

Shelley Munro said...

I wish we had some of these near us. They all sound good to me.

J-Dawg's Realm said...

I have lived in Green Bay for 11 years and have NEVER gotten to Madison (been thru twice but never longer than a trip thru a drive thru) -- now I know where to go when I DO get there :)

Hootin' Anni said...

Awwwwwwwwwww, looks like you saved the best for last!! Anything chocolate sells me instantly.

My Thursday 13 [scroll below my Thursday Thunks] post is now published. It's a fun quiz for you with a PRIZE I made to grab-- if you win!! If you have time....would appreciate your visit. Have a great day.

Anonymous said...

One of these days I'll have to visit Madison just to explore these wonderful 13's you've listed.


Ella Drake said...

Man. I'm already hungry and this doesn't help!

David Bridger said...

Yep, I'm hungry now! :)

Inez Kelley said...

Now I am hungry.

Brenda ND said...

That's it! I really do have to plan a trip to Madison. Grin. Happy TT!

Jennifer McKenzie said...

I keep wanting to get to Madison since my sister lives there.
Now I have a reference guide.
Awesome posts, Heather.

Adelle Laudan said...

Umm, yummy!
Happy T13!

colleen said...

Seems to be a food theme on a number of TT's this week.

Anonymous said...

Wow, all those places sound great! Great list! Happy Thursday!

Heather said...

Alice - Nope, no more Dotty's. When Overture Center was built, they were forced to move from Fairchild St to N. Frances St. I was using the 2009 spring/summer dining guide for website links, but was testing them to verify they work and...when I plugged in the link for Dotty's, it led me to some conglomerate. So I tried Googling them, with the same results. I had not heard of their closing, but that doesn't mean anything as many places closed over the last year due to the economy. And they had the BEST hamburgers!

Heather said...

Stephanie - Hehe...I did warn ya!

Ms M - You're welcome! As I said last week, if you have any Q's, feel free to PM or email me! I've answered tons of questions for Alice, and she used to live here!

Shelley - It has been said that Madison has more restaurants per capita than any other city. We're blessed to have so many great non-chain restaurants.

J-Dawg - How can you not have gotten down to Madison at least once? Hey, I've been to Green Bay - and it wasn't even for a football game!

Heather said...

Anni - Of course, you always save the best for last so you have something to look forward to. NOT that I haven't had a sundae or ice cream from The Chocolate Shoppe for lunch before. I would never! *WEG*

Chris - There is plenty to explore here, food related or otherwise. Which reminds me, I really need to get up to the Farmer's Market before November...

Ella - Mwahahaha... Somehow I'm not feeling a bit sorry. *WG*

David - You should know by now that any time someone tells you to bring your appetite, that means EAT before you read their post. *WEG*

Heather said...

Inez - Saw-ry! Not! *G*

Brenda - Yes, you do. So when are you coming? *G*

Jennifer - Glad to provide you with a reference guide! Isn't that visit long overdue? Hope you and the fam make it up sometimes soon.

Adelle - To say the least! *G*

Colleen - There does, doesn't there? And we didn't even coordinate it!

Sophia - Thanks, they are. And plenty more great places to be found as well!

Paige Tyler said...

Sounds yummy! Especially the Chocolate Shop!


My TT is at

Calico Crazy said...

Yum! Sounds like a lot of great places to eat, so much better than chains and fast food.

Calico Contemplations

Heather said...

Paige - The Chocolate Shoppe is definitely in the "yum" category. And they not only have ice cream, but frozen yogurt and sherbet as well.

Calico - While I like going out to some of the chain restaurants, there is nothing like those home town eateries that have a flavor and ambience all their own.

Flicka Holt said...

Yummy! If I ever go to Madison I know where to go!

Midnight Moon Cafe said...

OMG! You are making me hungry! Ahhhh delish T13, Heather. ((hugs))


Nicholas said...

Good list. I am so very much in favour of eating at places that do not belong to huge, faceless corporations!

The Bumbles said...

Mmmm - I wanna go to Mickie's! But this would have been the week for me to hang at the Nitty Gritty :0)

Heather said...

Flicka - You mean Madison isn't on your itinerary yet?? *G*

CC - Hehe...I aim to torment. Here, have a brownie. ;)

Nicholas - As I said, I don't mind a chain restaurant once in a while, but there's nothing like those good old Mom N' Pop establishments.

Bumbles - Yes, the Nitty Gritty would have been the place for you this week. See, you missed out on your keepsake mug and free drinks! Hope you had a great birthday!

Americanising Desi said...

great great list! sound slike a walk into paradise :D

13 signs he's not into you

J-Dawg's Realm said...

What funny is that I have lived in Wisconsin for 11 years now and have NEVER visited Madison - been thru there a dozen times, but never long enough to stop and see things...and isnt Essenhaus the restaurant with the boot-beer? I want one of those boots!

Thanks for visiting my corner of the world. Hope you will visit again soon :)

Heather said...

JDawg - Yes, Essen Haus has the boot steins. Or did. I imagine they still do. I haven't been there in quite a while, not living on that side of town.