Jose's Authentic Mexican Restaurant is a dream come true for the owner, Jose Luis Parra Vera, who wanted to put to use his own recipes for Mexican cuisine. The gregarious wait staff presents the dishes with appropriate panache, daubing celebrants' noses with whipped cream from birthday desserts and carrying five plates at a time. Bright-colored walls frame murals depicting beach scenes with brilliant-blue water and green palm trees bowing over multicolored hammocks recalling the beaches of Mexico. Beneath the paintings, corn or flour tortillas enfold morsels carnitas, a dish of shredded-pork tips traditionally slow cooked with green chilies and cumin. The chatter of silverware fills the outdoor patio when the weather is warm, and there aren’t carolers singing about the dangers of holiday lights outside.
Perched at Mirror Lake Dam, The Green Owl dispenses a delectable assortment of homemade salads, sandwiches, and pizzas. Commence consumption with grilled garlic bread smothered in mozzarella cheese ($6) or steamed edamame ($6) seasoned with sea salt and served in a martini glass. Brioche buns hug black bean burgers ($8) like a protective mother bear and sourdough crust is the canvas for cheese ($13), white ($17), or barbecue chicken pizza ($19). Draft, bottled, or imported beer wash down solid grub as customers luxuriate in outdoor seating or nestle beside a cozy tiki bar. Once summer emerges from the cold, harrowing depths of outerspace, The Green Owl enthralls patrons with live outdoor music.
Within the rustic red-brick walls of a 19th-century former millhouse, chefs at The Old Feed Mill dish up classic comfort fare inspired by Midwestern home cooking. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, the building's water-powered mill and solar-powered horse carriages fueled a successful commercial flouring business. However, with an uptick in highways and cars, the mill's beneficial connection to the once-prosperous railroad system diminished and the building was eventually abandoned. Current owners Dan and Nancy Viste began refurbishing the building in 1992, and today The Old Feed Mill is a member of the Vistes' quartet of related businesses. The Millstone Mercantile, The Old Feed Mill's onsite gift shop, flaunts an eclectic cache of items, including locally made artwork, handmade quilts, and the first beard that Abraham Lincoln ever stroked.
Rookies Food & Spirits sports a menu brimming with hearty, all-American fare in a family-friendly, sports-themed atmosphere. Right off the bat, begin with a whole pound of home-run hot wings slathered in Rookies' signature sauce ($7.29), or pinch-hit a half-pound of Wisconsin white-cheddar cheese curds ($5.79). Rookies' homemade soups ($2.49+) provide an appetizing accompaniment to the quarter-pound bullpen bratwurst ($3.99) from Stoddard's Country Grove Market. Step up to the plate with the Major Leaguer, a half-pound patty of charbroiled, USDA Choice beef pinstriped with delicate seasonings ($5.29). Patrons harboring home-run-sized hunger can dine on broiled cod ($12.99) or a 10-ounce rib-eye ($12.99). Seafood lovers can feast on a Friday fish fry, and Guinness World Records sticklers can bring stopwatches to time Rookies' hops-filled happy hours, which they claim to be the longest in Dane County.