At Al's Cafe in the Village, diners get their french toast Hawaiian-style and covered in Cap'n Crunch. Simple twists to classic comfort food like this keep diners on their toes as chefs cook up a menu of Hawaiian-inspired and traditional American eats. Breakfast platters come steaming from the kitchen all day, from five types of eggs benedict with ingredients including house-smoked salmon, to 12 different types of omelets. Afternoon meals include Angus burgers crowned with green chilis, traditional Hawaiian loco moco with hamburger patties on rice, or any of the lengthy menu's 13 sandwiches, including one layered with Carolina turkey breast, fresh pineapple spears, and center-cut bacon. The eatery is eminently kid-friendly, but grownups will be pleased with Al’s selection of beer, wine, and champagne served in glass sippy cups.
A zinc-topped bar snakes along one side of The Continental Fitchburg's dining room, its shimmering metallic surface cool to the touch. Imported from Germany in pieces and retro-fitted by a local metal fabricator, the bar is reminiscent of the traditional zinc bars of the early-20th-century European cafés and bistros that The Continental strives to emulate. Drawing on family recipes, the chefs prepare each dish with fresh and local ingredients, many of which are grown in their onsite garden. Soft lights dangle from the ceiling of the Wi-Fi-saturated dining room, illuminating martini and cocktail glasses alongside plates of upscale Italian fare. A private party room and large outdoor patio host groups of up to 125 people, roughly the same amount that attended the first Tupperware party thrown by Gertrude Stein.
Like many Mexicans, owner Antonio Estrada considers himself a Mestiza, which means that his lineage consists of both European and American Indian people from many different regions. To pay homage to this eclectic heritage, he not only draws upon traditional family recipes from his own family, but from culinary traditions all around Mexico. Using fresh ingredients, the chefs at La Mestiza craft a lineup of classic dishes, including poblano and cheese quesadillas and juicy carne asada steaks. To add to the authenticity, they make their own homemade tortilla chips and tamales the old-fashioned way—forging them in the searing, cauldron-like trumpet bells of ancient Mariachi bands.
The festive dining room’s warm orange and yellow walls serve as roosts for pieces of art, which gaze down at flower-topped tables illuminated by hanging lights.
Dahmen's has all the hallmarks of a classic American pizza parlor: spaces filled with dark, varnished wood, low, warm lights, and piping hot pies covered in cheese, Italian sausage, and pepperoni, sided with icy glasses of draft beer. Kids play games and snack on mini corndogs while their parents cheer on their favorite teams on the array of televisions hanging overhead. Daily lunch buffets include pasta, salad, breadsticks, and pizza, while Friday-night fish frys promise all-you-can-eat dinners of beer-battered cod. In addition to Italian treats of margherita pizzas and meatball subs, Dahmen's dishes out traditional dishes of pure Americana, such as burgers, cheese curds, and deep-fried baseballs.
Situated on the banks of the Yahara River, Bourbon Street Grille brings traditional American flavors to Wisconsin in the form of po boys, jambalaya, and etouffee. The aromas of meat and seafood platters infused with seasonings roll off the outdoor deck and rooftop patio, where diners revel in Louisiana flavors as they watch boats drift past. Inside the dining room, 14 TVs broadcast sports, and pool tables and arcade games mill about waiting to host a friendly competition. River wayfarers can tie their dinghies up in the marina and slip inside for a meal thanks to the restaurant's 13 boat slips and security team comprised of mythical Sirens.
A University of Wisconsin institution, freshly renovated Wando’s tantalizes taste buds with a menu of meaty burgers and savory sandwiches. In between bites, draft beers, cocktails, and the watering hole's signature fishbowls wet whistles, and PBR table-toppers make refilling glasses as convenient as hiding behind the keg. The sports-centric bar solidifies its allegiance to the University of Wisconsin with red-and-white décor and by showering UW students with free bacon and unlimited oxygen on Tuesday nights.