Voted one of Madison Magazine's Best New Restaurants of 2010, this down-home eatery delivers a menu loaded with barbecue-style southern savories and a deluge of draft and bottled beers. Customers will have to discard their dog’s squeaky toys at the door to keep mum about the menu's hush-puppies appetizer, a stack of southern-fried cornmeal fritters served with spicy mayo ($6.99). Diners can also dive into a legume-laden vegetable sandwich, packed with grilled portabella mushrooms, broccoli-forest-fire-roasted roma tomatoes, smoked gouda, and herb-infused garlic spread ($7.99), or beckon a rack of Brickhouse ribs, slow cooked in the St. Louis style and smothered in a signature spice blend ($19.99). The brisket sandwich sports Texas-style meat smoked in-house under a mound of melted pepper-jack cheese and onion strings ($8.99), while the southern catfish appeases anglers with a blackened or cornmeal-dusted, pan-fried filet coupled with corn-poblano relish and spicy mayo ($11.99).
The distance from Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, to anywhere in Germany is vast, to say the least, and includes a trip over the Atlantic Ocean. But Schwefel's Restaurant—plopped right in between Madison and Milwaukee—cuts out lengthy travels and potential run-ins with hang-gliding sea monsters. Inside Schwefel's, the scents of sauerbraten and wiener schnitzel float amid cherry-red tablecloths in the understated dining area. Familiar American dishes, such as lobster and prime rib, share table space with German house specialties, such as the beef rouladen, a fusion of rolled beef, pickle, bacon, and onion. Regardless of the food's origin, Schwefel's makes each dish from scratch—right down to the soups and dressings. Though Schwefel's Restaurant is no stranger to formal dinners, a more casual bar area entertains patrons with arcade games and sports broadcasts.
Riverside dishes up a delectable menu of American favorites and handcrafted beverages against the backdrop of the Milwaukee River's placid flow. Feast on a fleet of specialty sandwiches, including a quartet of grilled paninis teeming with tasty portobello, prime rib, or tuscan chicken ($8.95–$10.95) and a saucy slew of barbecue baby back ribs lounging with fresh veggies on a grilled kaiser roll ($8.95). Carnivorous patrons can sink mouth swords into a lean petite sirloin filet ($15.95) or savor a cluster of skewered tequila-lime shrimp grilled in butter ($18.95). A crab and lobster ravioli bursting with crab mousse, drawn butter, and a charming bouquet of fresh herbs courts a shy blush alfredo bedecked in a ravishing parmesan crumble ($24.95).
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.
Daring and conservatively-palated patrons alike will find enticing eats on a menu that is both eclectic and classically minded. Discover the joy of deep fried pickles ($3.99) before setting your teeth upon a BLT on marble rye ($8.99) or a Southwestern three bean burger ($8.50), served with pico de gallo, guacamole and chipotle sour cream on a ciabatta bun. Dinnertime diners will delight with the Pasta Talula ($14.99), which combines linguine, asiago cheese and herbs relying on select mushroom buoys to stay afloat in a bath of white wine cream sauce. Blackened grill lines create gullet-ready graphs for pre-meal tic-tac-toe on an 8oz honey glazed bone-in pork chop ($15.99), grilled to your preference and served with honey balsamic glaze and mildly spicy mango salsa over a bed of dirty rice. Chicken fingers ($5.95) and mac and cheese ($4.95) are available for generous children treating their parents to a night out. Late-morning Sunday visitors can feast upon classics such steak and eggs ($13.99) with a 6oz grilled steak, two eggs and homefries; or three fluffy buttermilk flapjacks ($6.99) served with bacon or sausage. Recommended wine pairings are provided for pasta and entrée dishes and the bar provides a bountiful selection of mixed drinks, local beers and seasonal microbrews for stimulating thirst satiation.
Lucky’s satisfies appetites for pub fare and sports with a lunch and dinner menu and 50 televisions broadcasting all major sports packages from above a dark wood bar. Patrons can commence flavor explorations with six wings, which cooks toss with a choice of buffalo, barbecue, or garlic-parmesan sauce ($6.99), before strapping one to each shoulder to attract newly single griffins ($6.99). For the Wild West burger, grillmasters herd a beef patty and strips of applewood-smoked bacon onto a fresh kaiser roll smothered with barbeque sauce, grilled onions, and cheddar cheese ($6.99). As parents masticate on the sauerkraut-filled Regent Street reuben ($7.49), pint-sized palates can step up to bat with the minor leaguer’s menu and punt a slider hamburger into a side of fries or applesauce ($2.95).