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.
The story of Dickey’s Barbecue Pit stretches back to 1941, when the Dallas restaurant served only brisket, ham, beans, chips, and drinks. Now, though the menu might have changed—it now boasts sausages infused with spicy cheddar, pulled pork, and pork ribs—the underlying mission of authentic, pit-smoked meats remains the same. Additionally, the restaurant sweetens meals with complimentary ice cream.
My Buddies Bar is more than a place to grab a drink and some grub; it's also a gathering space. Here, gaggles of friends come together to click glasses of domestic brews, share pizzas or baskets of cheese curds, and dig into hearty barbecue and steaks. In addition to wraps and sandwiches, the cooks sizzle burgers, such as the Buddie burger—slathered in barbecue sauce and piled high with shredded beef and onion straws—and sear sesame tuna. Inside the split-level dining room, a higher counter perches above rows of booths and tables, where revelers can catch multiple games on five large-screen projectors. Pool tables host bouts of friendly competition, and live bands serenade audiences with covers of the Golden Girls theme song.
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.
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).