Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Restaurant Scene in Madison

I am leaving for Paris tomorrow and I want to get out a posting before I go. I will be out of touch for a while.

I refer to Madison's square a lot. When I walk around it, whether it is for a little stroll with the dog or to get somewhere, I am always interested in the commerce around there. I love watching the progress of restaurants as they prepare for their openings.

Here is my latest observation:

Graze is doing well. I recommend it to anyone. Their brunch is superb - I had a chocolate french toast dish (I believe it was sandwiched with nutella). The lunch was amazing - homemade beet veggie burger. (I love beets). Even their lemonade is worth the visit. The best lemonade I have had - no exaggeration. I have only been there for drinks in the evening. I snacked on the truffle oil popcorn and it was delish. Tory Miller, (best) chef and owner said that a lot of people do not realize that everything is homemade - including bread (and I would even guess their butter).

Tory is a chef who you can spot regularly at the farmer's market, shopping for a chunk of ingredients that you will eat at his establishment. What's cooler than seeing a top chef walk through his restaurant with a wagon full of farmer's market produce?

Also in the news, Restaurant Magnus, a classy joint off the square has made a big announcement. They are closing and turning into a casual restaurant that will be "biker friendly." I guess bikers who like to stop for a bite will pull over and stop at the new place. It is closing in January.

Cafe Continental, also a tasty restaurant on King Street will be closing. The family who owns it has been in the business since 1933. Muramoto's group will open it at some point, calling it "43 North". (Love these short names!) It will be the first place the group is opening that will be non-Asian.

I read about nine months ago that a young couple from Chicago is opening a new place in the old Peppino's spot off the square. When asking a valid source, he said that they are opening it - very slowly.

The other interesting looking storefront is the market across from Marigold. It claims it will be a gourmet, down town market with some sort of martini or wine bar? My valid source said he thinks that store will be "a risk" and he also said it is slowly moving forward.

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