A Seasonal Guide to Madison’s Local Food Scene
No matter the season, there’s a never-ending supply of culinary events, tempting epicurean shops and new restaurants to try in Madison. Whether you’re looking for a bite or a feast, here are some ways to enjoy Madison’s food scene to the fullest.
Bites & Brews
For the past three years, the Alliant Energy Center has played host to an impressive craft beer festival known as Madison on Tap. Breweries from far and wide present samples of more than 180 beers, traveling from California, Oregon and Hawaii, and several Wisconsin breweries will share the spotlight as well: Ale Asylum, Wisconsin Brewing Company and more.
This is just one of the ways Madison curates a craft beer culture. For more can’t-miss beer and beverage fests, visit our Culinary Calendar.
Madison is well-known for its breweries, distilleries and wineries, not unlike the Emerald Isle. St. Patrick’s Day isn’t complete without a pint and an Irish dish, like a Corned Beef Reuben from the Avenue Club and the Bubble Up Bar. At Great Dane Pub & Brewing Co., you’ll find the Emerald Isle Stout, dark, frothy and distinctively Irish. The restaurant has menu specials on St. Paddy’s Day, too. Or, head to Sprecher’s Restaurant & Pub for a classic Irish meal, like corned beef and cabbage or Shepherd’s Pie.
Put on by the Madison Area Chefs Network, Chef Week was made for the epi-curious. From March 5-12, area chefs trade kitchens, combine menus and participate in some healthy competition. The week includes over 15 events—a vegan dinner, a late-night BBQ, a tapas brunch and more, and MACN also hosts Yum Yum Fest in late summer.
Winter (and Spring) Warm-Ups
With temperatures averaging in the low 50s in March and April, it’s the ideal time to soothe the soul with a great cup of coffee from one of Madison’s many cafés. The Café at the Edgewater features beautiful views from the popular hotel and specializes in sweet pastries and get-up-and-go espresso drinks. At Ancora Coffee & Tea, try an in-house made coffee, featuring Con Panna espresso and steamers, all served in a space that showcases local artists. Aldo’s Cafe is a favorite on the UW-Madison campus. Grab a Dirty Chai Latte or a Blood Orange Hibiscus tea, along with a cup of the White Bean Stew or a Farro and Kale salad.
On March 14, math enthusiasts the world over celebrate National Pi Day, which honors the “pi” symbol. Middleton’s Hubbard Avenue Diner & Bakery has a different take on the holiday, reveling in their renowned “pie” instead. They sell slices that day at $3.14 each, or if you wear a Hubbard Avenue T-shirt, it’s on the house. They offer a dizzying number of made-from-scratch flavors, like Mississippi Mud, Red Velvet and Blackberry Sour Cream.