Grazing Where the Grass is Greener
What’s for Dinner?
Atlantis Taverna in Sun Prairie has a homey, mom-and-pop vibe and exemplifies how ethnic diversity is spreading to the ’burbs.
1855 Saloon & Grill in Cottage Grove, housed in a historic landmark, produces distinctive pizzas from a wood-burning oven. Bistro 101 in Mt. Horeb has heaps of uptown ambience and a modern Mediterranean menu. Bean Sprouts Café in Middleton caters just to kids with a unique, fun and healthy menu as well as freshly made organic baby food to go. Heritage and tradition abound at The Continental Fitchburg—proprietors Jim and Jenny Schiavo are the fourth generation in their family to run a restaurant. Sophistication evidently does thrive outside the city limits.
Fosdals Home Bakery in Stoughton touts rich Scandinavian cookies with unpronounceable names and lefsa—Norway’s answer to the tortilla. But, the all-American double chocolate donuts inspire cult-like devotion. Located in Fitchburg but continents away is La Concha where longtime restaurateur Tomas Ballesta sells Mexican baked goods and other Latin specialties. The long list of massive, made-to-order sandwiches come piled high on the bakery’s fine cemita rolls or torta bread.
Best of the ’Wurst
One cannot live by bread alone and at Bavaria Sausage … well, the name says it all. Germany doesn’t seem very far away when confronting all of the different Old World meats and delicacies in this shop situated between Madison and Verona. The only thing better than all that ’wurst is their double smoked bacon.
Swiss-trained Markus Candinas set out to make the finest chocolates available anywhere and does just that at Candinas Chocolatier in Verona. His collection of handcrafted confections created from the finest ingredients garnered a Consumer Reports “Best Buy” recommendation.
Need mustard? The Mustard Museum in Mount Horeb (Ed's note: The Mustard Museum has moved to Middleton) has more than 4,600 jars, bottles and tubes of the stuff with nearly five hundred varieties for sale. Come August 2—National Mustard Day—Mt. Horeb becomes the epicenter for an ode to the world’s favorite condiment. However, the grandmother of all Wisconsin food celebrations is the Sun Prairie Sweet Corn Festival, anticipated by vegetarians and carnivores alike. This year it returns to Angell Park on August 14–17.
It’s no boast that the Dane County Farmers’ Market has a global reputation for some of the best locally produced agricultural products. Depending on where you live, you might want to think even more local. Several communities host their own farmers’ markets, including Belleville, Fitchburg, McFarland, Middleton, Monona, Mt. Horeb, Oregon, Stoughton, Sun Prairie and Waunakee.
Whatever your opinion about suburbia, when it comes to good eating there seems to be a whole lot happening out there. Clearly, it’s no longer just about backyard barbecues and trips to the Burger Queen.
Dan Curd is a contributing writer and blogger for Madison Magazine.