We Love Food Carts
Our food cart craving can finally be satisfied--thanks to warm weather and of course, yummy offerings.
Finally, Madison is in the midst of beautiful warm weather. So why should we stick to the same indoor dining routine? Ditch the monotony of the waitress and tablecloth scene and make the city of Madison your new dining destination. Local food carts provide cuisines from all over the world to enjoy at the Terrace, Library Mall or any of your other favorite places around our beautiful city.
It's difficult to resist stopping by the Buraka food cart—especially when the smell of their East African spices lure you from the other end of State Street. Their menu offers a variety of authentic Ethiopian dishes with strong aromas and even stronger flavors served on rice or injera. Order their dorowot, chicken and carrots in a spicy sauce, or try the baris, Somali curry chicken served with lentils and rice. Vegetarians, be sure to taste their vegetarian peanut stew made with mild peanut sauce, cauliflower, carrots and potatoes.
Library Mall. Mon-Fri, 11a–2:30p.
Though it's surrounded by vendors for the average meat-eater, The Dandelion is still a favorite amongst Library Mall pedestrians. This all-vegetarian food cart offers menu items that people of any diet will crave. In the spirit of summer, try their take on BBQ with the Texas-style BBQ tofu made of thick slabs of tofu marinated in spicy barbecue sauce and served with black beans, collard greens, sweet potatoes, peppers and onions. If you’re looking for something a bit lighter, try their oatmeal served with raw oats, raisins, dried apples, maple syrup and soy milk—but don’t forget to grab a homemade peanut butter cup for dessert!
Library Mall. Mon–Fri, 10:30a–2:30p.
There are many reasons to look forward to the weekend—including the famous crepes from Ingrid’s Lunchbox. A staple at the Saturday Farmers' Market, this food cart serves breakfast at its finest. They provide a list of eighteen fresh ingredients to choose from for your own crepe invention, or you can choose from any of their tasty menu items. Be sure to try their homestead cornmeal crepe (stuffed with scrambled eggs, black beans, salsa, sour cream, and pepper jack or cheddar cheese) or, if you're looking to satisfy your sweet tooth, get the apple crisp crepe with fresh-baked apple crisp and heavy whipped cream.
Capitol Square. Sat, 6a–1p. ingslunchbox.com
For those in dire need of a vacation add some Caribbean cuisine to an otherwise flavorless routine. Jamerica’s food cart offers a variety of authentic Jamaican fare served with red beans and rice. Order their tasty mango rundown tofu or their simple, yet fiery, jerk chicken. If you really want to break away from a typical American lunch, order something from their drink menu! Jamaican specialties include Jamaican ginger punch, tin, champagne kola, ginger beer and pineapple soda.
Library Mall. Mon–Fri, 11a–2:30p. jamericarestaurant.com
Monty’s Blue Plate Diner
With eleven different sandwich options on their menu, the Monty’s Blue Plate Diner food cart is the place to go to get your deli lunch fix. They offer everything from the basics, like a grilled cheese or chicken salad sandwich, to more elaborate sammies. If you dare, try their TNT B.L.T., a spicy rendition of the classic BLT made with vegetarian bacon (roasted strips of tempeh) marinated in soy, roasted fennel, and cumin seed and served up on jalapeno-cheddar cheese bread with cumin-chipotle mayo. When you’re craving breakfast, Monty’s offers their breakfast sandwich (a baguette with cheese and apple), donuts, or a bagel and cream cheese all day long.
Library Mall. Mon–Fri, 8a–2p. montysblueplatediner.com
When the weather is hot, Natural Juice is the place to go to cool off. Their smoothies and juices are made from only fresh ingredients, and everything on the menu is under $5. Try their Rise ’N Raspberry smoothie (raspberries, bananas, orange juice and raspberry yogurt) or taste their Hawaiian Holiday smoothie (orange juice, coconut milk, banana, strawberries, mango and yogurt). If you’re feeling a bit adventurous, choose from a list of over twenty-five ingredients to make your own juice concoction. They offer the basic items including strawberries, blackberries, and oranges, but they also offer exotic ingredients such as sour-sops, dragon fruits and jackfruits.
Library Mall. Daily, 9:30a-7p.
Lindsay Newton is an editorial intern with Madison Magazine.