An institution with sports fans and locals since 1946, this neighborhood diner is a throw-back to past days. Short-order cooking produces fantastic burgers, and malts are a house specialty. Breakfast, especially, draws in folks, including UW athletes. They come for enormous pancakes or scramblers, which are eggs stirred up with meat, served over fried potatoes and topped with melted cheese and brown gravy. (Make sure you've got an active day planned!) Food's affordable, and seating is at the counter or in booths. Breakfast is served all day.
Located at street level in the estimable L'Etoile restaurant building, this cafe has been a godsend according to those local folks who appreciate European-style bakeries and incredible pastries. House-baked goods include croissants, gougeres, cakes, breads, and pain au chocolat. Sweet and savory options are both available, and you'll also find gourmet sandwiches and soups. Ingredients for the cafe foods come from the Farmers' Market, and when it's open on Saturday mornings, space can get tight. Still, don't let that deter you from indulging in some of the city's best light fare.
Folks in Madison just can't get enough of Michael's super-premium ice cream, which ups the butterfat content for maximum flavor and texture. No, it's not low-cal, but if you're going to indulge, why do it half-heartedly? The stuff is served fresh and is crafted in small batches of goodness. Plus, it's so thick that it holds a spoon up on its own. Vanilla and chocolate are always available, along with a few changing flavors, and if you want food to accompany your treat, Michael's also serves burgers and fries. There's even specially-formulated ice cream for dogs!
Homemade foods crafted with wonderful ingredients earn kudos at this terrific eatery, and the crowds that gather to sample Marigold's tasty fare are tangible confirmation of its quality. Sunny environs please folks who dig into blueberry pancakes, omelets, crab-and-asparagus frittatas, poached eggs with prosciutto, French toast, and gourmet egg sandwiches. Baked goods such as muffins, scones, cakes, and their much-touted chocolate-covered coconut macaroons are also decadent treats. Lunch is fantastic, too.
Owned and run by a husband-wife team, this coffee house attracts a varied clientele, especially folks who appreciate the causes held dear by the owners. Something of an alternative venue, Mother Fool's hosts local musicians and performers and displays art by locals as well. The place also supports community involvement and serves all-vegan treats such as cookies, muffins, scones, bagels, samosas, and brownies. Coffee drinks and juices figure in too, and all the coffees are organically-grown.
Exhibiting the laid-back ambience and artistic penchant nurtured by the best coffeehouses, Michelangelo's greets patrons with a warm welcome and an invitation to sink back into a sofa and nurse a fragrant cuppa. The place is a fantastic State Street destination, and if you've got time to spare, it's ideal for just hanging out, reading, chatting, or the like. A menu of light fare heads off the munchies and promises an energy boost for the next stage of the day.
Quirky, fun, and individualistic, this one-of-a-kind cafe is the creative offspring of local culinary figure, Janie Capito. Eminently comfortable and perfect for a relaxing meal, Lazy Jane's offers both dining and lounge areas, set with sculpture and artistic touches. At breakfast, patrons can choose from coffee and baked goods (cakes, cookies, scones) or more substantial dishes that marry tradition with innovation (eggs, bacon, hash). Lunchtime offerings include fabulous sandwiches, soups, and salads.
Located on the university campus, this enterprise is affiliated with UW-Madison and serves as a practical learning experience for certain of its students. Ice creams and cheeses produced by the university are renowned for their flavor and quality, and you'll often see folks tackling a multi-scoop cone in absolute bliss. A number of recipes are standards (chocolate peanut butter, orange custard, chocolate chip), and monthly innovations also appear (tiramisu, cotton candy, rootbeer float). Make sure not to let this one slip by untested. And they're open year-round, so summer visitors won't miss out!