When looking for a local restaurant scene in the downtown Madison area locals are quick to recommend Atwood Avenue and Willy Street. They are unique, bursting with personality, and offer an abundance of cultural flare.
But there’s a third street that deserves to be added to that list, a street that you often mindlessly drive on while making your way to Madison’s east side, and you don’t even realize the hidden food and drink gems that you’re passing by.
East Johnson Street, just moments from State Street and East Washington Avenue, is one of our favorite (not so new) areas to explore for awesome food and cocktails in the downtown Madison area. Now let us give you 7 reasons why:
A family pizza restaurant run by Patrick DePula, specializing in hand-crafted “tomato pies”. They source their herbs, produce, and cheeses from local farms and provide you with a tasteful pizza that you cannot get anywhere else in Madison.
The fine dining vision of Jonny Hunter, James Beard nominated chef and mastermind behind Underground Collective, Forequarter offers guests a true gastronomic experience. Serving up sustainable, organic foods that are constantly changing and (bonus!) they also offer craft cocktail classes!
Nestled across from homes, Johnson Public House boasts to be a community hot spot serving up deliciously smooth coffee along with breakfast and lunch bites. The light, open atmosphere is decorated with unique art, comfortable seating, and a classic Pac Man machine. Check them out for their themed Story Slam nights that are open to the public.
Consistently voted “Best Latin American Food in Madison” by Madison Magazine, La Taguara provides Madisonians with an insight to Venezuelan and Latin American food that proves to be just as comforting as it is delicious. We highly recommend trying an arepa, a traditional Venezuelan bread made from corn.
Cozy, friendly, and a killer jukebox sums up this 40+ year old tavern. Caribou is known for their “Bou Burger”, said to be one of the juiciest burgers in the Madison area. Grab a tall cool one and sit back and enjoy the classic Wisconsin tavern atmosphere soaking up all of that “midwest niceness” we love so much.
We’ve been spoiled with amazing cocktails when visiting Chicago, so when Chad Vogel opened Robin Room in February 2016, words couldn’t describe our excitement. Whether you’re a scotch neat or a cool mojito kind of drinker, Robin Room’s got you. It’s the kind of bar you want to sit in all night because the drinks and atmosphere are just that good.
You know that when people who love tea have been studying tea for 7 years, they are going to give you something really amazing. Matcha Tea offers simple, consistent varieties of tea that are produced using integrity that are awesome for every day drinking.
Know of other great foodie areas in Madison that deserve some recognition? Shoot us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we’ll be sure to add it to our “must eat here” list!
Photo Credit: Robin Room Bar (http://www.robinroombar.com/)