Wisconsin Proud! The Old Fashioned Tavern & Restaurant in Madison

On Capitol Square in Madison, Wisconsin, you’ll find theThe Old Fashioned Tavern & Restaurant. The subtitle, if that word is appropriate for a restaurant name, is Where Wisconsin is King. Indeed, they expressly note that they serve Wisconsin fare (it’s on the logo). Given my interests in local foods and, more importantly, my incredible, pregnancy-like1 craving for a real burger with real meat and real cheese, it’s no surprise that I ended up lunching at The Old Fashioned.


This image comes from the restaurant’s website.

Menu items at The Old Fashioned live and breathe the Badger State. According to their website , the restaurant “exists to pay tribute to the foods and spirits that make [their] state famous.” Well, a lot of Wisconsin food SHOULD be famous—it’s delicious! Anyway, they feature local cheeses, meats, beers and other drinks. This place is truly a gustatory homage to the growers and producers of Wisconsin foods!

So, what did I have? Well clearly, a burger was in order. I opted for the No. 30, The Old Fashioned House Burger (the numbers refer to all menu items, not just burgers). A grilled burger with fried onions, hickory-smoked bacon, aged Wisconsin cheddar cheese, garlic sauce, and, to gild this meat lily, a fried egg. This was not exactly the neatest thing to eat, but I didn’t care. If I wanted a dainty, twee lunch, I’d have ordered something else (or even gone elsewhere). Besides, it’s a restaurant. They have napkins. They will even give you more of them if you use up the ones you have. As far as the side, I opted for the fries instead of the salad (I was on vacation!). Anyway, this kept me quite satisfied until dinner and fortified me for my trip to the National Mustard Museum later that day.

The Old Fashioned doesn’t take reservations, instead working on a first-come, first-served basis. Fine with me. I had an early lunch (around 11:30) and the wait time for a table was about 30-40 minutes or I could get seated at the bar immediately, which I chose to do. And I don’t have pictures of that fabulous burger, so instead I’ll link to a post on Serious Eats about this very same burger (written by someone equally enamored of it as I was). The Old Fashioned—seriously Wisconsin, seriously good.

1I’m childfree by choice, but this craving was so strong that I can only imagine it would rival that of a pregnant woman, based on conversations with friends of mine who do have kids.


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