6 Madison Restaurants with Comfort Food Favorites

Comfort food is about more than taste; it’s about making memories –and greater Madison’s food scene is filled with places that will help create that warm and cozy feeling we all crave when cold weather hits. Try some of our comfort food favorites on your next visit!

Captain Bill’s

Whether you choose to cozy up near the indoor fireplace or transport yourself someplace warm with tropical drinks like the Middleton Beach Bomber, Captain Bill’s has you covered. The family-owned waterfront spot has been serving up fresh and filling seafood dinners since 1993.

Dish to Try: Clam Chowder

Visitors to this lakeside spot come for the seafood! Sample the menu by trying a few appetizers: coconut shrimp, crab cakes and a cup of the New England style clam chowder –it’s been featured on Food Network’s Best of Casual Dining.

Essen Haus

Experience German bier, food and fun with an evening at the Essen Haus. The cozy pub offers 16 German beers on tap, traditional cuisine, live polka music, and with staff dressed in dirndls and lederhosen, you’ll instantly feel at home.

Dish to Try: Wurst Teller - Sausage Sampler

Choose from a variety of traditional sausages including Weisswurst, Knackwurst, Thuringer, and Nürnberger served on a bed of sauerkraut. Pair with side dishes like German potato salad, German fried potatoes or spinach spätzle, and a stein of your favorite German beverage!

Hubbard Avenue Diner

Middleton’s Hubbard Avenue Diner is the ultimate classic American diner in an award-winning 1940's design. You’ll find dinner favorites with modern ingredients, like meatloaf and mashed potatoes, as well as innovative sandwiches, salads and entrees.

Dish to Try: Pie

Save room for dessert! Hubbard Avenue Diner is the go-to spot for cookies, cakes and pie. With over 80 varieties available, all pies are made fresh from scratch each day. Add an a la mode slice of French Silk pie to your meal, or take home fall favorites like pumpkin, pecan or cranberry apple pie to share with the family.

The Old Fashioned

This classic Wisconsin tavern is a must-visit during colder months (though we’ll take a side of cheese curds any day of the year.) Dressed up throughout the winter with warm lanterns and lights, the Old Fashioned is a cozy spot on the Capitol Square to grab a Brandy Old Fashioned and some traditional supper club grub.

Dish to Try: The Walleye Sandwich

The walleye sandwich (or walleye and eggs at brunch) is a favorite dish that embodies the warmness of Wisconsin. The sandwich includes a generous piece of beer battered walleye, shredded cabbage, radish and a house-made lemon tartar sauce, served on country bread. Pair with fries, curds, greens or a cup of beer cheese soup.

The Coopers Tavern

Inspired by the travels of its owners, The Coopers Tavern features an outstanding selection of beer from around the world and a menu designed to soothe your soul. The hybrid Irish tavern - Wisconsin pub boasts gorgeous Capitol views and exposed brick walls. Grab a seat at a long table upstairs, or pile into the Snug – a small room that seats 10, and features a pass-through window to the bar.

Dish to try: Poutine

Want to take cheese curds to the next level? Try the poutine. This Canadian classic is a hearty dish featuring crispy Belgian frites topped with melted cheese curds and rich beef gravy. Pair with one of Coopers’ 28 craft beer taps for a late night snack, or order as an appetizer to share with your group.

Short Stack Eatery

This cheerful breakfast spot focuses on fresh and local ingredients, and is located just two blocks from the Capitol Square. Short Stack’s hours are slightly unconventional, and include staying open nonstop from 6 a.m. Saturday until 9 a.m. Sunday – serving breakfast the entire time. 

Dish to Try: Sweet Potato Oatmeal Pancakes

While you can’t go wrong with a delicious Eggs Benedict, opt instead for the Sweet Potato Oatmeal stack. These naturally-sweet pancakes are topped with mascarpone, fresh strawberries and a bit of powdered sugar, with hearty chunks of sweet potato inside the batter. 

Ready to plan your weekend getaway? Head to visitmadison.com for itineraries, attractions and lodging!

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