Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Great Madison Burger Challenge: brought to you

I've posted about hamburgers once before, but it's a topic I will happily rehash time and time again. I am an unrepentant carnivore. I can appreciate vegetarianism from an intellectual point of view. I understand some of the health benefits of a veggie diet. I can also appreciate vegetarian cuisine when it's done right. Indians and Greeks have had thousands of years to perfect their all vegetable dishes and they do them well. Vegans, on the other hand...

...that's for another post.

Let's get back to burgers, shall we? Madison has surprised me in that I am not lacking for choices in the tasty burger department. We have chains here, same as anywhere else, (Culver's Butterburgers started not too far from here in Sauk City, WI) but Madison has a fair number of local places, restaurants and bars, that serve a good to great burger. I've tried most of them. Now, I'm going to try them all.

This coming week, I will start my Great Madison Burger Challenge. I am going to make up a list of restaurants and bars to find the best burger in town and report my findings here. If it is a place I haven't been to before, I will go more than once before writing about it. I have a list in my head that I'll write down here. If I am missing anyone's favorite burger joint, feel free to offer your suggestions to me. I do have two caveats: no fast food burgers. This includes Culver's. There will be a few chains on my list, but fast food burgers, after all is said and done, simply don't measure up to the standards I have for a truly great burger, so they will be avoided. And, all bars and restaurants must be within Madison city limits. No suburbs.

Here's my current off-the-top-of-my-head list:

Dotty Dumplings Dowry
AJ Bombers
Weary Traveler
Plaza Tavern and Grill
Five Guys Burgers
Harmony Bar and Grill
Blue Moon Bar and Grill
Old Fashioned
Cooper's Tavern
The Great Dane

Again, if I'm missing anywhere you find to have an awesome burger, please let me know.


  1. Sweet project! Suggestions: Brothers Three, Carnival's, City Bar, Quivey's Grove Stable Bar, Sweeney's Oakcrest, Tony Frank's, Wilson's, Village Bar.

    Re: Graze: do you think you'll go for the Graze Burger or the pub one?

  2. O'Grady's, Fat Sandwich Co.(Doughnut cheeseburger, mmm), Quaker Steak and Lube (I've had good experiences with their Mustang burger).


  3. Oh! and Fountain (122 State St.) Way under the radar, possibly struggling, but shouldn't be. Way better than the average downtown brewgastropubcantina.

  4. Caribou Tavern on East Wash.

  5. Sorry, Caribou is on East Johnson St.

  6. No worries, Lila. I've been to the 'bou a few times, though I never have eaten there. I will certainly add it to the list. I've heard good things about their burgers from multiple sources.