Best of Madison

Best of Madison 2015

The 34th annual readers' poll

Food & Drink

Who’s hungry? We are, all the time, and that’s why this category is so crucial. Sure, we all have our go-to restaurants and bars, but when it’s time to choose the spot for a romantic date, festive celebration or lazy weekend meal, it’s helpful to know what others think is tops. You consider Harvest andL’Etoile consistently stellar (taking gold and silver in Best Restaurant), and your love for the Old Fashioned knows no bounds. But you’re also impressed by newcomer Cento (who wins for Ambience and Chef). And just when it seems local favorites are perennial winners, you surprise us. So we’ll see you soon at Ladonia Café for the vegan BLT, this year’s top-ranking sandwich.

AMBIENCE
Eno Vino Wine Bar and Bistro
Cento
Weary Traveler Freehouse

ARTISAN FOOD PRODUCER
Underground Meats
Quince & Apple
Hook’s Cheese Company

BAKERY – BREAD
Madison Sourdough
Batch Bakehouse
Stella’s

BAKERY –  SWEETS
Cupcakes A-Go-Go
Greenbush Bakery
Batch Bakehouse

BBQ
Fat Jacks Barbecue
Smoky Jon’s #1 BBQ
Double S BBQ

BEST RESTAURANT
Harvest
L’Etoile
DLUX

BLOODY MARY
Short Stack Eatery
The Old Fashioned
DLUX

BREAKFAST
Marigold Kitchen
Bassett Street Brunch Club
Hubbard Avenue Diner

BREWERY/BREWPUB
Ale Asylum
New Glarus Brewing Co.
The Great Dane Pub & Brewing Co.

BRUNCH
The Great Dane Pub & Brewing Co.
Short Stack Eatery
The Old Fashioned
BURGER
BLUE MOON BAR & GRILL
DOTTY DUMPLING’S DOWRY
THE OLD FASHIONED

BUTCHER
Conscious Carnivore
Underground Butcher
Jacobson Bros Quality Meats & Deli

CHEESE PRODUCER
Carr Valley Cheese Company
Hook’s Cheese Company
Sassy Cow Creamery

CHEF
Michael Pruett, Cento
Tory Miller, L’Etoile, Graze and Sujeo
David Heide, Liliana’s

CHINESE
Imperial Garden – West
Hong Kong Cafe
Umami Ramen & Dumpling Bar

CHOCOLATE
DB Infusion Chocolates
Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier
Chocolaterian Cafe

COCKTAIL
Old Fashioned, The Old  Fashioned
Old Fashioned, Dorf Haus Supper Club
Steep Clifton, Merchant

COFFEE ROASTERS
Ancora Coffee Roasters
Barriques
Just Coffee Cooperative

COFFEE SHOP
Ancora Coffee Roasters
Barriques
Colectivo Coffee

ETHNIC GROCERY STORE
Fraboni’s
Gino’s Italian Deli
Asian Midway Foods

FARMERS’ MARKET (Other Than Dane County Farmers’ Market)
Hilldale Farmers’ Market
Monona Farmers’ Market
Westside Community Farmers' Market

FISH FRY
Crawfish Junction
The Old Fashioned
Dorf Haus Supper Club

FOOD CART
Banzo
Curd Girl
Good Food and Slide (TIE for 3rd)

GLUTEN-FREE FRIENDLY
Ladonia Café
Bloom Bake Shop
jacs Dining and Tap House

GREASY SPOON
Mickies Dairy Bar
Monty’s Blue Plate Diner
The Curve

GROCERY STORE
Metcalfe’s Market
Woodman’s Food Market
Willy Street Co-op

ICE CREAM/CUSTARD/GELATO
Babcock Hall Dairy Store
Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream
Culver’s

INDIAN/NEPALESE
Swagat
Himal Chuli
Maharaja

ITALIAN
Lombardino’s
Café Porta Alba
Cento

JAPANESE/SUSHI
Sushi Muramoto
RED Sushi
Restaurant Muramoto

KID-FRIENDLY
Ella’s Deli and Ice Cream Parlor
The Old Fashioned
Roman Candle Pizzeria

KID’S MENU
The Old Fashioned
Hubbard Avenue Diner
Ella’s Deli and Ice Cream Parlor

LAKE VIEW
Sardine
Paisan’s
Mariner’s Inn

LATIN AMERICAN
Inka Heritage
La Taguara
Crandall’s

MEDITERRANEAN/MIDDLE EASTERN
Banzo
Mediterranean Cafe
Bunky’s Café

MEXICAN/SOUTHWESTERN
Pasqual’s
Eldorado Grill
Taqueria Guadalajara

NEW AMERICAN
Bonfyre American Grille
Harvest
Graze

NEW ORLEANS/CAJUN
New Orleans Take-Out
Liliana’s Restaurant
Louisianne’s Etc.

NEW RESTAURANT
OSS Madison
Cento
Bassett Street Brunch Club

OUTDOOR DINING
Sprecher’s Restaurant & Pub
The Great Dane Pub & Brewing Co.
Paisan’s

PIZZA
Glass Nickel Pizza Co.
Café Porta Alba
Ian’s Pizza

RESTAURANT WITH THE BEST SERVICE
Harvest
Dorf Haus Supper Club
DLUX

SANDWICH
Vegan BLT, Ladonia Café
Grilled Cheese, Cheesemelt Café
Pulled Pork, Tap Room at Hawks Landing

SEAFOOD
Sardine
Joey's Seafood & Grill
Tempest Oyster Bar

SOUTHEAST ASIAN
Sa-Bai Thong
Lao-Laan Xang
Ha Long Bay

SPECIALTY FOOD STORE
Brennan’s Market
Willy Street Co-op
Fromagination

STEAKHOUSE
Tornado Steak House
Johnny Delmonico’s
Delaney’s Steaks and Seafood

SUPPER CLUB
The Old Fashioned
Tornado Steak House
Dorf Haus Supper Club

UPSCALE DINING
L’Etoile
Harvest
Cento

VEGETARIAN FRIENDLY
The Green Owl Café
Harvest
Ladonia Café

WINE & SPIRITS
Steve’s Wine, Beer & Spirits
Woodman’s Food Market
Barriques

Nightlife

Even more important than a good drink is a great place to enjoy it. Fresco offers gorgeous views along with its seasonal cocktails and Plan B’s the hotspot to dance the night away. But Madison’s also a place where humble spots shine. Neighborhood taverns and dives practically guarantee you’ll see some familiar faces when you walk through the door, and cozy beer bars and lively happy hours are ideal spots for escaping the cold—and likely making some new friends before the night’s over. But if you simply must have a drink at home instead, your fellowMadisonians recommend a bottle of local Spotted Cow, Hopalicious or Fantasy Factory. Cheers!

BAR FOR BEER
The Coopers Tavern and The Old Fashioned (TIE for 1st)
The Malt House
Brasserie V

BAR FOR COCKTAILS
Merchant
Dorf Haus Supper Club
Opus Lounge

BAR WITH A VIEW
Fresco
Graze and Sardine (TIE for 2nd)
Memorial Union Terrace

BARTENDER
Dan Richards, Nitty Gritty
Steve Renfro, High Noon Saloon
Justin Heinkel, Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse

CRAFT BEER
Spotted Cow, New Glarus Brewing Co.
Hopalicious, Ale Asylum
Fantasy Factory, Karben4

DANCE VENUE
Plan B
Madison’s
The Cardinal Bar and The Majestic Theatre (TIE for 3rd)

DIVE BAR
Caribou Tavern
Paradise Lounge
Mickey’s Tavern

FIRST DATE
DLUX
Eno Vino Wine Bar and Bistro
Weary Traveler Freehouse and Natt Spil (TIE for 3rd)

GAY BAR
Plan B
Shamrock Bar & Grille
FIVE Nightclub

HAPPY HOUR
Pedro’s Mexican Restaurante
Varsity Bar & Grill
Genna’s Lounge

HOTEL BAR
HotelRED
Edgewater Hotel (The Statehouse)
Madison Concourse Hotel (The Bar)

LATE NIGHT FOOD
Ian’s Pizza
Short Stack Eatery
DLUX

LIVE MUSIC VENUE
High Noon Saloon
The Majestic Theatre
Memorial Union

NEIGHBORHOOD BAR
Mid Town Pub
Laurel Tavern
Tony Frank’s Tavern

SPORTS BAR
Nitty Gritty
Jordan’s Big 10 Pub
Coliseum Bar & Banquet

WINE BAR
Eno Vino Wine Bar and Bistro
Cento
Liliana’s Restaurant

Arts & Entertainment

You’re never without something fun to do in Madison. And by something fun, we mean exciting, eclectic and quite possibly world-renowned music, art and entertainment. Our cultural scene shines because your tastes are so diverse. Maybe you’ll pop by an art gallery one afternoon and catch a movie another. Perhaps you’ll spend an evening in a world that American PlayersTheatre or Forward Theater creates on stage, or get swept away by the music of the Jimmys, Tony Castañeda or the Beat Chefs. But you’re not limited to galleries and theaters. Your favorite radio and TV personalities, blogs and websites keep you culturally clued in across the city and around the clock.

ART GALLERY
Olbrich Botanical Gardens
Overture Galleries
Hatch Art House

BEST TWEETER
Katie Austin @madisontraffic
Michelle Li @MichelleLiTV
Teri Barr @TeriBarrMedia

COMEDY GROUP
Atlas ImprovT
The Monkey Business Institute
The Rabid Badger Theatre Company

COVER BAND
The Beat Chefs
5th GEAR
Universal Sound Dance Band

KIDS ENTERTAINMENT
Young Shakespeare Players
The Monkey Business Institute
Funny Faces Children’s Entertainment

LOCAL ACTOR
Sarah Day
Sam D. White
James Ridge

LOCAL BAND OR SINGER – ALT/INDIE
Brandon Beebe
Autumn Reverie
Little Red Wolf

LOCAL BAND OR SINGER – BLUES
The Jimmys
Aaron Williams and the Hoodoo
The Blue Olives

LOCAL BAND OR SINGER – COUNTRY
5th GEAR
Madison County
Wild Heart

LOCAL BAND OR SINGER – DANCE
The Beat Chefs
Universal Sound Dance Band
V05

LOCAL BAND OR SINGER – FOLK/BLUEGRASS
Brandon Beebe
The Soggy Prairie Boys
Ida Jo

LOCAL BAND OR SINGER – HIP HOP
Fringe Character
Ben Z
Rob Dz

LOCAL BAND OR SINGER – LATIN
Tony Castañeda
MadiSalsa
Grupo Candela

LOCAL BAND OR SINGER – ROCK
Good Morning V
Damsel Trash
Masked Intruder

LOCAL BAND OR SINGER – SINGER/SONGWRITER
Brandon Beebe
Tim Daniels, 5th GEAR
Madison County

LOCAL BLOG
Michellelitv.com
Madison Moms Blog
Aviva in Dairyland

LOCAL CELEBRITY
Bo Ryan

LOCAL FOOD BLOG
Things I Made Today
Bowen Appétit
Wisconsin From Scratch

LOCAL WEBSITE
channel3000.com
WKOW.com
madison.com

MORNING RADIO TEAM
Jonathan & Kitty, 105.5 Triple M
Jackson & Ashley, Q106.3 & Pat O’Neill & Bob Bonner, Magic 98 (TIE for 2nd)
Fish in the Morning, 93.1 Jamz

MOVIE THEATER
Sundance Cinemas
Point Cinema
AMC Star Fitchburg 18

MUSEUM
Madison Children’s Museum
Chazen Museum of Art
UW-Madison Geology Museum

PERFORMANCE VENUE
Overture Center for the Arts
American Players Theatre
High Noon Saloon

PERFORMING ARTS GROUP
American Players Theatre
Forward Theater Company
Madison Symphony Orchestra

PHOTOGRAPHER
Laura Zastrow Photography
ilana natasha Photography
Maureen Cassidy Photography

RADIO PERSONALITY
Gabby Parsons, 105.5 Triple M
Jackson Jones, Q106.3
Sly 93.7 FM

SPOKEN WORD ARTIST/POET
Katrin Talbot
David Steingass
Flowpoetry

TV PERSONALITY
Amber Noggle, WKOW 27
Michelle Li, WISC-TV
Eric Franke, WISC-TV

YOUTH PERFORMING ARTS GROUP
Young Shakespeare Players
Madison Youth Choirs
Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras

Home & Lifestyle

You know you live in a great city when shops and services elevate items on your to-do list to highlights of your day. You might think you’re just picking up a gift at Orange Tree, a new album at StrictlyDiscs or a home accessory at The Century House, but you wind up leaving with creative inspiration as well. Jazzman and Terese Zache Designs bring personal attention to the shop-local experience, while Thorps and ANiU give you that special boost that comes from the combination of a good haircut and standout service. Oh, you don’t need a mechanic, tailor, dog trainer, caterer or landscaper? Get to know this list of winners and you may just hope you do!

ALTERATIONS
Top Tailoring
Mary’s Tailoring
Right Size Alteration Services (Hilldale)

APPLIANCE REPAIR
Handy Appliance Center
Tri-County Appliance
Gary’s Appliance Repair

AUTO DEALER
Smart Motors
Zimbrick
Ballweg Chevrolet Buick

AUTO REPAIR
Smart Motors
Zimbrick
Wrench Auto Service

BARBER SHOP
Thorps Haurcuts & Color
Monona Barber Shop
Cha Cha Beauty & Barber

BED & BREAKFAST
Prevailing Winds Lodge
Mansion Hill Inn
Token Creek Eco-Inn

BODY SHOP
Gates Auto Body
Ball Body Shop
Collision Masters of Wisconsin

BOOKSTORE
The University Book Store
Frugal Muse
A Room of One’s Own

CATERER
Blue Plate Catering
Underground Food Collective
Cranberry Creek Restaurant & Catering

CLEANING SERVICES
Green Ladies Cleaning
Kayla’s Custom Cleaning
Mother Earth Cleaners

CLOTHING – MEN
Jazzman
Lucca Fine Men’s Clothing
Context

CLOTHING – WOMEN
Terese Zache Designs
Karen & Co./Sassafras
Change

CONSIGNMENT STORE
The Pink Poodle
Simply Savvy
The Cozy Home

DOG TRAINING
Dog Face Training
The Dog Den
Sit Means Sit Dog Training

DRY CLEANER
Klinke Cleaners
Lake Mills Cleaners & Dryers
Best Cleaners

FLORIST
Farm to Vase
Choles Floral
Felly’s Flowers

FURNITURE/HOME ACCESSORIES
The Century House
Roughing It In Style
Rubin’s Furniture

GIFT SHOP/SPECIALTY STORE
Orange Tree Imports
Little Luxuries
The Century House Gift Shop

HAIR SALON
ANiU Salon & Spa
Ecco Salon
BELLA

HOTEL
HotelRED
The Edgewater Hotel
The Madison Concourse Hotel

JEWELER
TQ Diamonds
Goodman’s Jewelers
Chalmers Jewelers

LAWN, GARDEN & LANDSCAPE
The Bruce Company
America’s Best Flowers
Greenscapes

MOVING COMPANY
C. Coakley Relocation Systems
Mad City Moving
Capital Cartage Moving & Storage

MUSIC STORE
Strictly Discs
Ward Brodt Music Company
B-Side Records

MUSICAL INSTRUMENT STORE
Heid Music
Ward Brodt Music Company
Spruce Tree Music & Repair

NAIL SALON
Diamond Nails & Spa
Nini Nails & Spa
Nail Spa Plus

PET DAY CARE, BOARDING & PAMPERING
Ruffin’ It Resort
Camp K9 Pet Care Center
The Dog Den

PET STORE
Mounds Pet Food Warehouse
MadCat Pet Supplies
bad dog frida

SHOES
Morgan’s Shoes
The Shoe Box
Cornblooms

SPA
ANiU Salon & Spa
Kneaded Relief Day Spa & Wellness
The Brow Boutique

TATTOO
Blue Lotus Tattoo
Ultimate Arts Tattoo
Steve’s Tattoo and Body Piercing

VETERINARIAN
Sondel Family Veterinary Clinic
Petcare Animal Hospital
Truesdell Animal Care Hospital and Clinic

Fitness & Recreation

We’re a fit city, from the cold, sleety days of winter to the most sweltering of summer afternoons. And you runners, hikers, bikers, martial artists and yogis know who to turn to to amp up your fitness. You get your gear at Fleet Feet and Budget Bicycle before hitting the city’s trails and roads. And you break a sweat at Ford’s Gym and Core Health & Fitness—often thanks to trainers SamMasino and Eric Lord. But when the weather’s lovely, golfers flock to University Ridge for a round while the rest of us with the urge to move head to the UW–Madison Arboretum, Pheasant Branch Creek Conservancy, Tenney and Elver parks and the Capital City State Trail for a breath of fresh air. 

ALTERNATIVE FITNESS CENTER
Core Health & Fitness
Dance Life Studio and Fitness
Boulders Climbing Gym

BIKE SHOP
Budget Bicycle Center
Machinery Row Bicycles
Middleton Cycle

BOWLING ALLEY
Ten Pin Alley
Middleton Sport Bowl
Schwoegler Park Towne Lanes

FITNESS CENTER
Ford’s Gym
Prairie Athletic Club
Harbor Athletic Club

GOLF COURSE
University Ridge Golf Course
Pleasant View Golf Course
Door Creek Golf Course

MARTIAL ARTS STUDIO
Twisted Fitness
Black Belt America
Paik’s Traditional Martial Arts Center

PARK
Pheasant Branch Creek Conservancy
Tenney Park
Elver Park

PERSONAL TRAINER
Eric Lord, Core Health & Fitness
Sam Masino, Ford’s Gym
Matt Furyk, Pinnacle Health and Fitness

RUNNING/BIKING TRAIL
UW–Madison Arboretum
Pheasant Branch Creek Conservancy
Capital City State Trail

SPORTS & RECREATION SHOP
Fleet Feet Sports
Berkeley Running Company
Middleton Sports & Fitness

YOGA/PILATES
Dragonfly Hot Yoga
Kula Yoga & Wellness and Inner Fire Yoga (TIE for 2nd)
Harbor Athletic Club

 


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