Dining and Drink

3 surprising places to get good burgers in Madison

Find tasty burgers at places not known for burgers

There are some restaurants in the city that serve up great burgers when you wouldn’t even expect to be able to get a mediocre one. And life is too short to eat mediocre burgers.

Items on the Tavernakaya menu have names like “Tofu Buns” and the “M.C. Hama” sushi roll (raw hamachi, cucumber, scallion and jalapeño). There are 18 kinds of sashimi and nigiri. But a burger? Indeed, there is a burger on the menu at this Japanese gastropub. The fate of the burger wasn’t clear once Tavernakaya broke from Food Fight Restaurant Group this summer, but co-owner Wendy Kuo assures us that the burger will live on—it’s now just in slider form. The TK Sliders are topped with 1-year Hook’s cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, spicy mayo and a Japanese BBQ sauce. Order some crispy togarashi fries, and you’re set. 27 E. Main St.

Salvatore’s Tomato Pies is a pizza place, but at the Sun Prairie Sal’s, the McSlayer burger is a mainstay. It’s a half-pound of Conscious Carnivore ground chuck, Farmer John’s smoked Gouda, thick bacon, pickled jalapeños and roasted cippolini aioli on a Stalzy’s Deli bun. There are additional burger specials, including a concoction that has chimichurri aioli, caramelized onions, dry chorizo, goat cheese and an over-easy turkey egg. 121 E. Main St., Sun Prairie

Many who had not seen them believed the Wednesday-night cheeseburgers at Estrellón were the stuff of urban legend. No burger has ever appeared on the Spanish restaurant’s online or regular menu, and it is known for $55 paella and grilled octopus that goes by the name “Pulpo a La Gallega.” But the cheeseburger is quite real and extra cheesy. The beef is ground with brisket, the buns are challah, and there is, of course, a secret sauce. 313 W. Johnson St., Madison

Read about 14 of the top great burgers in the Madison area.

Check out four tasty bar burgers here.

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