The backstory: Steve Turner wanted to help his son, Christian “Willie” Turner, follow his passion in food. That was the initial reason Steve retired after 25 years in corporate America and opened the upscale pub Willie Ty’s Eatery in Sun Prairie. But the plan was always to open a place that Christian could let his four years of experience at the Culinary Institute in New York shine. The right space presented itself in Verona, and the family opened The Verona Woods in early 2017.
The vibe: The “woods” refers to the exotic woodwork in the restaurant’s interior accents—the long bar is a stunning lineup of African redwood, marblewood, zebrawood, yellowheart, purpleheart, leopardwood and canarywood. Every wood feature was either designed or handmade by Steve’s father, Bill Turner. “I won’t have my dad forever, but I’ll have what he did,” Steve says.
The menu: Christian, the 25-year-old chef, offers quality main dishes, including shallot cream chicken breast, almond black pepper-crusted salmon and center-cut rib eye, but it’s his execution of thoughtful sides that make his meals memorable. Often the favorites, he says, are the crispy Brussels sprouts and the bourbon brown sugar-glazed carrots.
The must-try: If you’re not in for dinner, consider hanging out in the bar or patio area and ordering a beer and the “Tequila Sunrise” shrimp, one of 19 appetizer options.
The bottom line: If the story alone of a father’s love spanning two generations won’t get you to this place, the fact that it has everything you want in a restaurant—good food, good service, good atmosphere—will.
958 Liberty Drive, Verona, 497-1680
Andrea Behling is managing editor of Madison Magazine.