Catch the Burger Beat at Laurel Tavern
f you’re looking for a neighborhood joint that’s got good ambiance and even better burgers, the Laurel Tavern is for you. Owner Dianne Zilley and late husband Peter bought the bar/restaurant back in 1979 and Dianne has been running it ever since. Before the Zilleys, Dianne estimates at least two other owners ran it, possibly dating the place back to the ’30s.
But the eatery hasn’t been completely untouched by time. The Laurel underwent some heavy renovations about ten years ago, doing away with the dark tavern feel and bringing in a lighter, family-friendly look to the place. They’ve even got a large mural covering an entire wall, showcasing Monroe Street’s businesses—like Mallatt’s, Michael’s, the old Ken Kopp’s grocery store and Camp Randall. In short, it’s a neighborhood gem.
Ten burgers grace the menu, including a patty melt, pizza burger, veggie burger, bleu burger and their two most popular: the Brewmaster burger (with mustard-garlic sauce) and the bistro burger (with bistro sauce). All of their sauces are homemade: “It’s those little touches that make things better,” says Dianne.
Meats are from K & S Meats and Knoche’s, and most of the twenty-three brews on tap are, of course, local (Lake Louie, Capital, New Glarus and Ale Asylum are among them).
It’s that easy, comfortable feel that’s made the Laurel so popular all these years. And rest assured, the burgers aren’t going anywhere. Says Dianne, “We like focusing on something that’s not so elaborate, and making it really good.”
• The Laurel Tavern, 2505 Monroe St. 233-1043. laureltavern.com