Best of Madison

Best of Madison 2019 Winners

Come one come all and meet the winners!

The Greatest Show on Earth has roots right here in Wisconsin. The Ringling brothers started their circus in Baraboo in 1884, later joining with Barnum & Bailey in 1919 to create Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Combined Shows. When a circus, a fair or a carnival came to town, it was cause for celebration. We think the results of the Best of Madison readers poll are cause for celebration, too. Each year, Madison Magazine reveals the best the city has to offer as chosen by you, our readers. Step right up to find out which businesses, people and places were voted to the (big) top of our 38th Annual Readers Poll.

If you missed out on casting one of the 180,000 total votes in this year's poll, you can still be a part of Best of Madison throughout the year online. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for more Best of Madison. We want you to be a part of the fun, so celebrate this year's winners by tagging Madison Magazine in your photos and using #BestofMadison2019 on social media. Didn't see your favorites win this year? Nominations for the 2020 Best of Madison poll start in August.

Food & Drink

Artisan Food Product
Carr Valley Cheese
Hook's Cheese Co. Inc.

Bakery - Bread
Madison Sourdough
Stella's Bakery
Batch Bakehouse

Bakery - Sweets
Greenbush Bakery
Bloom Bake Shop
Batch Bakehouse

Smoky Jon's #1 BBQ
That BBQ Joint
Eldorado Grill

Short Stack Eatery
Monty's Blue Plate Diner
Hubbard Avenue Diner

The Great Dane Pub &  Brewing Co.
Ale Asylum
Vintage Brewing Co.

Short Stack Eatery
Bassett Street Brunch Club

Dotty Dumpling's Dowry

Underground Butcher
The Conscious Carnivore
Ken's Meats & Deli

Blue Plate Catering
Liliana's Restaurant

Cheese Producer
Hook's Cheese Co. Inc.
Carr Valley Cheese
Farmer Johns' Cheese

Local Chef
Tory Miller, Graze, L'Etoile, Sujeo, Estrellón
Dave Heide, Liliana's Restaurant, Charlie's On Main, Little John's
Daniel Bonanno, A Pig in a Fur Coat

Related Content: Daniel Bonanno is Madison Magazine's 2017 Chef of the Year

Imperial Garden
Dumpling Haus
Chang Jiang

Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier
Candinas Chocolatier

Coffee Roasters
Just Coffee Cooperative
True Coffee Roasters

Coffee Shop
Colectivo Coffee
Firefly Coffeehouse & Artisan Cheese

Cup of Tea
Macha Tea Co.
Colectivo Coffee

Destination Restaurant
Ishnala Supper Club, Lake Delton
Driftless Glen Distillery, Baraboo
Hi Point Steakhouse, Ridgeway

Ethnic Grocery Store
Fraboni's Italian Specialties & Delicatessen
Gino's Italian Deli
Asian Midway Foods

Farmers' Market (Other than Dane County Farmers' Market)
Westside Community Market
Monona Farmers' Market
Northside Farmers' Market

First Date
Eno Vino Downtown
Eno Vino Wine Bar & Bistro
Liliana's Restaurant

Fish Fry
Quivey's Grove
Avenue Club and The Bubble Up Bar
Dorf Haus Supper Club

Food Cart
El Grito Taqueria
Good Food

Related Content: Madison's fried favorites: fish fry and cheese curds

Fried Cheese Curds
The Old Fashioned
Craftsman Table & Tap

Greasy Spoon
Mickies Dairy Bar
Monty's Blue Plate Diner
Hubbard Avenue Diner

Grocery Store
Willy Street Co-op
Metcalfe's Market
Woodman's Food Market

Ice Cream/Custard/Gelato
Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream Co.
Babcock Hall Dairy Store

Swagat Indian Restaurant
Swad Indian Restaurant
Himal Chuli Restaurant


Takara 88

Hubbard Avenue Diner
The Biergarten at Olbrich Park
Common Ground Middleton

Sol's on the Square

Lake View
Memorial Union Terrace

Latin American
La Taguara
Samba Brazilian Grill
Fuegos - Steak|Tapas|Vegan

Mediterranean/Middle Eastern
Parthenon Gyros
Mediterranean Cafe

Related Content: Banzo, El Grito and Good Food were chosen as best food carts in 2019

Taqueria Guadalajara
Pasqual's Cantina
Eldorado Grill

New Restaurant
Mint Mark
Longtable Beer Cafe
Common Ground Middleton

Related Content: Mint Mark has left a mark on Madison's restaurant scene

Outdoor Dining
Eno Vino Downtown

Local Pastry Chef
Elizabeth Dahl, L'Etoile, Graze
Kate Schommer, Short Stack Eatery
Natalia Chehade, Tornado Room Steak House

Salvatore's Tomato Pies
Glass Nickel Pizza Co.
Sugar River Pizza Co.

The Coopers Tavern
Bonfyre American Grille
Liliana's Restaurant

Restaurant Ambience
Eno Vino Downtown
Johnny Delmonico's Steakhouse

Sandwich Spot
Fraboni's Italian Specialties & Delicatessen
Milio's Sandwiches
Casetta Kitchen and Counter

Tempest Oyster Bar
Miko Poke

Southeast Asian
Ha Long Bay
Sa-Bai Thong Thai Cuisine
Lao Laan-Xang Restaurant

Specialty Food Store
Willy Street Co-op
Brennan's Cellars

Tornado Room Steak House
Smoky's Club
Johnny Delmonico's Steakhouse

Supper Club
Tornado Room Steak House
Ishnala Supper Club
Toby's Supper Club

Glass Nickel Pizza Co.
Ha Long Bay
New Orleans Take-Out

Upscale Dining
Eno Vino Downtown

Vegetarian/Vegan Focused
The Green Owl Cafe
Monty's Blue Plate Diner

Wollersheim Winery & Distillery
Old Sugar Distillery
State Line Distillery

Our knowledgeable and passionate bar staff connects the art and science of distillation to beautifully designed, balanced cocktails. Our goal is to make cocktails that are approachable, delicious, and presented to you in a fun and educational manner. The Cocktail Lounge features our gin, vodka, coffee liqueur, aquavit. Our whiskey and apple brandy are currently ageing and will be ready for all to enjoy in the not-to-distant future.

At State Line, each ingredient in every cocktail has been meticulously crafted using only fresh, whole ingredients, which we believe results in a better drink. The spirits used are exclusively our own, distilled on site, providing us a unique opportunity to create cocktails that can only be found in our lounge. Gather round the table, back patio, or bar and enjoy a different kind of cocktail experience. 

Cocktail Lounge Hours: Thursday and Friday, 5-11 p.m. and Saturday 12-11 p.m. Tours/tastings and private event space available. Sign up for a tour or cocktail class online at www.statelinedistillery/tours-classess. For event space rental, please email

State Line Distillery
1413 Northern Court

Wine & Spirits
Woodman's Food Market
Steve's Wine|Beer|Spirits


Bar for Beer
The Great Dane Pub & Brewing Co.
Brasserie V
Vintage Brewing Co.

Bar for Cocktails
Eno Vino Downtown
Avenue Club and The Bubble Up Bar

Bar with a View          
Eno Vino Downtown
The Edgewater
The Biergarten at Olbrich Park

Bloody Mary
Café Hollander
The Old Fashioned
Mickey's Tavern

Margarita, Canteen
Margarita, Pedro's Mexican Restaurante
Market Mojito, Salvatore's Tomato Pies

Local Craft Beer
Spotted Cow, New Glarus Brewing Co.
Fantasy Factory, Karben4 Brewing
Commuter Kolsch, One Barrel Brewing Co.

Dance Venue
Plan B*
Red Rock Saloon
FIVE Nightclub (tie)
Madison's (tie)
*As of March 1, Plan B is now Prism Dance Club and has partially new ownership.

Dive Bar
Le Tigre Lounge
Genna's Cocktail Lounge
Crystal Corner Bar

Gay Bar
Plan B*
Shamrock Bar & Grille
FIVE Nightclub

Hotel Bar
Eno Vino Downtown, AC Hotel by Marriott Madison Downtown
The Wise, HotelRED
Camp Trippalindee, The Graduate Madison

Live Music Venue
High Noon Saloon
Memorial Union Terrace
Majestic Theatre

Related Content: Live music venues in Madison are great spots for music

Neighborhood Bar
Dexter's Pub
Mid Town Pub
Le Tigre Lounge

The Old Fashioned
Dorf Haus Supper Club
Avenue Club and The Bubble Up Bar

Sports Bar
Jordan's Big 10 Pub
Babes Grill & Bar
The Coopers Tavern

Wine Bar
Eno Vino Downtown
toot + kate's winebar

Arts & Entertainment

Related Content: The Madison Children's Museum is a real-life funhouse

Local Actor
Colleen Madden
Karen Olivo
Nicki Dougherty

Art Gallery
Chazen Museum of Art
Madison Museum of Contemporary Art
Hatch Art House

Local Band or Singer - Alt/Indie
Katie Scullin
Karen Wheelock
Bryan Drewyor

Local Band or Singer - Blues
The Jimmys
The Cash Box Kings
Kelsey Miles

Local Band or Singer - Classical         
Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society
Melanie Cain
Oakwood Chamber Players

Local Band or Singer - Country
Madison County
Zac Matthews Band

Local Band or Singer - Cover Band
Cherry Pie
5th Gear

Local Band or Singer - Folk/Bluegrass
The Soggy Prairie Boys
No Name String Band

Local Band or Singer - Hip Hop/R&B
Chris Jewson
Rob Dz

Local Band or Singer - Jazz
Harmonious Wail
Ben Sidran
SwingTime Music Jazz Band

Local Band or Singer - Latin
Tony Castañeda
Sofi Martinez
Angela Puerta

Local Band or Singer -Rock/Metal
Cherry Pie
Lords of the Trident

Local Band or Singer - Singer/Songwriter
The Krause Family Band
Kelsey Miles
Teddy Davenport

Related Content: Local Instagram @cats_of_madison puts a spotlight on Madison's felines

Local Blogger
Midwest Munchers,
Madison Moms Blog,
Alice Choi,

Classical Music Group
Madison Symphony Orchestra
Willy Sreet Chamber Players
Oakwood Chamber Players

The mission of the Madison Symphony Orchestra (MSO), is to produce high quality concerts of orchestral, instrumental, vocal, and choral music, to educate and entertain audiences of all ages in the Madison area and beyond, and to advocate music as a universal language of expression and understanding. The MSO celebrates its 93rd season and Music Director John DeMain's 25th anniversary in 2018-2019. Hailed as "a gifted orchestra builder" by The New York Times, Maestro DeMain has grown the Symphony to be one of America's leading regional orchestras.

Our MSO Education and Community Engagement Programs bring the joy of music to more than 25,000 children and adults annually. These programs are consistently recognized by national agencies including the National Endowment for the Arts, the League of American Orchestras and the Society for the Arts in Healthcare. As a resident company of the Overture Center for the Arts, we call Overture Hall home to all MSO concerts, and all performances featuring the MSO's Overture Concert Organ. Joined by the world's leading guest artists, we are proud to present performances designed to delight your ears and deliver an acoustical experience unlike any other in this world-class concert hall.

The MSO's new 2019-2020 season of symphony concerts and organ performances begins in September 2019, and continues through May 2020. Subscriptions are available starting in March 2019 for five or more symphony concerts, and four organ performances. Single tickets go on sale in August 2019. Join us for the Journey!

The MSO presents a subscription concert series featuring triple performances (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) in Overture Hall from September through May. These concerts bring major and emerging guest artists of international renown to Madison along with some of the greatest and most popular works in the classical repertoire. As the only professional symphony orchestra in south central Wisconsin and as one of America's premier regional orchestras, MSO contributes to the artistic, cultural and financial vitality of Madison and Dane County. As the resident orchestra of Overture Hall, MSO is a valuable asset for local businesses, schools and the community as a whole.

The Overture Concert Organ was commissioned by the Madison Symphony Orchestra. This 174-ton, 4,040-pipe marvel is the stunning backdrop for all MSO concerts in Overture Hall. To broaden the Symphony's reach in the community while celebrating this amazing instrument, the MSO offers an annual series of free and ticketed events, including recitals with major guest and local artists, free Community Hymn and Carol Sings, free Farmers' Market Concerts, as well as master classes and other educational events.

The MSO is dedicated to providing outstanding educational and community engagement opportunities throughout south-central Wisconsin. We engage music enthusiasts of all ages and abilities through our partnerships with schools, community centers, and assisted living facilities — including Young Artist Competitions, Young People's Concerts, Up Close & Musical®, HeartStrings®, Meet the Musician, and other programs that have a positive impact on people's lives. 

Madison Symphony Orchestra

Columnist/Print Journalist
Doug Moe
John Nichols
Michael Perry

Comedy Group
Monkey Business Institute
Atlas Improv Co.
Sloshed Shakespeare

Local DJ
DJ Pain 1
The Susie Show
DJ Nick Nice

Movie Theater
Marcus Palace Cinema
Marcus Point Cinema
AMC Madison 6

Madison Children's Museum
Chazen Museum of Art
National Mustard Museum

Local News Website

Performance Venue
Overture Center for the Arts
American Players Theatre
High Noon Saloon

Performing Arts Group
American Players Theatre
Madison Symphony Orchestra
Forward Theater Co.

ilana natasha photography
Maureen Cassidy Photography
Julia Matthews Photography

Radio Team
Jonathan & Kitty, 105.5 Triple M
Jackson & Andi, Today's Q106**
Krista & the Morning Rush, 93.1 Jamz
**Andi is no longer part of Today's Q106's morning show

Related Content: Jonathan & Kitty have been Best of Madison gold winners for seven years in a row

Social Media Personality
Cats of Madison
Amber Noggle
Midwest Munchers

TV News Team
Eric Franke and Charlotte Deleste, NEWS 3 NOW
Tim Elliott, Hannah Flood, Meghan Reistad and Charlie Shortino, NBC15
John Stofflet and Leigh Mills, NBC15

TV Personality
Charlie Shortino, NBC15
Charlotte Deleste, NEWS 3 NOW
Amber Noggle, WKOW

Youth Performing Arts Group
Children's Theater of Madison
Black Star Drum Line Performance Group
Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras

Home & Lifestyle

Related Content: Madison's best tattoo shops create works of art

Binh's Tailoring
Right Size Alteration Services
Monetti Tailoring

Assisted Living/Retirement Community
Capitol Lakes
Attic Angel Community
Oak Park Place

Auto Dealer
Zimbrick Inc.
Smart Motors Toyota
Don Miller Auto Group

Auto Repair
Zimbrick Inc.
Gates Collision Centers
Aeschbach Automotive

Barber Shop
The Barbershop A Hair Salon for Men
The GIRL Barber
Dick & Arnie's Barber Shop

A quote by Aristotle...We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act but a habit. These are words that I truly believe in. It is my goal to provide nothing short of excellence in quality and service.

The GIRL Barber
1280 W. Main St. Suite 106, Sun Prairie

Bed & Breakfast
Mansion Hill Inn
The Speckled Hen Inn
Cambridge House Bed and Breakfast

Body Shop
Zimbrick Inc.
Gates Collision Centers
Ball Body Shop – A division of Smart Motors Toyota

A Room of One's Own
Frugal Muse
University Book Store

Hearts & Hands Inc. of Mount Horeb
Kids Express Learning Center

Cleaning Service
Primavera Cleaning Service
Mother Earth Cleaners
Clear Vision Cleaning LLC

Clothing (Men)
Duluth Trading Co.

Clothing (Women)
The Purple Goose
Stori Anne Co.
McFee on Main

Fashion is fun—and local—at The Purple Goose, which offers an eclectic collection of clothing, accessories and gifts in a gorgeously restored 1840's brick house in downtown Verona.
Where modern style meets hometown charm, you'll discover trendy pieces and everyday staples that you'll reach for again and again. 

The Purple Goose
101 N. Main St., Verona, WI

Consignment Store
St. Vincent de Paul Store
Happily Ever After Children's Resale Boutique
The Pink Poodle

Dry Cleaner
Klinke Cleaners
Best Cleaners of Madison Inc.
Lake Mills Cleaners & Dyers Inc.

Felly's Flowers
Klein's Floral and Greenhouses
George's Flowers Inc.

Furniture/Home Accessories
The Century House
A1 Furniture & Mattress
Don's Home Furniture

Gift Shop/Specialty Store
Orange Tree Imports
Apple Wellness
The Soap Opera

Related Content: Guide to shopping locally in Madison

Hair Salon
Be Inspired Salon
ANiU Salon & Spa
Ecco Salon

Home Health Care Agency
Agrace Hospice & Palliative Care
SSM Health at Home
UW Health Home Health Agency

SSM Health at Home offers a range of services — all with one goal — to keep our patients as safe and independent as possible at home. Our wide range of services allows us to provide more comprehensive care as well as a seamless transition should our patients need to move from one service type to another. 

Through home health, palliative care, hospice, medical equipment, and a range of community services, we are able to support patients throughout their health care journey with a high level of quality care. 

The home health team collaborates with physicians to develop an individualized plan of care for each patient. Our goal is to help our patients remain at home whether they are recovering from an illness or injury, dealing with a chronic condition or healing from surgery.

Palliative care is available for those facing chronic or life-limiting illnesses. Care focuses on relieving symptoms, pain and stress, helping patients achieve the best quality of life possible. Palliative care is not dependent on diagnosis or life expectancy and can be provided alongside curative treatments.

Hospice is a special type of care for those who have a limited life expectancy and have chosen to stop curative treatment. Our goal is to help patients achieve the best quality of life possible, managing symptoms, pain and anxiety while providing emotional and spiritual support for patients and their loved ones.

We also provide a variety of medical equipment, supplies, and services. We have a number of retail stores in the area, including a location in Madison, where specialists are available to assist in navigating insurance requirements on prescribed equipment.

SSM Health at Home also offers a number of community services. VoiceCare is a personal emergency response system which establishes a connection to help, should the need arise. Meals On Wheels delivers nutritious mid-day meals for homebound seniors living in Madison, Middleton, Monona, and Sun Prairie. SAFE at Home provides in-home safety assessments and medication reviews for Dane County residents age 60 and older.

Informational visits are available to anyone who would like to learn more about how SSM Health at Home services can help. We are here to listen to your concerns and work with you to help provide the care you or your loved one need to remain as safe and independent as possible at home. 

Whether you need care today or are planning for the future, we are here to help.

SSM Health at Home

The Edgewater
The Madison Concourse Hotel and Governor's Club
AC Hotel by Marriott Madison Downtown

Chalmers Jewelers
Goodman's Jewelers
TQ Diamonds

Lawn, Garden & Landscape
The Bruce Co.
K&A Greenhouse
Klein's Floral and Greenhouses

Moving Company
Badger Brothers Moving LLC
Gorilla Movers of Wisconsin Inc.
Mad City Moving

Music Store
Strictly Discs
B-Side Records
MadCity Music

Musical Instrument Store
Ward-Brodt Music Store
Heid Music
Spruce Tree Music & Repair

Nail Salon
Diamond Nails & Spa
ANiU Salon & Spa
RZ & Co.

Pet Day Care, Boarding & Pampering
The Dog Den
Groomingtails Pet Salon
Waggin' Tails Doggie Dude Ranch & Pet Lodge

Over 20 years of experienced dog and cat grooming! Locally owned and operated. Services include full or mini groom, bath, nails, teeth brushing, Furminator and skin treatments. We have Brewers, Cubs, Badgers, Packers and Bears Bandanas! 

Groomingtails Pet Salon
310 Junction Road

Pet Supplies Store
Mounds Pet Food Warehouse
MadCat Pet Supplies
bad dog frida

The Shoe Box
Morgan's Shoes
Movin' Shoes

Kneaded Relief Day Spa & Wellness
ANiU Salon & Spa
Bergamot Massage Therapy & Bodywork

Specialty Spa
The Brow Boutique
Float Madison
Pure Waxing Studio

Tattoo Shop
Blue Lotus Tattoo & The Piercing Lounge
Ultimate Arts Tattoo
Steve's Tattoo and Body Piercing

True Veterinary Care
Four Lakes Veterinary Clinic
Sondel Family Veterinary Clinic

Our animal hospital offers preventative care, general medical and surgical care for small animals, with a primary focus on dogs and cats. Dr. Sondel also specializes in canine reproductive care, and you can view the adorable results in our Nursery photos on our website. Your experience at Sondel Family Veterinary Clinic — a six-time Best of Madison winner — begins with a warm welcome for your furry family member and a reassuring smile for you. Here your pet will receive top quality care and you'll receive the information you need to help your pet live the fullest and healthiest life possible. 

Sondel Family Veterinary Clinic
1848 Waldorf Blvd.

Recreation & Fitness

Related Content: Machinery Row Bicycles specializes in two-wheeling fun

Alternative Fitness Center
Flyght Indoor Cycling
MadPower Training Center
Functional Integrated Training

Bike Shop
Machinery Row Bicycles
Budget Bicycle Center
Trek Bicycle Corp.

Bowling Alley
Ten Pin Alley
Schwoegler's Entertainment Center
Middleton Sport Bowl

Dog Park
Prairie Moraine County Park
Badger Prairie Dog Park
Token Creek County Park

Fitness Center
The Princeton Club
Functional Integrated Training
Prairie Athletic Club

Golf Course
Pleasant View Golf Course
Bishops Bay Country Club
University Ridge Golf Course

The University of Wisconsin Golf Course, University Ridge, is the home of the University of Wisconsin Men's and Women's Golf Teams. Annual events include the PGA Tour Champions' American Family Insurance Championship (hosted by Steve Stricker), WIAA Boy's and Girl's State Championships, collegiate Badger Invitational, and many more. University Ridge is designed by Robert Trent Jones II and is yours to play without a costly membership. Visit our website at or call us at 608.845.7700 to reserve your next tee time. Play where the Badgers Play, University Ridge! 

University Ridge Golf Course
9002 County Road PD, Verona

Martial Arts Studio
Silver Lining Taekwon-Do
Kicks Unlimited
Paik's Traditional Martial Arts Center

Olbrich Park
James Madison Park
Brittingham Park

Related Content: Madison has more than 270 parks and three were chosen as Best of Madison

Personal Trainer
Katie Frank, REFORMadison
Amy Sanborn, MadPower Training Center
Keith Kubiesa, Summit Strength & Fitness

MadPower Training Center
Prairie Athletic Club

Lagree is the most innovative full body conditioning fitness method and it can only be found at REFORMADISON in Wisconsin. Accept no imitation and allow us to prove how effective, safe and fun the Lagree Method is! The Revolutionary Fitness system combines strength, endurance, cardio, flexibility and stretching in each move. That means a 50 minute REFORMADISON workout will push you beyond what you thought was even imaginable.

Using weighted springs and a moving carriage, the ingeniously designed and patented Megaformer demands intense core engagement, constant tension of your muscles and mega-mental focus allowing you to reach maximum exertion and results in each class. If it isn't shaking, it isn't working. 

At REFORMADISON, you are our top priority. Class sizes are intentionally small (10 or less people) to make sure YOU are reaching a physical place that will provide you with real results. Yes, you will shake. Yes, you will sweat. Yes, you will question your abilities. But ultimately, you can do this. We will ask a lot of you; you have to want to REFORM. That's why we offer 50 minute classes that have been proven to burn 500 to 800 calories. By targeting and constantly challenging the fat-burning, slow twitch muscles, we can push you to maximum exertion in minimal time. 

Contact Award Winning Trainer Katie Frank today for a special introductory offer so you can give this life altering fitness craze a try!

1819 Parmenter St., Middleton

Running/Biking Trail
Capital City State Trail
Pheasant Branch Conservancy
University of Wisconsin–Madison Arboretum

Related Content: Guide to running routes near Madison

Sports & Recreation Shop
Brittingham Boats
Fontana Sports Specialties
Rutabaga Paddlesports

Dragonfly Hot Yoga
Inner Fire Yoga
MadPower Training Center

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