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The backstory: It’s been about nine years since Buck & Honey’s opened in Sun Prairie on the same land once owned and farmed by the restaurant’s namesakes, Buck and Honey Birkinbine. Now, the restaurant is becoming a Sun Prairie institution much like the well-known Birkinbines had been. July marks a big development for the contemporary eatery that straddles the line between family casual and fine dining. Buck & Honey’s owner Tom Anderson and his team are bringing the party to Monona with a second location that’s right on the Yahara riverfront.
The vibe: The Sun Prairie restaurant has an expansive 180-seat main dining room plus multiple event spaces, including The Barrel Room, which seats 75 for a sit-down dinner and 125 for a mingling event. The large patio, which often features live music, is a Sun Prairie hot spot in the summer. What will surely become another popular summer destination are the new location’s two-decker patio areas, which can seat about 150. The back of the Monona eatery — located in The Current building, a mixed-use $14 million redevelopment project that’s part of the $60 million Monona Riverfront Redevelopment Project — overlooks a huge lawn area leading out to 23 boat slips.
The menu: Buck & Honey’s has thrived on providing a diverse menu that covers many cuisine types, plus a “Life Balance” menu for lunch and dinner featuring low-calorie dishes. Chef Sam Millan, who has been with Buck & Honey’s from the beginning, whips up everything from a seared ahi tuna salad to signature pizzas to slow-cooked barbecue. Craft cocktails, a lengthy wine list and after-dinner drinks provide ample choices at the bar.
The must-try: TA’s Hot Comby is a must-try not only because the hot sandwich features a delectable combination of ham, salami and pepperoni plus a secret sauce and mozzarella, but also because it’s a cherished family recipe. Anderson and his sister Aimee Anderson— who is general manager of Buck & Honey’s — learned how to make this sandwich from their father, who owned a restaurant in Wisconsin Dells called Bomberino’s. “We’ve taken it here and juiced it up a little bit with more local ingredients,” Tom says.
The bottom line: Buck & Honey’s isn’t big just in size — it has big heart, too. “We’re in hospitality,” says Tom. “We love to take care of our guests and our team and our staff. We’re so lucky to get to work with wonderful people.” We’re excited to watch Buck & Honey’s heart grow two sizes come July with the new location.
804 Liberty Blvd., Sun Prairie, 837-3131; 800 W. Broadway, Monona
Andrea Behling is editor of Madison Magazine.
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