Meatless Madison: Settle Down Tavern’s Prit’Near

Quintessential tavern food doesn't always mean delectable plant-based dishes, but Settle Down Tavern prioritized the plant-based burger on the menu.
Settle Down Tavern Pritnear
Photo by Ryan Huber
Settle Down Tavern's Prit'Near veggie burger is made in-house with carrots, shiitake mushrooms and oats and topped with turmeric-pickled onions.

When it comes to quintessential tavern food, nothing beats a juicy burger. For plant-based eaters this usually means opting for the veggie burger option which can often be a mass-produced variety made with unknown ingredients (or skipping the burger all together and making a meal of fries). At Settle Down Tavern, chef Joslyn Mink devotes just as much attention to her plant-based burger, the Prit’Near, as she does to its meat counterpart.

“We knew from the beginning that we wanted to have a veggie burger,” Mink says. “We wanted it to be a vegetable-forward patty, rather than a meat-substitute-seeming burger.”

The Prit’Near name is inspired by a Midwest saying “that my dad always used as an abbreviation for ‘pretty near,’” Mink says. It’s made with carrots, onions, black beans, shiitake mushrooms, garlic, oats and a secret spice blend. The burger then gets topped with bright yellow turmeric-pickled onions and an herby chickpea mayo. Normally served on a potato bun, the burger is vegan and gluten-free when butterhead lettuce is substituted for the bun.

Settle Down co-owner Ryan Huber says his favorite thing about the Prit’ Near is “a toss-up” between the texture and flavor. “It’s crisp on the outside and dense on the inside,” he says. Huber knew when they opened the Settle Down a year ago that having quality vegetarian and vegan options on the menu was important. “We want to take care of our vegan and vegetarian friends,” Huber says. “Joslyn loves working with local farmers and there is no shortage of amazing produce in our area. I’m not a vegetarian but I’d be pretty bummed if the tavern I loved viewed vegetarian food as an afterthought.”

Despite opening last May near the beginning of the pandemic, the Settle Down seems to be thriving on a recent summer Thursday evening with a cheerful vibe and tables full of people at the outdoor patio that spills into South Pinckney Street. “We’re in a much better place now that’s for sure,” Huber says. “Madisonians really showed up in support of local restaurants during the darkest winter in memory. We’ll never forget that.”

Part of the success must be owed to the Prit’Near. “Many people say it is their favorite veggie burger they have ever had, which always feels nice to hear,” Mink says. “It is always my end of the night order, so I share their enthusiasm for it as well.”
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