317 N. Frances St.
Madison Wisconsin 53703United States
Midwest Living Recommends
Dotty's claims it's World Hamburger Headquarters, and they're not kidding.
If you're a burger fanatic, walk -- no, run -- to Dotty Dumpling's. Simply put, they make the best burgers around. The restaurant is in downtown Madison near campus. As such, it has a huge student following, but it isn't a grungy bar-type establishment. The interior is attractively decorated with lots of wooden paneling, booths and a big bar. But forget the atmosphere; the burgers are amazing. The patties are juicy and packed with a wonderful char-grilled flavor that comes through even if you're noshing on a specialty burger topped with its own savory ingredients. Like the Melting Pot ($7.50), the restaurant's number-one seller, which comes with cheddar, Swiss and provolone cheese; bacon; and English garlic sauce. Or the Basil Mozzarella burger ($7.25) loaded with fresh mozzarella chunks, basil, pesto and homemade roasted red pepper mayo. More adventurous diners like to try the bison or lamb burgers, or create their own from a wide list of possible toppings, including cream cheese-based Heart Throb Sauce spiced up with cilantro, garlic and fresh jalapenos. It's not surprising locals consistently rate Dotty's as the best burger in Madison. And yet Dotty's is about more than burgers. It's also famed for its chili, which comes hot, medium or vegetarian. Its cheese curds are gooey and delicious yet somehow light. The thick panko-breaded onion rings and mac-n-cheese wedges are similarly amazing, and we haven't even hit the drink list yet, which includes Sprecher root beer and Dreamsicle floats, beer galore, specialty cocktails and even a very nicely balanced wine selection. Hurry on over.