1201 Williamson St.
Madison Wisconsin 53703United States
Midwest Living Recommends
This homey, groovy tavern offers offbeat food and drink at wholly reasonable prices.
Brothers Bowe and Christopher Berge and Bregan Fuller opened the Weary Traveler in January 2002 to fill a niche: They wanted a place in Madison's groovy Willy Street neighborhood where they could eat after 9 p.m. They weren't the only ones. A decade later, the Weary has cemented itself as a local linchpin. Everything on its eclectic menu is available until 1 a.m.; dishes range from Hungarian goulash to carne asada and tom ka tofu, all made with regional organic ingredients whenever possible. The tavern's name stems from the owners' wish to provide a place of respite, where anyone in need of a break could find food and drink at a reasonable price (dishes run $5 to $15). If it's your first visit, the must-try item is Bob's (Organic) Bad Breath Burger ($10). Invented by Fuller's dad and a favorite at his backyard cookouts, it's a hand-packed beef patty topped with cream cheese, green goddess dressing, garlic, tomatoes, caramelized onions and Pickapeppa sauce. You won't find its like elsewhere. On the side are fried Yukon gold potatoes and mixed greens. The sliced-thin potatoes are the perfect balance of tender and crispy, and the salad provides a counterbalance to the carb and meat heavy meal. You won't see big-screen TVs or neon signs plugging beer; that would detract from the laid-back vibe. Instead, the walls are hung with an assortment of Bohemian art and images of artists and musicians, as well as the occasional political slogan. You'll also find shelves in the back corner stacked with board games, and you should feel welcome to sit a spell and play one or two with your companions. The Weary features live music a couple times a week. It opens at 4 p.m. on Mondays (no lunch!) and 11:30 a.m. the rest of the week.