Best Midwest Food Towns
#1 Madison: full of great taste
Nichole Fromm and JonMichael Rasmus enjoy eating their way through all 600 or so restaurants in Madison, Wisconsin. Their endeavor, addictively documented at madisonatoz.com, perfectly captures our top food town: quirky, totally democratic and full of great taste, not pretension.
The couple attribute the vibrant food culture to the University of Wisconsin and the city's working-class roots. Being a state capital amid rich farmland helps, too.
No matter your taste, budget or ethics, Madison (population: 555,000) serves a meal to match. For eco-eaters, the Great Dane Pub and Brewing Company (greatdanepub.com) offers an all-local Sustain-a-Burger. Students scarf pancakes at Mickie's Dairy Bar, while a trendier crowd nibbles tapas at The Icon (theiconmadison.com).
On State Street, enticing smells waft from ethnic restaurants such as Afghani favorite Kabul (kabulmadison.com). And for those who want to tap Wisconsin's own heritage, Bavaria Sausage (bavariasausage.com) makes a mean weisswurst, and The Old Fashioned supper club (theoldfashioned.com) cheekily lists Bud and Bud Light as "import" beers.
The Dane County Farmers Market (pictured) appeals to most everyone. Around the capitol, some 170 vendors sell amber honey, ripe tomatoes and tiny potatoes that still smell like damp soil (dcfm.org).
Mickie's Dairy Bar (608/256-9476)