Nitty Gritty | Midwest Living
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Nitty Gritty

223 N. Frances St.
Madison  Wisconsin  53703
United States
(608) 251-2521
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Midwest Living Review

Melanie McManus
Madison's Official Birthday Place is a lively, friendly spot serving a variety of burgers.

You can't go wrong stopping at the Nitty Gritty. The food's dependably good, prices are moderate and waitstaff friendly. The two-story, 1898 building on the UW-Madison campus has been home to the Gritty since 1968. It's always got a lively vibe thanks to the younger, college crowd that makes up much of the clientele. The owners are on-site, ensuring customers are promptly served and things run smoothly. In addition to Badger memorabilia, there are hundreds of framed photos of customers -- some "regular" people, others celebrities of some sort -- which helps pass the time if you have to wait. The place's namesake sandwich, the Gritty Burger, is the most popular item on the menu. And while its infamous secret Gritty sauce isn't anything that special or unusual, it's tasty, as is the burger. You can specify how you'd like your hamburger cooked, which is always nice, although you won't necessarily get what you ordered, especially if you're looking for a more well-done burger. You also have a selection of hamburgers, which not only come with different toppings, but sometimes with different types of buns, including pretzel and Kaiser rolls. The burgers come with a pickle and your choice of fries, coleslaw, steamed veggies or pub chips, although you can order them without a side for $2 less. Prices run $5.95 to $10.95. Service is prompt and friendly, and if it's your birthday, you're in luck: birthday guys or gals get free soda or beer all night long, along with a free commemorative mug and balloon. Your name is also placed on the birthday board, your birthday will be announced and the staff will sing "Happy Birthday" to you.

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