Dear Freshmen,

During the next four (or five, or six or seven) years, you’re going to realize Madison has a lot to offer as a city, not the least of which is great food. As a recent University of Wisconsin graduate, I have many friends well-versed in Madison cuisine. So for my last food column I asked all of them: “What advice would you give incoming UW freshmen about where to eat in Madison”? I received many good responses which are reproduced below. Listen to these guys! If there’s one thing they love, it’s Madison … and food!

“If you’re vegetarian, vegan or have food allergies, you MUST go to The Green Owl on Atwood Ave [1970 Atwood Ave.]. If you have any decent taste at all, you must go to any Food Fight restaurant. Google ‘Food Fight Madison’ to check out this awesome local restaurant group!”
– Kelsey Baubie, 22

“Gotta go with Dotty Dumpling’s Dowry [317 North Francis St.]. Great burgers, good food and atmosphere all around! Honorable mention to Ella’s Deli for being insane [2902 East Washington Ave]. The food is pretty good too, and they have Chocolate Shoppe ice cream, but it’s a little south of campus.”
– Devin Burke, 23

[Editor’s Note: Not to worry! There is a Chocolate Shoppe ice cream store right by campus at 468 State St.]

“Holla, McDonalds … nuff said. Anything barbecue is a delicious choice.”
– Chadd Siebers, 22

[Editor’s Note: Many students don’t know about the existence of the Madison McDonalds until their second year, but it’s there! 1102 Regent St., a half mile from Sellery Hall.]

“Try the 99 cent tea at Mediterranean Cafe [625 State St.]. The Library Mall food carts are also a perfect for a yourself for a midday treat.”
– Suzanne Liebergen, 23

“Jolly Bob’s for dinner [1210 Williamson St.], Ha Long Bay for lunch [1353 Williamson St.] and Lazy Jane’s for breakfast [1348 Williamson St.]. If you eat at these places, you get to eat on Willy Street and then you will become a badass hipster! But you’re living in Madison for the next several years so becoming a hipster is going to happen. Welcome to Madison!”
– Rick James, 22

“Ian’s Pizza [100 State St. or 319 North Frances St.]. For the more hearty grab-n-go meal, you should venture to the top of State Street and try Myles Teddywedgers [101 State St.]. For a slightly classier sit-down type meal (i.e. when the folks come to visit), go to Paisan’s on West Wilson Street [131 West Wilson St.].”
– Jedediah Boskowitz, 28

“Dotty Dumpling’s Dowry, New Seoul Korean Restaurant [2503 University Ave.] and The Great Dane [123 E. Doty St.].”
– Jevin Lortie, 23

“The best place for dinner is the Greenbush Bar/restaurant on Regent Street [914 Regent St.]. Smoked chicken in gorgonzola cream sauce on noodles with roasted walnuts = awesome. Get it every time. I’d also have to pick the Mediterranean Cafe on State Street for lunch – get the shawarma platter.”
– Bob Omb, 37

“MED CAF BY FAR!! Mediterranean Caf? to the incoming freshmen [625 State St.]. My favorite meal there is the lamb akins plate, but you really can’t go wrong with anything you order there. I specialize my meal by adding feta cheese crumbles, which combined with the scrumptious creamy yogurt sauce and spices makes for a heavenly meal. To top it off, I always order a glass of Moroccan mint tea, which is like drinking relaxation and serenity while at the same time feeling more energized. I don’t even like tea, so the fact that I probably wouldn’t be able to live without this tea says a lot.”
– Makenzie Graham, 22

“Taqueria Guadalajara [1033 South Park St.]. I tried several Tex-Mex-style dishes there, the traditional gamut, and then one day I decided to try a couple gorditas, which are these small taco-style items with plenty of tasty fattening stuff in them. I got the gordita con pollo (chicken) because, well, chicken. And then for the second I decided to try the gordita con papas (potatoes) because potatoes can be good, but THAT was AMAZING. So now whenever I go there I strongly consider getting two gorditas with potatoes EVERY TIME… and I frequently do.”
– Dan Keidl, 31

So there you have it, recommendations from those who have loved and eaten Madison well. Try their suggestions or venture out on your own food adventures. Happy eating! 

Sam Stepp is a graduate of the journalism school. Comments, questions, recipes, suggestions? Email her at [email protected].