Over the years, State Street, the walkway to the Capitol, has undergone quite a few changes, to say the least.
Most recently, State Street has notably become more corporate, with chain restaurants and national clothing stores beginning to rub shoulders with, and replace, local eateries and shops.
Regardless of personal opinion of what belongs on the street, it’s best to stay caught up, and these three recent additions to State Street’s businesses are bound to shake up the ever-shifting boulevard.
Originally due to open in the fall, people eagerly awaited the opening the Madison branch of national chain Glaze Teriyaki, or Glaze for short. Then fall became winter, winter gave way to spring, and finally, it wasn’t until the dog days of June that Glaze finally opened its doors.
Perhaps making up for lost time, Glaze opened with a pay-what-you-want day with all the proceeds admirably going to charity. This, as is to be expected, drew lines that stretched down the block, thoroughly integrating Glaze into the minds of Madison’s food lovers.
Glaze attempts to achieve the best of both worlds, the convenience of a fast-casual joint with the quality and atmosphere of a fancy sit-down restaurant. They mostly get this right, as their interior is delightfully quirky and their sit-down dishes are plated gorgeously and quickly — the food definitely satisfies the palate.
The only issue for many diners might be the price, with an entree with meat starting at $8. In Glaze’s defense, every ingredient is locally sourced when possible, and it certainly does its best to justify its price with the atmosphere and friendly service it provides patrons.
Don’t Ask Why and Tailgate
Operating under the umbrella of clothing giant American Eagle, Don’t Ask Why and Tailgate are two separate clothing stores under one roof, with a trendy coffee shop bridging the two.
Tailgate is a University of Wisconsin apparel store, joining what was already an abundance of similar businesses in the area. Tailgate, however, is truly a breath of fresh air. It offers vintage-inspired T-shirts and quirky collector’s items that stand apart from the sportswear-dominated collections similar stores offer.
Tailgate smartly partnered with local bars and restaurants, selling T-shirts so Madison locals can rep their favorite watering hole. Some of the proceeds even make their way back to the original businesses — a genuinely nice gesture from a corporate entity.
Don’t Ask Why is more an American Eagle women’s fashion collection than its own store. Its quirk is that everything is made in one size, a move that’s intended to prompt customers to wear their clothes in a care-free, DIY fashion — hence the store’s name.
Their clothes are largely “festival-inspired,” which places it directly in competition with the Urban Outfitters across the street, and with similar price tags.
It’s also worth mentioning the coffee shop in the middle of the two stored. Its interior and menu feels as if it were transported straight out of Brooklyn, emphasized by its decorations, tiled floor and no-nonsense menu. It’s a cute place with minimal seats, and should be a fiercely competitive studying spot during the school year.
Replacing the recently-closed Madison Sweets, Dough Baby is a smart, stream-lined and attractive doughnut shop and bakery that’s poised to give neighborhood staple Greenbush Bakery a run for its money.
Best of all, its owners are three women who are also Madison locals. Kristine Miller started the project after she took a break from her job as a pastry chef at Madison food haven Graze to care for her now 2-year-old son, the inspiration behind the bakery’s name.
Miller and company let their food speak for itself, offering a small range of items that’s roughly 50 percent doughnuts and 50 percent other baked goods, including cookies, hand pies and mini-cakes.
Another emphasis of Dough Baby is to be as close to 100 percent organic and refined as possible, most notably opting to fry their dough in coconut oil, rather than traditional canola oil, to give the donuts a fresher quality, Miller said.