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Supper Club recommendations in Madison WI?

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gastro nomad Jan 14, 2012 07:01 PM

It's the classic Madison experience--but to be honest some of the supper clubs look a bit scary from the outside!

Any recommendations for supper clubs?

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  1. Monch RE: gastro nomad Jan 16, 2012 07:31 AM

    GN,

    I gather, from your posts, that you're soon to be, or have just become, a resident...WELCOME!

    The supper club genre is a favorite of ours!

    Before I start giving opinions, do you have any problems with driving or "dives"?

    When I say driving, perhaps 45 minutes one-way?

    Any help you can offer, with these parameters, will be appreciated.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Monch
      g
      gastro nomad RE: Monch Jan 16, 2012 11:24 AM

      Totally willing to drive for a "quinessential" experience. Dives are great, especially when the food is good.
      Willing to drive 45 min one-way, but prefer something within 20 mins of Madison.

      What makes up a "supper club" experience, and who does it well? I'd be interested in classic versions and re-interpreted versions.

      Any and all advice very welcome!

    2. Fowler RE: gastro nomad Jan 16, 2012 10:38 AM

      As always, I agree with Monch. Would you be willing to provide some additional detail so we may help you find what you are looking for? It really depends what you are seeking in a "Supper Club".

      12 Replies
      1. re: Fowler
        g
        gastro nomad RE: Fowler Jan 16, 2012 11:29 AM

        Great questions--I think I don't know enough to even know what questions to ask.

        Are there elements of a supper club that one should look for? I love the old ones where
        it seems like folks have been going there for decades. Does anyone do a new version that preserves the best of the traditions, but adds something new? I'd be interested in both.

        Thanks for your help!

        1. re: gastro nomad
          s
          shaja RE: gastro nomad Jan 16, 2012 03:26 PM

          There was a very good documentary on PBS last year called "Wisconsin Supper Clubs" that I think you'd enjoy. I found the director's website at http://www.supperclubmovie.com/index....; keep an eye on the PBS schedule for when they'll air it again. He filmed at places all over the state trying to answer your very questions. In Madison, he filmed at The Old Fashioned and Tornado. Locally, he also filmed at a place called the Liberty Inn in Beloit (check out his special guest and supper club fan - Bun E. Carlos of Cheap Trick!)

          To me, supper clubs have always been the old-school experience - heavy on meat and potatoes (and a good Friday fish fry), never-ending relish trays, full variety cracker basket with cheese spread, hot rolls right out of the oven, soup AND salad courses, classic cocktails (including a kiddie cocktail to make the small fry feel grown-up), leisurely dining surrounded by friends and neighbors,. Good and comfortable.

          My favorite - and I've been going to it since I was a little kid - is out of your preferred range, but I'm giving it a shout-out anyway if anyone feels like a drive. The Big Foot Inn, literally a few feet over the Wisconsin-Illinois border about 20 minutes southwest of Lake Geneva.

          1. re: shaja
            Monch RE: shaja Jan 16, 2012 08:45 PM

            I have seen the documentary Shaja mentions and agree with it in most aspects. It IS a good introduction to this genre of restaurant.

            With the permission of the OP, and others, I'll give my two cents in two installments:
            1) My opinions about the genre
            2) Some opinions on places to hit - Four of us (two couples) spent about three years hitting as many supper clubs as possible. I even asked about supper clubs, here on the board and got ZERO input.

            Here's my take on the genre.
            - It has to be family owned...no chains. It can have been sold to another owner, but the new owner PROBABLY has an abiding respect for the history in which they have invested.
            - It has to be "older"...say reaching back to the Sixties at the most recent and back into the Thirties/Forties, at best...with few owners over that time. Traditions must endure.
            - It has to have a great bar. Gotta be able to cool your heels, waiting for the hostess to come find you, while sipping a cocktail. The quintessential supper club cocktail, by the way, is an Old Fashioned. I prefer mine "Whiskey Pres" but "Brandy Sweet" is much more common.
            - Paper table cloths and stacking vinyl padded chairs are most common.
            - Salad bar first; Relish tray/glass, if not. I prefer the salad bar and it really HAS to be simple iceberg mix for the base. From there, you'll probably find grated cheese, peas, garbanzos, and other straightforward additions....croutons, Bac-Ohs, and sunflower kernels on the end. Dressings will be ranch, bleu cheese, french, and maybe thousand island. BETWEEN the tossed salad fixings and the toppers will be OTHER offerings...macaroni salad, pickled herring, cottage cheese. Finally, if you're in JUST the right place, there will be a brick of sharp cheddar off of which you can carve slices...you take THOSE back to eat with the basket of cellophane wrapped crackers and breadsticks...if you're offered "Euphrates" crackers, you have hit the supper club motherlode.
            - Relish tray/glass - Most common is a pint glass with ice water. Into that is stuffed carrot sticks, celery stalks, radishes and, done right, a sweet cherry pepper or two on top. The relish tray seems to be rare.
            - The menu - It is unchanging...as are the specials. They do this menu over and over, and they do it well. Fridays will be fish fry, Saturdays will be prime rib. On the menu itself will be straightforward meat entrees with potato offerings...if the server says they have good hashbrowns, you can probably believe it...go that way. You'll also be offered either the veg of the day or rice pilaf. Chicken, beef, duck...all the main protiens made simply...not haute cuisine...just a set of offerings that appeal to their clientele.
            - The clientele - It's not us Hounds. It's the rock-solid folks that live and work in town. They come to this place, most likely, because their folks brought them there. It is PROBABLY right around the corner from home. Do NOT be offended if they seem to get noticably better service (especially from the bartender). THESE are the folks that keep this place humming month in and month out.

            All this said, I'm going to take issue with one Madison-based establishment that made the documentary. The Old-Fashioned is a fabulous place. I know one of the owners. It has great Wisconsin tavern inspired offerings. However, it is NOT a supper club. It just does not meet enough of the criteria. Please, however, go there and enjoy. It hearkens to the "two county highways intersect" country taverns, but with killer food!

            I have several Madison, and Madison-adjacent, offerings...but fingers are tiring.

            Hope I have not overstayed my welcome, already.

            1. re: Monch
              Monch RE: Monch Jan 16, 2012 08:54 PM

              Oh, forgot one thing..had to come back down and log on..

              - The establishment itself - It is PROBABLY a stand-alone structure. Often it's away from town. Those out in the country, or along a lake, are all that's left of a small resort that some ancestor started "back in the day". So, it is a DESTINATION. You don't typically find yourself walking past a supper club and just walking in to try it.

              All of the preceding (and what will follow, if interest remains) is my observation over thirty years. I'm a transplant from Waukegan, Illinois to Wausau, Wisconsin. That was back in the late '70s. I was in high school and had never HEARD of such a thing as a fish fry. One trip to The Village Inn, in Marathon, with unending offerings of fried cod, made a convert of me. Since then, I have lived my entire life on this side of "The Cheddar Curtain", never to call myself a "Flat-Lander" again...FIB by birth and Cheesehead by choice.

              Similarly, my wife is a Central Wisconsin native and shares my passion for this genre.

              She's the best.

              Later,

              1. re: Monch
                s
                shaja RE: Monch Jan 17, 2012 06:04 AM

                AMEN!!!

                So glad you called out the inclusion of The Old Fashioned in the documentary. I didn't get why the director picked it either.

                1. re: Monch
                  f
                  Fydeaux RE: Monch Jan 17, 2012 07:02 AM

                  As a child in the late 50s/early 60s, we frequently visited my grandparents who lived in Marinette [Northeast WI, near the U.P.], and a visit to one of the area's many supper clubs was a regular feature of each and every visit. Red'n'Ed's, Grabby's, The Dome, probably a few others with names lost to memory.

                  Monch, your descriptions are letter perfect, right down to the kiddie cocktail. Manhattans, Old Fashioneds, Whiskey Sours abounded, and these were the first places I can remember ever seeing a woman smoke in real life. There would also have been a jukebox with Perry Como, Patti Page, Dean Martin, maybe Nat King Cole, and maybe Louis Armstrong, but only 'Hello Dolly'. Curiously (or maybe not), I cant remember seeing a TV set in the bars at any of these places. Nobody would have been able to hear it anyway, over the jukebox (I'm not sure if anyone other than me was listening to it anyway) and always loud conversation.

                  There would also have been some kind of coin-operated game (probably not a pinball machine; they made too much noise), something like one of those bowling games that used a metal puck-type of thing that you would slide down the lane and the pins would fold upwards if you 'hit' them.

                  The Dome, by the way, would have been an exception to your stand-alone building rule, as it was part of a motel complex that had an indoor pool and maybe a dimly remembered bowling alley.

                  Celophane wrapped breadsticks: I remember dipping the ends in butter and then holding them in my mouth like a cigarette, because all these sophisticated people around me were smoking (yet somehow, I never did become a smoker). I'm sure I first tasted [baked] barbeque ribs at one of these places, but I wouldnt have liked the sauce back then. And the salad bar would have also had little crab apples, canned fruit cocktail, and apple sauce. The basket of rolls and crackers brought to the table, in addition to the breadsticks, and if you were lucky, also have melba toast.

                  All this brings something to the fore that you vaguely alluded to: Through the mists of memory, the supper club experience is great nostalgia, but NOT a great food experience. Nothing either of us have described is something that would pass as Chow-worthy.

                  Never the less, as a recollection of what would have been a classic fine dining experience in small-town Wisconsin in 1959, this cant be beat!

                  1. re: Monch
                    g
                    gastro nomad RE: Monch Jan 17, 2012 03:57 PM

                    Wow! Thanks, and thanks! Very helpful!

                    1. re: gastro nomad
                      Monch RE: gastro nomad Jan 17, 2012 06:10 PM

                      Installment #2 – Supper clubs of Madison and the vicinity
                      My wife and I, with friends, have been to the following supper clubs. Some of them were visited only once and quite awhile ago.
                      Kavanaugh’s Esquire Club – Madison - http://www.esquireclubmadison.com/ - I start with Kavanaugh’s because, as I remember it, it is very approachable. It is right in town and we had a great time. My steak was nice and it hits all the notes of “supper club”.
                      Ishnala – Baraboo - http://www.ishnala.com/ - This is a beautiful place and a fantastic drive. I remember having the half duck special and being nicely surprised. GREAT bar overlooking Mirror Lake. Suggest making this part of a day “up in the Dells”. Maybe after a hike around Devil’s Lake…
                      Feil’s Supper Club – Randolph – No Website – This place has a definitive German bent. Great German offerings and a nice salad bar. The bar is also great with quirky booths attached to the bar…hard to describe, you have to see them. We were OBVIOUSLY not locals/regulars and got noticed by the bartender…who turned out to be the owner. Turns out that this building popped up while the nearby railroad was being built. The offerings were different then…cathouse!
                      Feiler’s – Madison - http://www.feilersrestaurant.com/ - OK, this place is a hoot and a DIVE. It has been in its location so long that the big box stores around it have SURROUNDED it. You have to look for it and when you find it, it looks like a big brown “double-wide”. We have been twice and have felt very welcome both times. First time we were notable as “the people who called for a reservation” and fawned over by the hostess! MOST memorably my wife declared that they had served her “the best Old-Fashioned….EVER”. I will not argue. Also memorable were the perfectly triangular “blue gills” that she ordered on a Friday. Look back to the beginning of this description…dive.
                      Cimaroli’s – Portage - http://www.cimarolis.com/ - When first we pinged off this place, it was, of all things, an all you can eat seafood buffet. While we are not “all you can cram” diners, it was fun. Where else can I get raw bar like that? “Would you like to add a lobster for $10?” Sadly that iteration burned. From there, they rebuilt and are now known for GREAT value and steaks. Probably not hitting on all the supper club cylinders, but what the heck.
                      Pyramid/Nile Club – Beaver Dam – Closed, but have to tell the story. Not good drinks, really bad food. The place is in the middle of nowhere and is/was a 40 foot pyramid…actually a pyramid. The décor in the bar was a highlight. Shiny electric blue sparkly vinyl booths and bar stools. They were in immaculate condition and a collector would probably value these accessories at 50% of the value of the place. Called their badly made popovers “mana” and made their waitresses wear chainmail coifs….wow. Putting THAT memory back where it belongs.
                      Elias Inn – Watertown – No Website – Great bar. They lost our reservation, so we had to eat at a bar table. The highlight was the quirky relish tray..not a salad bar and not the relish glass.
                      OK, time for intermission and disclaimers. With the exception of Kavanaugh’s, what I’ve described have been either novelties or out of Madison. As has been noted in the thread, previously, there is nothing “chow-worthy”, here. The fare is, appropriately, aimed at the regulars..as well it should be.
                      These last two are right in Madison, and I can recommend them. Best will be for last.
                      Smokey’s Club – Madison - http://smokysclub.com/smokys.htm - One of the best bars in Madison…if anyone knows differently, please let me know. Bob and Remo know their stuff. Please, PLEASE let Bob make you some kind of “martini”. I put that in quotes, only because I’m a purist as to what is a “martini”. Have a nice relaxing time at the bar and then to the table. They do steaks well! Their hashbrowns are, in my opinion, transcendent. They had some rocky times after Smokey passed, but they are back!
                      Tornado – Madison - http://tornadosteakhouse.com/ - We love…LOVE this place. Again, the bar is fantastic and the bartenders are great. The relish glass is “normal” but the bread basket is fantastic. When you go, go with a little extra in your dining budget. Get the “bone in tenderloin”. If you’re a dyed in the wool carnivore, you’ll thank me.
                      Sorry to ramble on. These are our experiences and observations. I hope I’ve not led anyone astray.
                      Final reminder….Supper clubs are experiences, not CUILINARY experiences, just experiences.
                      Cheers.

                  2. re: shaja
                    s
                    SupperClubMovie RE: shaja Jan 24, 2012 01:27 PM

                    Thanks for mentioning the movie "Wisconsin Supper Clubs: An Old Fashioned Experience". It will be on PBS (both WI and Nationally) for a couple more years. It is also being screened at the Beloit International Film Festival 2012, on February 17 & 18. I will be hosting a Q&A after the shows. http://tinyurl.com/7buyreq

                    I'm enjoying reading the thread, hearing about places and the fond memories. Plus any comments on the film.

                    Regarding the inclusion of Madison's Old Fashioned in the Supper Club documentary, I liked what they were doing there and as the traditional places are disappearing, I thought that the Old Fashioned might represent the future.

                    Hope you all don't mind that I stopped in to comment. I'll leave you with a photo a friend sent to me of "Prime Rib for Two" from Schwarz's in St. Anna just after the movie was on TV.

                    Cheers,
                    Ron

                     
                    1. re: SupperClubMovie
                      Monch RE: SupperClubMovie Jan 24, 2012 01:43 PM

                      Ron,

                      Thanks for stopping by. I loved the documentary and am grateful that you made it.

                      Hopefully it will contribute to the ongoing success and preservation of this genre of restaurants. It's one that is so dear to so many of us.

                      No offense was intended, as to The Old Fashioned inclusion...I "get" your explanation.

                      1. re: Monch
                        s
                        SupperClubMovie RE: Monch Jan 24, 2012 03:53 PM

                        Thank you, I hope they continue to be a Wisconsin tradition. I know the places in the movie have told me they've had a big increase in business. I've also met people that are doing supper club tours based on the film, which is great.

                        No offense taken on the OF comments. I do like hearing what people think.

                        1. re: SupperClubMovie
                          s
                          shaja RE: SupperClubMovie Jan 25, 2012 04:41 PM

                          I'm also glad you stopped in to the board and for the clarification on why you included OF. I didn't pick up on that tradition/future theme when I saw your movie, and knowing it now gives me a new appreciation for the contrast between the two Madison sites. Thanks!

              2. t
                TJ Jackson RE: gastro nomad Jan 17, 2012 11:30 AM

                I do not mean to hijack this thread, but I think any discussion my question produces may benefit the original poster.

                Please bear with me while I explain the background): back in 2000 I worked for a Cincinnati based company (now out of business) called Mosler, most famous for manufacturing bank vaults and safes. Mosler had a sales conference in Madison that year, and we were put up at a hotel called the Edgewater. One night, the local sales guys drove us from the Edgewater (the drive took between 5 and 10 minutes) to what looked to be a straightforward bar (possibly a sports bar, my memory is fuzzy on this detail) in a standalone building with one way streets on either side, but I now believe to be a supper club. After some drinks and snacks on the first floor, we were led downstairs to tables covered with white tablecloths and offered a choice of a steak, a chicken dish of some kind, and a vegetarian dish of some kind. I had the chicken, but the folks who had the steaks were treated to what I''l describe as virtually a cube of meat a good 3 inches high.

                It is my hope to one day get back to Madison to find and consume one of those steaks, but I have NO idea what the place is or was called.

                Finally, my question: do any of you have any idea as to what the name of this place might have been (or hopefully, is)?

                51 Replies
                1. re: TJ Jackson
                  Monch RE: TJ Jackson Jan 17, 2012 12:32 PM

                  Wow, TJ.

                  You have me stumped. But it SEEMS, by your description, that you might have been a largish group, and that is why you were escorted to a separate dining space.

                  If you don't mind me picking your brain, can you describe whether you were in a more urban area of town, or on the outskirts? Madison is so compact that you can get a ways from The Edgewater in ten minutes.

                  Do you have ANY clues from the upstairs interior?

                  More clues, the better...I'll work hard to get you back there, my friend!

                  1. re: Monch
                    t
                    TJ Jackson RE: Monch Jan 17, 2012 12:40 PM

                    Fair enough

                    The upper area was no bigger than a large fast food restaurant, and was nearly perfectly square, and was/is fairly old. The bar was a large square area in the center. There was parking on both sides of the building, and the streets to either side went one way.

                    1. re: TJ Jackson
                      Monch RE: TJ Jackson Jan 17, 2012 12:43 PM

                      Maybe?: http://www.wonderbarmadison.com/

                      1. re: Monch
                        t
                        TJ Jackson RE: Monch Jan 18, 2012 06:25 AM

                        Based on the picture on the webpage you liked, no, Wonderbar is not it, but thank you for the submission.

                        1. re: TJ Jackson
                          Monch RE: TJ Jackson Jan 18, 2012 07:02 AM

                          I'll keep wracking my brain, Stonewall.

                          If I have flashes of brilliance, I'll post!

                      2. re: TJ Jackson
                        jumble RE: TJ Jackson Jan 18, 2012 10:52 AM

                        Maybe Tornado? http://tornadosteakhouse.com/

                        1. re: jumble
                          Monch RE: jumble Jan 18, 2012 11:52 AM

                          Thought of that, but were I to hit them for the first time, I would NOT perceive them to be a square, stand-alone, structure...but everyone perceives differently!

                          1. re: jumble
                            t
                            TJ Jackson RE: jumble Jan 18, 2012 03:33 PM

                            I did street view of the address listed for Tornado - no thats not, it, it was freestanding with windows on all sides and open space around it. Again, my thanks for the suggestion regardless, all suggestions are much appreciated.

                            1. re: TJ Jackson
                              Monch RE: TJ Jackson Jan 18, 2012 05:23 PM

                              Any chance of back-channeling the info of the sponsors of the dinner? If they're still around, we might hit jackpot!

                              1. re: Monch
                                jumble RE: Monch Jan 18, 2012 05:47 PM

                                Monch, that's a great idea. I've been wracking my tiny little brain - was it:

                                East Side Business Club? Not on one-ways, and being on the lake would have been obvious. http://esbma.com/

                                Smoky's? Also not on one-ways, but University Ave. is a big enough boulevard to seem like it. Also all on one level. http://smokysclub.com/

                                Stamm House? Not on one-ways, but definitely on a couple levels. More than 10 minutes from Edgewater. Now closed. http://www.delicious.com/madisonatoz/...

                                Something in the Von Rutenberg family? http://www.vrv-madison.com/

                                1. re: Monch
                                  t
                                  TJ Jackson RE: Monch Jan 19, 2012 09:41 AM

                                  I have not had contact with any of the Mosler sales staff since they closed up abruptly in 2001, nor do I have any contact info, so sorry, no can do......

                        2. re: TJ Jackson
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                          TheBookPolice RE: TJ Jackson Jan 19, 2012 07:27 AM

                          I put this question to the posters at The Daily Page's Forum, many of whom are virtual encyclopedias of Madison geography and history.

                          As of now, they've come to the same impasse as the 'hounds here.

                          http://www.thedailypage.com/forum/vie...

                          1. re: TheBookPolice
                            t
                            TJ Jackson RE: TheBookPolice Jan 19, 2012 09:39 AM

                            I enjoyed reading that discussion, and I really, REALLY appreciate you going the extra mile to post that there.

                            To respond to some of what is discussed there:

                            1) No, I did not imbibe any adult beverages that night at all :-)

                            2) Google streetview of the Esquire rules that one out, and I will eagerly check the other suggestions that were mentioned as I get breaks here at work throughout the day

                            1. re: TJ Jackson
                              t
                              TheBookPolice RE: TJ Jackson Jan 19, 2012 12:30 PM

                              The Forons feel like they've landed on an answer: The Crescent City Grill, which was adjoining to the Luther's Blues music venue. It actually opened in 2000 according to this article (http://host.madison.com/news/article_...), and unfortunately for your quest, it closed in 2005.

                              Its address was 1202 W. Dayton St. Ringing any bells?

                              1. re: TheBookPolice
                                Monch RE: TheBookPolice Jan 19, 2012 12:42 PM

                                You may be onto something.

                                My recollection of Crescent City is that it had an open concept.

                                The kitchen ran down one whole wall of the space and seating was at a bar facing the kitchen AND also table seating ACROSS from the kitchen space.

                                It was, indeed, downstairs from Luther's and the stand-alone building is rather triangular, TJJ.

                                TBP, does my description of the restaurant ring true to your crew?

                                1. re: Monch
                                  Monch RE: Monch Jan 19, 2012 12:49 PM

                                  Photos taken inside Crescent City:

                                  http://junkchest.blogspot.com/2004/11...

                                  1. re: Monch
                                    t
                                    TJ Jackson RE: Monch Jan 19, 2012 05:01 PM

                                    Checked the address in Google streetview, and confirmed Crescent City is not it. This looks like part of a university campus, and no such buildings were around.

                                    1. re: TJ Jackson
                                      t
                                      TJ Jackson RE: TJ Jackson Jan 19, 2012 05:09 PM

                                      Looked at the streetview for Fyfes, which is listed as being at 1344 E Washington Ave and thats not it either

                                      1. re: TJ Jackson
                                        t
                                        TJ Jackson RE: TJ Jackson Jan 19, 2012 05:11 PM

                                        The Eastside Club is out because it was not on the edge of a lake, river, or any other body of water.

                                        1. re: TJ Jackson
                                          t
                                          TJ Jackson RE: TJ Jackson Jan 19, 2012 05:15 PM

                                          Viewed streetview for Smokey's, and it is not Smokey's because this place had glass windows all the way around, all 4 sides, and sat further back from the street

                                          1. re: TJ Jackson
                                            t
                                            TheBookPolice RE: TJ Jackson Jan 19, 2012 05:25 PM

                                            Are you sure it wasn't the restaurant currently known as the Wonder Bar? Back then it wasn't called that, probably the Bar Next Door. It's set back, it's a standalone...

                                            1. re: TheBookPolice
                                              t
                                              TJ Jackson RE: TheBookPolice Jan 20, 2012 05:33 AM

                                              to TheBookPolice: definitely not Wonder Bar. The place in question had only one ground floor, not two, and big glass pane windows all around

                                          2. re: TJ Jackson
                                            t
                                            TJ Jackson RE: TJ Jackson Jan 19, 2012 05:19 PM

                                            Looked at streetview for Stamm House. No luck there either. The place I am looking for had one story above ground (this has two) and glass windows all the way around

                                            1. re: TJ Jackson
                                              Monch RE: TJ Jackson Jan 19, 2012 05:26 PM

                                              LOL, you are a trooper, Stonewall...we MIGHT get there, but be assured we'll keep trying

                                            2. re: TJ Jackson
                                              t
                                              TJ Jackson RE: TJ Jackson Jan 19, 2012 05:26 PM

                                              Looked at the streetview for Johnny O's, which shows on google to be at 620 University Ave, and this isn't it either - not a square freestanding building

                                              1. re: TJ Jackson
                                                Monch RE: TJ Jackson Jan 19, 2012 05:31 PM

                                                ANY more clues, from your memory, TJJ? You are driving us crazy and we desperately want to help!

                                                1. re: Monch
                                                  t
                                                  TJ Jackson RE: Monch Jan 20, 2012 05:36 AM

                                                  Sorry Monch. I want to give more clues, trust me :-), but I just dont have'em. If anyone's been a trooper in all this, it's been all the contributors.

                                                2. re: TJ Jackson
                                                  Monch RE: TJ Jackson Jan 19, 2012 05:33 PM

                                                  Madison posters....any chance they went to CJ's, corner of Stoughton and Cottage Grove...I don't know if they had a basement.

                                                3. re: TJ Jackson
                                                  t
                                                  TJ Jackson RE: TJ Jackson Jan 19, 2012 05:40 PM

                                                  I was able to get a very good look at Toby's on Streetview, but this is not it either

                                                  1. re: TJ Jackson
                                                    t
                                                    TJ Jackson RE: TJ Jackson Jan 19, 2012 05:43 PM

                                                    Got a good look at Greenbush Bar at 914 Regent Street on streetview, and this is not it - further back from the street and windows all around on the ground level

                                                    1. re: TJ Jackson
                                                      t
                                                      TJ Jackson RE: TJ Jackson Jan 20, 2012 05:47 AM

                                                      Over in the other forum one person said it has to be Great Dane. I found four locations, streetviewed them all, and none of them are it.

                                                    2. re: TJ Jackson
                                                      t
                                                      TJ Jackson RE: TJ Jackson Jan 19, 2012 05:48 PM

                                                      I was unable to get a reference on Google to "the White Horse" in Madison

                                                      1. re: TJ Jackson
                                                        t
                                                        TJ Jackson RE: TJ Jackson Jan 19, 2012 05:52 PM

                                                        Also not Green Lantern, which shows to be at 4412 Siggelkow Rd, McFarland - there was no body of water nearby, only one story aboveground, and glass pane windows all around.

                                                        1. re: TJ Jackson
                                                          t
                                                          TJ Jackson RE: TJ Jackson Jan 19, 2012 06:02 PM

                                                          I think I have checked all the leads and answered any questions asked to this point. If I haven't please re-prompt me, and again......i cannot thank everyone who has provided a possible answer enough. I really, really appreciate it.

                                                          Oh, and the other thread is very entertaining and informative as well. I offer my same praises there as here. I was smiling and nodding my head as I read "Hate to have the poor guy reduced to tears when he finds out the chef moved on two years later." Absolutely a possibility, but the cooking was fairly simple, just damn good, so I'm not sure a change in chef would have mattered.

                                                          1. re: TJ Jackson
                                                            Monch RE: TJ Jackson Jan 19, 2012 06:06 PM

                                                            Stonewall, as I remember, you were in search of a transcendent hunk of beef...

                                                            If we cannot get you to the exact Holy Grail...go to Tornado, and order the "Bone in Tenderloin"...IMO the best piece of beef offered in Madison.

                                                            We look forward to hosting you, and your memory of us, again.

                                                            1. re: Monch
                                                              t
                                                              TJ Jackson RE: Monch Jan 20, 2012 05:30 AM

                                                              I will certainly seek out Tornado when/if I am in Madison. I do certainly intend to get back there someday

                                                        2. re: Monch
                                                          t
                                                          TJ Jackson RE: Monch Jan 19, 2012 05:33 PM

                                                          I could not find a good streetview or picture of Restaurant Magnus, but the descriptions online (scandanavian?) does not sound right

                                                          1. re: TJ Jackson
                                                            Monch RE: TJ Jackson Jan 19, 2012 05:36 PM

                                                            Back then it was not Scandi...was South American influence.

                                                            Protein was forward on the menu. Foyer on right, to bar on right, to OPEN concept dining on left...now Tempest Oyster Bar...

                                                            1. re: Monch
                                                              t
                                                              TJ Jackson RE: Monch Jan 20, 2012 05:39 AM

                                                              Google Streetview for Tempest Oyster Bar shows me the entrance of a parking garage.....I'm guessing Google maps has bad data here? If on the other hand CJ's is indeed inside the parking garage, then no, this is not the place.

                                                            2. re: TJ Jackson
                                                              danna RE: TJ Jackson Jan 24, 2012 02:26 PM

                                                              Magnus was latin-ish last time I was there (4-5 years) and is recently closed, if i'm not mistaken.

                                                              1. re: danna
                                                                Monch RE: danna Jan 24, 2012 02:31 PM

                                                                Yup, Magnus was historically South American. Then became Scandinavian...then closed.

                                                                Now the space is occupied by "Tempest Oyster Bar" and I've heard good things.

                                                                We're going to Tempest on 2/11/12 and I'll give a report.

                                                            3. re: Monch
                                                              t
                                                              TJ Jackson RE: Monch Jan 19, 2012 05:36 PM

                                                              I was able to get a good look on streetview of The Avenue at 1128 E Washington Ave, but no, not it

                                                            4. re: Monch
                                                              t
                                                              TJ Jackson RE: Monch Jan 19, 2012 05:55 PM

                                                              I could not find a streetview for CJ's. Got pics?

                                                              1. re: TJ Jackson
                                                                jumble RE: TJ Jackson Jan 25, 2012 11:33 AM

                                                                CJ's became a Mexicali Rose, and is now Talula:

                                                                http://www.flickr.com/photos/jumble/5...

                                                                Before it was bright pink, one outside wall looked like this: http://www.madisonatoz.com/2005/04/cj...

                                                                (with apologies for the self-links)

                                                                1. re: jumble
                                                                  t
                                                                  TJ Jackson RE: jumble Jan 25, 2012 05:53 PM

                                                                  Not CJ's, but thanks for the submission

                                                        3. re: TheBookPolice
                                                          t
                                                          TJ Jackson RE: TheBookPolice Jan 25, 2012 10:49 AM

                                                          Sadly, on this other thread, a poster named Ducatista has implied I am just asking about this to send folks on the wild goose chase. Nothing could be further from the truth - I really and truly hope to learn the name of this place with the end goal of revisiting. I am sorry he/she feels that way.

                                                          1. re: TheBookPolice
                                                            t
                                                            TJ Jackson RE: TheBookPolice Jan 25, 2012 10:54 AM

                                                            On the other thread, one new suggestion is Tony Franks. I did a streetview of the property at 1612 Seminole Highway and that was/is not the place. Again, this suggestion is much appreciated, as are all of them

                                                            1. re: TheBookPolice
                                                              t
                                                              TJ Jackson RE: TheBookPolice Jan 25, 2012 10:56 AM

                                                              Another recent suggestion on the other thread is Delaney's at 449 Grand Canyon Dr. Streetviewed it, and no. Again, the suggestion is much appreciated

                                                            2. re: TJ Jackson
                                                              t
                                                              TJ Jackson RE: TJ Jackson Jan 30, 2012 06:00 PM

                                                              With activity having essentially ended on both threads, I wanted to send out a very warm and sincere thank you to all who provided suggestions, as well as those who gave it some time and thought but did not come up with anything. It was (and is) very much appreciated.

                                                              If you someday see an old man in a car with Ohio license plates driving slowly around in the streets of Madison stopping to look at every bar and supper club, yell HEY TJ! at the guy.......he'll appreciate it, I'm sure

                                                              1. re: TJ Jackson
                                                                Monch RE: TJ Jackson Jan 30, 2012 06:07 PM

                                                                Happy chowing, wherever you are, TJ!

                                                                1. re: TJ Jackson
                                                                  Fowler RE: TJ Jackson Jan 30, 2012 07:43 PM

                                                                  TJ,

                                                                  Sometimes a fond memory of Madison is just that...a fond memory that can be kept alive and not something one should try to replicate.

                                                                  Best wishes.

                                                              2. k
                                                                KdogandSkot RE: gastro nomad Jan 17, 2012 06:19 PM

                                                                Go here.

                                                                -----
                                                                Smoky's Steakhouse
                                                                3005 University Ave, Madison, WI 53705

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