“As the Madison culinary scene continues to grow, it’s only natural to find some familiar names among the newcomers. Family connections, fresh ideas and some exciting risks are the ingredients bringing the most flavor to the city’s new restaurants.”
Best New Restaurants in Madison
Madison Magazine cover story, August 2015
Let’s be honest, some stories are just more fun than others. My assignment here was to go check out more than a dozen new restaurants that had opened in Madison proper within the past two years. Now, Madison Magazine has a stable of talented writers who specialize in food, not to mention an award winning food editor—and that’s important; each possesses the nuanced foodie pedigree and historical IQ to put local food experiences in proper context for readers. I just like to eat.
But that matters, too, because I’m not alone. If you’re going to have a successful restaurant in a thriving culinary scene like Madison, you can’t just phone it in. The bar has been set very, very high by chefs like those profiled in this package. People like me may not possess the sophisticated palettes required for proper food writing, but we’re spoiled eaters and we know excellence when we taste it. In this case, my editors wanted me for this piece because they wanted the focus to be more on the people behind the food than on the food itself. That doesn’t mean I didn’t take it upon myself as Very Important Magazine Assignment Business to sample everything I could get my hands on. It was delicious fun.
This cover story is a package divided into a half dozen stories, including The Family Business featuring brothers Gil and Ben Altschul of Grampa’s Pizzeria, Gib’s Bar and the Tip Top Tavern; The Rarest Success, the story of Jack and Julie Sosnowski and their fourth and fifth restaurants together, Rare Steakhouse and Freiburg Gastropub; Time to Chill, featuring Tory Miller as he reflects on turning 40 and opening both Sujeo and Estrellon; Old Meets New at Cento, highlighting Chef Michael Pruett; Whole Hog, a Q&A with Heritage Tavern‘s Dan Fox, Madison Magazine’s 2013 Chef of the Year; Global Tastes, featuring Sol’s on the Square, La Taguara, MSCo Patisserie, Layla’s Persian, Surco Peruvian, and Mezze; and Opening Soon, previewing Tavernakaya, Julep and Middlewest.
—Maggie Ginsberg is an award-winning freelance writer in Madison, Wisconsin