Dec 15, 2015

A commoner dines (and drinks) at the Old Fashioned, Madison, Wis.

One of the first places my new job sent me was Madison, Wis., and one of the first places I discovered after working hours was the Old Fashioned.  Given Wisconsin’s rich traditions of supper clubs and taverns that celebrate beer, cheese, sausage and fish frys, I couldn’t have chosen a better starting point.  

With its location in the heart of downtown, in an older building on the square that surrounds the state capitol, you’d think -- like me -- that the Old Fashioned has been a food and drink destination for all walks of life in Madison for generations.  But the reality is the Old Fashioned was established in 2005.  I think I have socks older than this place.  Nonetheless, it seems to do old-school Wisconsin very well, and it seems to always draw a diverse crowd, from suits to students, singles to families, blue collar to politicos.   

So, the Old Fashioned’s atmosphere and reputation was enough to draw me and my co-workers there to check it out.  And the quest to find the best cheese curds in town.  And the quest for good local beer.

A commoner dines at Baumgartner’s Cheese Store and Tavern, Monroe, Wis.

I wasn’t sure a place existed that could be the perfect representation of Wisconsin life, but then I traveled through Monroe, Wis., one week...