SCORE BIGAt These Game Day Hangouts
Illustration by Becky Fay
With upscale digs, savory food and prime crowd watching, these posh digs are comfy places to cheer on the home team.
The term “farm fresh” is no exaggeration since Chef Mike Magee took the reins at The Wise. His southern, Creole-inspired menu is a throwback to his Louisiana roots and initial culinary apprenticeships in New Orleans. Eco-conscious to the core, this soulful restaurant minimizes food waste by encouraging guests to share an assortment of small appetizers like the mouth-watering sweet potato gnocchi or the hearty duck poutine. Opt to have dessert in liquid form with a Coy Roy, a potent cocktail created with allspice liqueur, tequila and maple syrup. Then, settle in for the remainder of a relaxing and satisfying group dining experience on the patio—when it’s warm enough—or in the recently revamped digs indoors. thewiserestaurant.com.
If you’re looking for an ego boost, head down to the corner of Gorham and State where the rule at HopCat is that everyone gets carded no matter what. With the colorful and graffiti embellished walls and ’80s alternative music playing, the ambiance alone is enough to make you feel youthful. As its name implies, HopCat features more than 30 Wisconsin-brewed beers daily like Ale Asylum’s Hopalicious, a lighter, citrusy blend and Lakefront Brewery’s coffee-enriched Fuel Café. Venture beyond beer and try their award-winning crack fries, which are beer-battered and dusted with black pepper seasoning. Crack fries come as the side to almost every item on the menu, and are truly addictive. Consider yourself warned.
MAD CITY FRITES
Mad City Frites turns your favorite snack into an entire meal, and the result is sweet—or in this case salty. At just 22, Madison native and owner Taylor Beebe brings a youthful energy to her location, melding classic dining with fast-paced service. Ordering is a three-step process, where you select frites, sauces and drinks from their chalkboard menu. While their sleek interior entices you to sit down and enjoy frites and a beer, you can also take these salty snacks on the road. Served in a paper cone, their frites are perfect for munching on as you stroll down State Street. Choose ketchup, mustard or malt vinegar for free, or try one of their 14 specialty sauces like the savory Picnic Point Pesto.
Feeling ambitious? Try the Mad City Extreme Frites. The Grand Frites are topped with beer cheese, bacon and green onion. Enjoy! madcityfrites.com.
THE MADISON BLIND
Madison Blind’s head chef Chris Cubberley carefully crafts and revamps his menu seasonally based on ingredients from local farmers and area markets. The result is a bevy of luxury comfort food at the Graduate Hotel’s rooftop restaurant. Robust burgers for omnivores and vegans alike, brussel sprouts dusted with bacon and the scrumptious duck fat fries almost fill the belly from their delectable aromas alone. Order a glass of the house-infused orange mint white sangria or the mixology gem Madison Mule—an inventive fusion of mint, ginger beer and Death’s Door Vodka—to enjoy game day fun and the breathtaking view in style. graduatemadison.com.