By Candice Wagener | Photo courtesy Travel Wisconsin
Ice Cream at Babcock Dairy Store
Tucked away on the west side of UW–Madison’s campus, Babcock Hall is a sure spot to garner some summer smiles. Not only do they have top-notch ice cream (orange custard chocolate chip is the stuff), but their deli offers a nice variety of hot and cold sandwiches, too. And you’re just a short stroll away from Allen Centennial Garden, where you can enjoy your scoops amongst the flowers.
Brats and Beverages on the Terrace
If you are craving a bit of nostalgia for summers past, the Memorial Union Terrace is the place to find it. You’ll still need to be mindful of COVID-19 guidelines, but enjoying a brew and a brat from The Brat Stand while relaxing in those classic, boldly-colored chairs, surrounded by lakefront views and the buzz of activity, will be a welcome sign that some good things are just the way you remember them.
The Drink of all Drinks
A landmark on the square since 1993 (and a Madison establishment since 1964), Genna’s is a classy cocktail lounge, the perfect spot to unwind after a long day at work or to have an after-dinner cocktail. Indulge in their signature Door County Cherry Margarita, a creation bartender Colleen Hayes mixes up with Door County cherry syrup, fresh lime juice, triple sec and tequila, served on the rocks. Talk about a nod to Wisco summertime.
Festivals of Food
While many of our beloved festivals will look different or choose to take one more summer off, the iconic Taste of Madison will be held at Breese Stevens Field this year instead of around the Square. Scheduled for Labor Day weekend (Sept. 4-5), the event is always a true celebratory good-bye to summer, where you can sweat it out over cheese curds from The Old Fashioned or tamales from El Sabor de Puebla. Stay hydrated and feast your heart out.
Finding the Food Carts
Many of the food carts you know and love will be back in full swing this season. Grab some creative, flavorful tacos from El Grito, parked by the Regent Market Co- op on Monday and Tuesday nights. Enjoy refreshing smoothies and spring rolls as big as your bicep from Fresh Cool Drinks on Library Mall while you bask in the fountain mist. Or picnic on the Capitol lawn with eats from Caracas Empanadas, El Burrito Loco, Braisin’ Hussies or Tavernakaya.
The Dane County Farmers’ Market is a rite of passage for Madison summers, and it’s exciting to see its return to the Square. If you’re not quite comfortable around a bigger crowd yet, opt to visit the smaller Wednesday market on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Or check out one of the more intimate markets happening around town (visit farmfreshatlas.org to find them) — there are 16 different options to choose from. While there may not be as much product variety, you’ll have more opportunities for one-on-one conversations with local farmers, and we all benefit from supporting our local economy in one of the easiest ways possible — through food.