Thursday, February 20, 2014

State Street Brats

We only had a few hours in the state capital / college town of Madison, Wisconsin. After cleaning off our snow covered Toyota Yaris rental from Hertz, we drove 10 minutes into town and went straight to State Street Brats on the University of Wisconsin campus.

A few years ago, my friend Liam's father (having spent 4 years in Madison for college) told my father about this little taste of Wisconsin while my father was nearby. Never turning down an opportunity to eat, my father ventured into State Street Brats and enjoyed some of their famous Red Brats (smoked beef pork bratwurst). Since then, my father has actually gone back to State Street a few times before forcing my mother and me to sample the red brats this past weekend.

Walking down the street, you don't actually see a sign for State Street Brats. Instead, you see massive letters that spell out Tavern on a German looking building at the end of the row. They have some outdoor seating, but given it was February, we opted to sit inside where it was warm.

Since the place is really a college bar that happens to serve amazing brats, the venue is very casual. When we arrived on Friday afternoon at about 5PM, it was almost completely empty. Of course, my parents didn't mind at all since it would be super awkward to have a 2 year old toddler and her parents mingling among a massive crowd of drunken 18-22 year olds.

We took some seats along the windows where they had enclosed booths to trap me while my parents ate their lunch. My father took a few minutes to look at the laminated menu and went up to the bar to place his order. Fortunately, they took credit cards because we were strapped for cash.

In about 10 minutes, the bartender came out of the back with small plastic red trays filled with deliciousness. My father had ordered the Red Brat Reuben (red brat sandwich with sauerkraut and Russian dressing served on a pretzel roll) while I had a grilled cheese sandwich with some Wisconsin cheddar. My mother went in another direction and ordered some boneless buffalo wings. My father and I loved our choices. My mother, not so much. Along with a Miller Lite, the total bill came out to $20 for the three of us. Not bad.

After spending the weekend in the Wisconsin Dells, we had to drive back through Madison to return our rental car at the MSN Airport, so my father tricked us all into another lunch at State Street Brats, but this time with my friends Jack and Connor. We got another booth in the corner and all went to town on our final taste of Wisconsin.

Most of us ordered the signature Red Brat platter with waffle fries. I chose another grilled cheese sandwich, and my mother went with a Triple Cheese Burger this time. But we couldn't leave Wisconsin without getting some Wisconsin Cheese Curds!

State Street Brats
603 State Street
Madison, WI 53703
(608) 255-5544

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