The Hunger Danes: District 25 - Spring Garden Restaurant

The Hunger Danes: District 25 - Spring Garden Restaurant

We've witnessed at least one verifiable dining desert in the Hunger Danes so far (District 18), but friend of the column John Kovalic insists that he lives in another -- and by luck, we've drawn his district from the Very Official Brown Paper Bag of Numbers. It's District 25 -- Waunakee, Madison's neighbor to the northwest -- and we've visited the mysterious Spring Garden Restaurant.

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The Hunger Danes: District 10 - Lombardino's

The Hunger Danes: District 10 - Lombardino's

Jenni and I started this project back in 2012, and we harbored notions of completing it before the end of her first term. Well, here we are in Season Two, and she's already been re-elected to a second term. We're happy to return to the Hunger Danes with a time-honored restaurant that neither of us, truth be told, had ever visited: Lombardino's.

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A series returns, and the end of @thebookpolice

I told you all on Twitter last month that I had some big changes coming. Well, they're only big if you really give, like, a huge shit about me. And who gives a bigger shit about me than me? No one that's who.

So here I am, on my own website, telling no one in particular that starting on Thanksgiving Day, @thebookpolice will be no more.*

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The Hunger Danes: District 18 - Jim's Meat Market

The Hunger Danes: District 18 - Jim's Meat Market

Well, we've hit our first Hunger Danes food desert, no doubt about it. Every time Jenni and I draw a number for the next district (or have someone draw it for us), my next step is sitting down and generating the Big List for that district. Come up with as many from memory as I can, then pore over the side-by-side district and Google maps to ensure it's an exhaustive accounting. For example, in District 35 -- in the somewhat remote Stoughton -- there were thirty entries.

This time, for District 18 on Madison's north side, there were three
 

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The Hunger Danes: District 11 - Smoky's Club

The Hunger Danes: District 11 - Smoky's Club

When Jenni and I started this project, we set out to highlight the little guy, the overlooked, the local secret. Frankly, Smoky's Club -- the venerated Madison classic located in District 11 -- seems like none of those things.  But what it is , is a great place to take our friend John Kovalic as a thank you for the great Hunger Danes logo you see at the top of every post, which is his terrific creation.

Funny thing, though: between the three of us, we'd made a combined total of two visits to Smoky's. Ever. So maybe "overlooked' is appropriate enough.

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The Hunger Danes: District 35 - Main Street Pour House

The Hunger Danes: District 35 - Main Street Pour House

Jenni writes: The end of April felt like it finally brought the end of winter in Wisconsin, and Kyle and I seized the last Monday of that month as the perfect opportunity to enjoy the sunshine with a drive to Stoughton. Downtown Stoughton is adorable, as all small Midwestern downtowns are, as if Groundhog Day could start happening at any moment.

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The Hunger Danes: District 4 - Mabuhay

The Hunger Danes: District 4 - Mabuhay

A little over a month ago, Jenni and I lost a good friend, Phil Ejercito. He was best known in the Madison area as a superb photographer; he had an eye for extreme weather events, and a passion for liberal politics. He produced some amazing artwork as a result of those and other interests. But in addition to his skill behind a lens - and being a crack LOST trivia team member, an avid disc golfer, and all-around good dude - he was proud of his Filipino heritage, especially as it related to food.

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The Hunger Danes: District 2 - New Orleans Take-Out

The Hunger Danes: District 2 - New Orleans Take-Out

Jenni writes: I headed into the most recent Hunger Danes with high expectations -- or perhaps just excitable expectations; while I’ve often passed New Orleans Take Out’s Monroe Street location, I’ve never ventured in. This episode of The Hunger Danes took us to their other location, on Fordem, in District 2. I’ll confess I actually didn’t know this second location existed prior to our excursion -- which, I suppose, was part of the original idea of dining forays through Dane County's districts.

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The Hunger Danes: District 17 - Cottage Cafe

The Hunger Danes: District 17 - Cottage Cafe

We're drawing these districts at random, but here we are back on the east side, close to Kyle's neighborhood once again -- an area he recently described to a relative as the "uncool east side" (in contrast to the Willy/Atwood area). Conjoined to a laundromat, nestled between a fire station and auto repair shops, Cottage Cafe revels in its uncoolness.

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The Hunger Danes: District 1 - Osteria Papavero

The Hunger Danes: District 1 - Osteria Papavero

Compared to its somewhat grim visage even a decade ago, the Capitol Square dining scene at the heart of District 1 is an altered beast. The Old Fashioned, Brocach, Los Gemelos, Samba, Graze, Tipsy Cow, Coopers Tavern, Bradbury's...these are all relatively recent developments, to say nothing of really new arrivals like Tempest, Francesca's al Lago, and DLUX. L'Etoile is steadfast, with Harvest and Tornado Steak House (both opened in the 1990's) holding strong.

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The Hunger Danes: District 33 - Oasis Café

The Hunger Danes: District 33 - Oasis Café

From a distance, you see an EVP coffee shop. You are parched, uncaffeinated. You approach, desperate for comfort. Stumbling through the door, you see people drinking from steaming mugs, huddled over plates containing an unknown food. But when you get to the counter, and see the shop’s logo on the screen of its Belly card-reader -- Oasis? -- you wonder, Was this oasis a mirage?

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Like food? Like Dane County? Read this!

You may know that my good friend Jenni Dye, AKA @legaleagle, was recently elected to the Dane County Board of Supervisors for District 33. Like me, she is a fan of dining out, and enjoys exploring the various things that make Madison, Dane County, and the state of Wisconsin fun and unique.

It is with these two passions -- civic pride and eager palates -- in mind that Jenni and I are excited to announce a new ongoing series here at Irony or Mayo. We'll be dining out at one restaurant per county district – preferably one that doesn't get a lot of press, or is generally overlooked. Every few weeks, you can look forward to a new restaurant review posted here exclusively.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to The Hunger Danes.