Openings, closings and other Madison restaurant news

LIST of 30+: There have been a lot of changes to the local food scene in the last few months.
plate from Jardin with mushrooms
Jardin's king ceviche combines sauteed nori sea beans, MicroMyco Growers’ king trumpet mushrooms, mint beet slaw and turmeric leche de tigre (Photo by Patrick Stutz)

Over the past six months, there have been many new additions, closures and locations changes for Madison-area food businesses.

“Downtown and State Street in particular is always changing. It’s really great to see these new local businesses opening in the downtown area,” says Tiffany Kenney, executive director for the Madison Central Business Improvement District.

Here’s what’s new, reopening, relocating or coming soon in the Madison-area food scene, plus a few other businesses with updates.



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Turn Key 
The trio behind the Settle Down Tavern and Oz by Oz opened a third business, Turn Key, today (Sept. 14). Turn Key occupies the historic landmark building on the near-east side – what was once Pasqual’s Cantina. The restaurant serves “American cuisine with strong influences from other cultures” and features indoor, outdoor and private seating areas. 1344 E. Washington Ave. 

The owners of Tutto Pasta opened a second restaurant this August – SASS, an acronym for “sauce and shelled seafood,” on Capitol Square. As the name suggests, classic seafood and noodle dishes have starring roles on the menu, and there are a variety of vegetarian and barbecue options. 10 W. Mifflin St.

Tucumã, named after the Brazilian fruit, opened this July in Middleton. Chef Lorraine Chiapim sought to bring the taste of Brazil to Madison, from sweet to savory. The expansive menu includes açaí bowls, baked goods and pastries, sandwiches and coxinhas (Brazilian croquettes). 3301 Parmenter St, Middleton


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Little John’s
Little John’s Restaurant, founded by David Heide of Liliana’s Restaurant, is a “community kitchen for transforming food excess from farms, warehouses, and grocers, into accessible, chef-quality meals for everyone, regardless of their means.” A nonprofit restaurant, Little John’s proceeds go straight to the community and offers affordable meals on wheels deliveries. 5302 Verona Road, Fitchburg

Diamond’s Cafe
Try Southeast Asian cuisine at the recently opened Diamond’s Cafe. Owner Thao Nuon came to Wisconsin in the 1970s from the Thai and Cambodian border. Nuon pays homage to his family and homeland through cooking, like the khmer style pho with Thai sweet basil, bean sprouts and your choice of meat. The restaurant, which opened at the start of the year, also serves breakfast all day. 260 W. Gilman St., Suite 100 

Eat the Best Pizza
Located on State Street, Eat the Best Pizza will satisfy your carb cravings. The New York-style pizzeria, which opened under the University Book Store in February, offers garlic knots, pizza by the slice or whole pizzas with homemade marinara sauce. Eat the Best Pizza also delivers until 1 a.m. if you need a late-night snack. 711 State St.

Mom’s Bar
Mom’s Bar has been providing live music and karaoke since opening in February in the former Karaoke Kid. Andrew Greenwood told Madison Magazine that he yearned for live music during the pandemic, and an opportunity to take over the space presented itself. 614 University Ave.

Pure Green Juice & Smoothie Bar
If you’re looking for a healthy treat, Pure Green Juice & Smoothie Bar offers cold pressed juices and smoothies in addition to açaí bowls, avocado toast and juice boost shots. Smoothie concoctions include Pure Green, which is made with kale, spinach, mango, banana, pineapple and coconut water. 634 State St.


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Sookie’s Veggie Burgers
What began as a food trailer in Milwaukee is now a vegan and vegetarian restaurant on State Street. Sookie’s Veggie Burgers offers a healthy and sustainable meal option featuring black bean or Impossible burgers, hummus, chips, guacamole and more. Cupcakes from East Side Cakes are also on the menu. 502 State St.

Chefs Sabi Atteyih and Mohammad Hinnawi, owners of Casbah Restaurant and Lounge and Nile Restaurant, respectively, teamed up to open Taza Mediterranean Kitchen offering specialties such as kabobs, schawarma, lamb dishes and couscous. Taza, taking the former space of Compadres Mexican Restaurant, opened this June. 1900 Cayuga St., Middleton 

Forward Craft and Coffee
Forward Craft and Coffee opened back in June, taking the space of a former Barriques location. Forward “pours it all,” offering a variety of coffee beverages, including a cold brew flight, as well as over 20 taps and over 100 different craft beer cans/bottles. Forward opens daily at 7 a.m. and stays open well into the evening. 2166 Atwood Ave.

Manny’s Parkside
Manny’s Parkside, the newest project from Food Fight Restaurant Group, opened earlier this summer up north in Manitowish Waters. The lakeside eatery serves American cuisine with a modern, Wisconsin twist, and the menu includes classics such as burgers, meatloaf, cheese curds, chili and more. Manny’s Parkside is also lakeside, and the restaurant’s backyard features a live music stage, fire pits and yard games. 5998 CTH-W, Manitowish Waters

Big Sur Cantina
Big Sur Cantina recently opened across from West Town Mall, taking over the former Martin O’Grady’s Irish Pub. According to the website, the cantina “recreates the unique, indescribable experience of following a twisting California cliffside highway and discovering an authentic Cantina hidden amongst the rugged coastline.” The menu offers tacos, fresh guacamole, and a variety of margaritas and cocktails. 7436 Mineral Point Road 



Two new Food Fight restaurants 
Food Fight Restaurant Group  owns and operates 17 restaurants in the greater Madison-area and one in the northwoods. Though the group recently announced the closure of the Eldorado Grill on Williamson Street, there is a promise of two new restaurants to look for in the future. Currently, the openings are slated for 2023, with more information to be released soon.

Mio Fratello
From the owners of It’s Good For You mobile pizza catering comes Mio Fratello, a new Italian restaurant specializing in traditional wood fire pizza. The new space on Sherman Avenue will serve as an off-season home for It’s Good For You, offering private parties and guest chef dinners, according to the restaurant’s Facebook page. 521 Sherman Ave. 

Ollie’s, the newest restaurant concept from chef David Heide, will take the place of Liliana’s Restaurant in Fitchburg. Slated to open later this year, Ollie’s will serve “casual farm and local producer-focused American cuisine,” and the menu will offer pizzas, burgers, mac and cheese and an expansive cocktail menu. Additionally, Ollie’s will focus on inclusivity – both in the menu and in the restaurant’s environment. 2951 Triverton Pike Drive, Fitchburg

St. Charles Station
St. Charles Station will join Ollie’s in taking over the space of Liliana’s Restaurant. St. Charles Station, also to be owned and operated by David Heide, will be a New Orleans-inspired fine dining restaurant, reviving what was great about Liliana’s, but in an updated, modern way. Its opening will depend on the timing of renovation and construction. 2951 Triverton Pike Drive, Fitchburg



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Driftless Social
Driftless Social will take the place of the former Schubert’s in Mount Horeb. Brothers Matt and Tim Schmock — who are also the grandsons of Leonard Schmock, owner of the beloved former Smoky’s Club on University Avenue — are renovating the space with family history and tradition kept front of mind. Driftless Social will offer new takes on traditional dishes and is slated to open as early as late September. 128 E. Main St., Mount Horeb

Zippy Lube
The former Zippy Lube auto shop is transforming into Zippy Lube Coffee, Donuts & Fried Chicken. Keeping the same building and name, the new restaurant seeks to fully renovate the space while still keeping some old-school charm. No set opening date has been announced yet. 2013 Sherman Ave. 

Amara, a new restaurant serving “contemporary coastal Italian cuisine,” will soon open its doors in Hilldale. The menu is set to offer small plates, hand-crafted pasta and “cutting edge” Italian wines and inspired cocktails. 670 N. Midvale Blvd. 


Madison Chocolate Co.’s second location
Madison Chocolate Co. announced back in May it will open a second location featuring a fully gluten-free bakery and a separate gluten-free kitchen. The Odana Road location will also offer a drive-thru and an indoor seating area. 5521 Odana Road

Swagat’s second location
Swagat Indian Restaurant, which won Gold for Best Indian/Nepalese Restaurant in 2022, is opening a new location in Sun Prairie. The second location, slated to open in October, will feature the same authentic Indian cuisine and expansive food menu as the original spot in Madison’s west side. 298 S. Grand Ave., Sun Prairie

Eno Vino in Waunakee
Eno Vino, the high-end bar and bistro on the west side and on Capitol Square, will open a third location in Waunakee on Oct. 10. Eno Vino Waunakee will also serve “globally inspired small plates” and offer a wide selection of wine and cocktails. 2800 Sarah Lane, Waunakee




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Merchant Madison
Merchant closed last September for renovations and to revamp the menu, but reopened in June serving craft cocktails and dinner. Merchant is known for the cocktails, but also offers brunch, dinner and late night bites. The dinner menu includes appetizers like crab fritters, bone-in pork chops and braised whole lamb shanks. 121 S. Pinckney St.

Naf Naf
After a lengthy closure, Naf Naf Middle Eastern Grill reopened in June in the same location on State Street. Naf Naf is a build-your-own-pita-or-bowl restaurant with protein additions like chicken shawarma and falafel, along with a selection of toppings, bases and sauces. The first Naf Naf location in Madison was opened in 2015, but closed during the pandemic. 555 State St. 

Sencha Tea Bar
Sencha Tea Bar opened in its new location this month, keeping its same home on State Street. The cozy tea bar offers a variety of traditional hot teas, iced teas and bubble teas. Tea lattes, popular on the menu, use oolong and jasmine tea varieties. 224 State St.

SuperCharge! Juice Bar & Urban Farm
SuperCharge Foods is keeping people properly nourished downtown. The juice bar has been around since 2008, but opened in a new location in May. SuperCharge! has a focus on sustainability and community: “We grow microgreens at our indoor, vertical farm,” co-owner Jamaal Stricklin told Madison Magazine. 1902 E. Washington Ave.

plate from Jardin with mushrooms

Jardin’s king ceviche combines sauteed nori sea beans, MicroMyco Growers’ king trumpet mushrooms, mint beet slaw and turmeric leche de tigre (Photo by Patrick Stutz)

After a two-year closure due to pandemic restrictions, Jonathan Reske and Armando Magaña recently re-opened Jardin with an entirely plant-based menu. The duo brought on veteran plant-based chef Juan David Umaña to innovate the restaurant’s menu to offer high-end, plant-based dishes that carnivores and vegans alike can enjoy. 829 E Washington Ave.


The Heights
After four years on North Allen Street, The Heights Cafe permanently closed back in August. The owners named staffing restrictions and pandemic restrictions as primary causes for closing. The Heights plans to rework the location as an event space and continue to grow its wine membership program. 11 N. Allen St.

Cafe Brittoli
Cafe Brittoli, known for its breakfast fare and outdoor patio, permanently closed mid-September. The Italian-inspired cafe was unable to renew its lease, and Monsoon Siam plans to move into the building with an expected opening date of May 2023. 2326 Atwood Ave.

Brasserie V
Brasserie V announced its imminent closure back in August via a Facebook post. The Belgian-inspired restaurant closed its doors at the end of August, citing staff challenges and changes in the Madison restaurant industry as reasons for closing. Longtable Beer Cafe, the owners’ other restaurant in Middleton, will remain open and will accept Brasserie V gift cards. 1923 Monroe St.

David Heide, owner of Liliana’s Restaurant, announced months ago that the New Orlean’s inspired cajun joint would be closing due to personal reasons and changes in the restaurant industry post-COVID. Though Liliana’s will close its doors this October, Heide has two new restaurant concepts on the way to take Liliana’s building: Ollie’s and St. Charlie’s Station. 2951 Triverton Pike Dr., Fitchburg

Lake Edge Seafood Co.
Lake Edge Seafood Co. announced last month via Facebook it would be permanently closing “some time before November.” The post cited staffing issues and rising food costs as reasons for its closure. There’s still time to stop in for lunch for po’boys, oysters or shrimp bites. 4100 Monona Drive

Cranberry Club
Ryan Huber, Brian Bartels and Sam Parker, the trio behind Oz by Oz and Settle Down Tavern, have pulled the plug on Cranberry Club, a modern supper club concept that was slated to open on Sherman Avenue. Huber cited the second wave of COVID, inflation and supply chain issues as challenging factors that led to the decision. 617 N. Sherman Ave.



exterior of Alobudra Spiritual Apothecary

Courtesy of Alobudra Spiritual Apothecary

NEW: Alobudra Spiritual Apothecary
Alobdudra Spiritual Apothecary, which opened in January, offers teas and herbs sourced from around the world. It also sells crystals and tarot cards, along with providing services such as a full-service hair salon with natural products and treatments, a tarot reader and an astrologer. 133 W. Johnson St.

NEW: Jewelers on State Street
Jewelers on State Street opened in May and offers a wide array of high-end jewelry from diamond rings to gold 14-karat necklaces and bracelets. You can also design custom engagement rings or men’s bands at the jewelry store. 550 State St.

NEW: Petphoria
Petphoria, previously known for its online store and pop-up shops, opened a new store location in Middleton in August. Petphoria specializes in luxury dog treats, toys and accessories, as well as fun gifts and clothing for humans. 1834 Aurora St., Middleton.

REOPENED: Red Square Flowers
Red Square Flowers, an upscale flower shop, has moved its State Street location across the street and reopened in May. The bigger location will have even more plants and flowers to browse. “The space can be seen from anywhere,” owner and CEO Alina Poletskova told Madison Magazine recently. 127 State St.

REOPENED: Freedom Skate
As of March, Freedom Skate Shop is open in a different location on State Street. The local business sells skateboards from a variety of brands in addition to protective gear like helmets and kneepads. The shop is also offering a summer skating camp if you want to learn how to skateboard. 512 State St.

MOVING: B-Side Records
One of downtown Madison’s last remaining record stores, B-Side Records, is moving into the 500 block of State Street in September. It faced permanent closure after nearly 40 years, as the original location faced demolition due to a new development that force a couple businesses to close. The new location will be bigger and continue to offer a wide variety of vinyl and CDs.

Is there another new or reopened business you think should be mentioned here? Email your suggestion to and we’ll consider adding it to this list. 

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