Surya Cafe

In a word: Serenity chow.

The specs: #01075  
5500 East Cheryl Parkway, Fitchburg 53711
Details at Yelp, official web site, Facebook

Latest Surya Cafe news and reviews

JM ate the polenta with mushrooms.
Nichole ate the samosa tartlet.
The bill was $18.50, or $9ish/person, plus tip.
JM and Nichole gave Surya Cafe a C (see our grading rubric). 

Surya (Sanskrit for sun) Cafe, is a vegan restaurant in a yoga studio in Fitchburg, Wisconsin.

It took some time to navigate the setup, arriving as we did off the street (shoes? no shoes?) just as a class was letting out.  Throw in the fact that the counter service is a self-serve iPad order station, and we started out not knowing what's going on (and weren't the only ones; another couple arriving from the outside appeared similarly discombobulated). But once we touched our choices, swiped our plastic, and sat down to wait our order being called ("Jim!") things were back to routine.

We pondered the similarities and differences between Surya and our last stop, SuperCharge!, which also offers vibrantly healthy eats.  Surya seemed slicker, which is not necessarily to say less sincere, than SuperCharge!  Suyra has more expensive stuff hanging on the walls.  Both seem to be in the business of enlightenment.

Polenta cakes

JM is not the right audience for Surya.  At all.  He got polenta (grits) with mushrooms based on his rule that mushrooms will be served closest to the ways meat would be served at a vegan restaurant.  Saying it was "all right" requires several caveats and the full knowledge that he would likely never volunteer to head here again.  Surya seems, to him, more about being healthy than full, which is not why he goes out to eat.

Samosa tarts

Nichole got a snack of a samosa tartlet which was hearty and nicely priced.  The flavors here worked together well and the dish came together in a pleasant way to be both satisfying and nourishing.  Sometimes she doesn't know what the heck JM is talking about, but after twenty years of eating together it is what it is, and that goes both ways.

If gluten-free & vegan is something you have been looking for, Surya is likely to be your kind of place. Just make sure to arrive without all the hubbub of a class letting out.  Or go to a class, and enjoy a snack afterwards.

SuperCharge! Foods

In a word: Organic refueling station.

The specs: #01074  
1902 E .Washington, 53704
Details at Yelp, official web site, Facebook, Twitter

Latest SuperCharge! Foods news and reviews

JM drank the Atwood.
Nichole drank the Shamrock shake and got a salad for later.
The bill was about $10 plus tip.
JM gave SuperCharge! Foods a C; Nichole gave SuperCharge! Foods a B+ (see our grading rubric).

Supercharge greens

SuperCharge! Foods is a funky smoothie and juice bar/community center/mini farm on East Washington Ave. Nichole got a rather filling "shamrock shake" smoothie (which included a touch if mint and cocoa) and JM got a quite tasty juice. We got to peek behind the counter into the sprouting area, filled with young greens like mustard, peas, basil and sunflowers. You cannot get much fresher than this. The greens go into the packaged salads and some salads make it to the shelves of Hy-Vee and other retailers in town.

We just popped in for a smoothie on this first visit, which itself seems like the most touristy possible way to experience the place, which has as its mission to be a community center too. They have an event space that hosts classes and workshops, a shelf of resource books, a large comfy table for enjoying prepared food, and a small grocery offering products from YumButter, Native Food Network, and more.

The near-east side would likely feel incomplete without places like this. SuperCharge! Foods is on the roster for the Madison Public Market when it opens in 2020 - til then, their earnest and healthy vibe is a great thing where it's at.


Madison Food cover August 21 at the WHS Museum, we're giving a lunchtime talk on Mid-Century Madison Munchies. Come on down!

Info about our book Madison Food: A History of Capital Cuisine is here, or read it for free thanks to the library - print & ebook.


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