Prairie Diner

Prairie DinerIn a word: Top ten on best per square foot.

The specs: #01022  
1034 Windsor St., Sun Prairie 53590
Details at Yelp, Facebook

Latest Prairie Diner news and reviews

JM ate half orders of biscuits and gravy and French toast.
Nichole ate the two eggs scrambled, raisin toast, bacon and coffee.
The bill was $16.82, or $8.41/person, plus tip.
JM gave Prairie Diner an A-; Nichole gave Prairie Diner an A (see our grading rubric).

It's a tiny little place, crammed into an outbuilding over by the Dorn in Sun Prairie. And yes, thank God for the smoking ban.

See, Prairie Diner is ALL diner.  The tables are close and you can smell everything cooking. If you spend $10 on your food you either got enough to kill a body, or a couple of really fancy sides (like a steak).  Each food item is lovingly slapped on its cooking surface and scraped onto your plate at just the right time.  Pretension can go hang, but this stuff is so good it doesn't matter.

French toast

JM's $5 French Toast were its platonic ideal. No cinnamon swirls or fruit compotes here. Maple syrup out of a plastic bottle into the glass bottle on our table. (The half order of biscuits and gravy ended up a tad cold, but that may have been our positioning directly under the AC unit.)

Biscuits and gravy

Nichole got a good cup of coffee and then another and another. Empty cups aren't tolerated unless you say "Whoa!" As for her two eggs scrambled, bacon and raisin toast... well, Prairie Diner found new ways to make these standards taste even better.

Two eggs bacon toast

When the bill came in under $20, we wondered right away when we could come back to experience more diner perfection in the SP.

So, so good.

Bike the Barns 2016 & book excerpt

Bonus post roundup! Read on below for an account of Bike the Barns 2016, and head over to Recollection Wisconsin for an excerpt - with additional historical images from their extensive collection - from our book Madison Food: "Carson Gulley, Madison's first celebrity chef."

Bike the Barns, the annual fundraising ride for FairShare CSA Coalition, happened on September 18. It's always a good time, with tasty food, gorgeous sights, and good music and company. We rode the short route - thankfully - since the westerly direction meant some stupid big hills. (Bicyclists know that "driftless" is code for "so many hills you might as well just die.")

Big downhill

The morning stop at the Farley Center for Peace, Justice & Sustainability was fascinating. We got a quick tour of some of the growing areas, where multicultural collaboration between farmers is the norm. There's a food pantry garden, a nature preserve, and even green burials! ...which we'd've needed if we'd done the long route.

At Farley Center

Plus, farmers get free seeds for cover crops like buckwheat, which cut down on weeds and enrich the soil between plantings.

Zinnias at Farley Center

Lunch was tacos by Tex Tubbs and an army of awesome volunteers, at Crossroads Community Farm.

Food Fight lunch line

Good fuel for the last leg of the ride.


Nice tunes too!

Lunch band

At the afterparty we were treated to more good eats - Nichole liked the chilled cauliflower soup with cumin and gooseberries (!) and JM was a big fan of Dough Baby's sprinkle donuts. Oliver's made a kick-butt fried green tomato, too.

After party snacks

The ride raises dough for Partner Shares, which makes CSA shares available to limited-income households. This year Bike the Barns raised $42,416.51 towards that cause. Good job, good times.


Madison Food coverOur book Madison Food: A History of Capital Cuisine is out. More about it here. Read an excerpt on Carson Gulley and some bonus bits on Porchlight, Argus, Sunshine Supper, and Babcock.


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