RookiesIn a word: Sports with everything.

The specs: #01037   
10267 US Hwy 14, Mazomanie 53560
Details at Yelp, official web site, Facebook, Twitter

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JM ate the pulled pork with a lemonade.
Nichole ate the cheeseburger with chips.
The bill was $25, or $12ish/person, plus tip.
JM gave Rookies a B+; Nichole gave Rookies a B- (see our grading rubric).

Rookies is a cross-promotional partner with the Shoe Box, as evidenced by the signage at both things.  It lies just past Mazo, in what can only be described as Sconnie country. You probably know the sort of place: Jell-O shots after Badger wins, and an unironic PBR challenge. 

Due to its connection with the Shoe Box, the sports memorabilia and paraphernalia matches that at Pooley's and the downtown Nitty for breadth and depth. Every inch of space is covered with signed photographs, kitsch, or televisions. (If there are fewer than 30 TVs in Rookies, we'd be surprised). We happened to go during that needlessly close Badger game against Rutgers, and got to see the whole OT from our table.  Of course, the place was packed to the gills. We had to wait, which was fine since there was free serve-yourself popcorn and a squeeze bottle of melted serve-yourself butter. Delicious.

Once we did get a seat, we got to peruse a solid menu of choices: burgers and sandwiches, natch, but also: pizza, salads, Swedish meatballs on special, ribs, pasta.  We settled for a burger for her and a pulled pork for him, especially since it came with a variety of sauces.  The pork was good, though there was probably enough for two sandwiches and the middle had some cool spots (not dangerous, just a little unwell). As for the sauce array, there were two bottles of various BBQ-adjacent Mustard Girl (a fine mustard), a bottle of the runniest vinegariest sauce, and a nice French's implementation of Carolina BBQ - the latter two of which JM used freely.

Pulled pork

Nichole's burger was about the epitome of doneness in rural burgers.  The brioche bun was soft, the patty was a delightful medium to medium rare and the cheese was in just the right vein.  The chips and fries that came with these were nothing too spectacular, as our notes barely mention them at all.


Sportsball completed, the crowd emptied out within 15 minutes, and the place was less than half full by the time we left. We'd stop by again for a burger or popcorn if it were on our way.


In a word: Salty treat.

The specs: #01036   
444 S. Park St., 53715
Details at Yelp, official web site, Facebook, Twitter

Latest Rockhound news and reviews

JM ate the chicken sandwich with a Sprecher root beer.
Katie ate the grown up grilled cheese.
Nichole ate the wild rice burger with tea.
The bill was $25, or $8ish/person (thanks to Bucky Book), not including tip.
JM gave Rockhound a B; Katie and Nichole gave Rockhound a B+ (see our grading rubric).

Rockhound is one of the latest to jump into the make your own beer game.  The lines come from the vats straight into the taps, for truly fresh beer, if that's your jam.  The small menu trends toward the salty to keep you thirsty.

Grilled cheese

Speaking of jam, Katie's "grown-up" grilled cheese had tomato jam that was indeed jammin'.  Its blend with the goat cheese atop a buttery white bread lent it an awesome flavor and texture combo. Similarly, Nichole's wild rice burger was a garlicky, salty, and rich affair that held together pretty well.

Wild rice burger

Sadly, JM's chicken sandwich was ordered after the kitchen had run out of coleslaw for the night and so his chix sand was a little plain and dry.

BBQ chicken sandwich

(JM was back at Rockhound within a week for one reason and another. Someone he was with ordered the chicken and found the slaw corrected for this problem, but they served the inferior model to JM again. Boo. Fortunately, they had a Sprecher root beer for him to drink, which he always enjoys.)

The stars of the A to Z meal, though, were the fries.  They all came out perfectly done and with large flecks of salt like untwisted pretzels.  Sure, you'll order more drinks, but you'll also get to eat delicious salt.  The sweet potato versions were similarly prepared and similarly good.

Rockhound's menu doesn't stretch as far as, say, Vintage's, so it hard to imagine coming here if we aren't in the area (which we often are, see JM's anecdote above). But Happy Hour seems more like this place's forte -- and JM can confirm that on his subsequent visit, the mac and cheese side was quite good.



Spring break! We'll have new posts after Easter (don't worry, we're still eating and tweeting). Meantime...

Madison Food coverOur book Madison Food: A History of Capital Cuisine is out. More about it here. Read it for free thanks to the library - print & ebook, or read an excerpt on Carson Gulley and some bonus bits on Porchlight, Argus, Sunshine Supper, and Babcock.


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