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Lazy Jane's

In a word: Dining[8] with elan[4] and ease[4].

Lazy Jane's CafeThe specs: #0328
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; reviews at Mr. Breakfast, Yelp, Badger Herald, Madison Brunch, Daily Dadio, Simpson St. Free Press via The Cap Times, Ayos Living ReArrangements, 77 Square, Madison Dining Online, QSC, Mad Hungry, At First Taste, pics by Daveo and nataraj_hauser, Lazy Jane's Cafe & Bakery on Urbanspoon

Latest Lazy Jane's news and reviews

JM ate the Works - 2 eggs scrambled, potatoes, ham, and English muffin - with a large apple juice.
John ate the SCC - scallion and cream cheese scramble - with a coffee and a blueberry scone.
Nichole ate a special - a scramble with artichoke hearts, spinach, and portabella mushrooms, plus potatoes and raisin toast - and a small whole milk cappuccino.
We took a lemon cream scone and a chocolate croissant home.
The bill was $32, or $10.67/person, plus tip.
We all gave Lazy Jane's an A- (see our grading rubric).

Local opinions of Lazy Jane's seem to fall into two camps[11]: those that love it to death, and those that find it utterly overhyped. While we won't necessarily fall into the latter, the former are, we think, too[3] quick to judge[14]. Lazy Jane's fills a niche (the gentrified diner) quite well and any neighborhood would be proud to have a breakfast place like it.

The "neighborhood" part, however, is critical, though. As with so many destinations in the Willy St. area, parking[14] is a bit of a challenge. If you can walk or bus, so much the better, and you'll earn the approbations of the locals.

Counter service

The place was hopping already at 9 on a Sunday. The "lazy" in the name comes from the order process, where you place your request at the counter, sit down, and wait for them to yell your name so you can pick up your food - and we had the perfect amount of time in line at the counter to examine the regular menu as well as the five or six specials. Ringing up  our order and claiming the we owe[6] $1,000,000, the counter staff deserves mention for their joviality.  Tables turn fairly quickly so right after ordering we were able to sit down with our coffee, juice, and scones and enjoy the kitschy but very clean ambience (no eBay dust here).

Incidentally, the specials that day were wheat berry French toast, a chorizo[21] scramble, cherry pancakes, and a compelling but ultimately intimidating Reuben scramble. The menu is replete with vegetarian options. Even the sandwiches looked interesting, but those were too early for us (or, conversely, we were too early for them).

Beverages and bakeryThe scones at Lazy Jane's live up to the hype. The lemon cream scone was huge (weighed in at 5 ounces back at the ranch, even after nibbles had been excised) and had a bright, sunny flavor and light texture. The blueberry scone, while not as stunning, was also very[10] good. Somehow the chocolate croissant made it all the way home, and as an afternoon snack was delicious - not the best ever (that distinction probably goes to Cafe Soleil now that Francois' is closed), but a generous quantity of good chocolate chips melted into the base of a buttery roll is hard to argue with.

Chocolate croissant

On the other hand, Nichole could have taken a pass on her cappuccino. It, too, was big - too big - served[10] in a tall mug instead of a shallow cup, and the foam had an oddly crisp texture[14]. (To his credit the barista[8] had made the drink very quickly.) John's house coffee was pour-it-yourself and he was able to doctor it the way he liked with all the trappings of a coffee shop. Together our coffee experiences showed where Lazy Jane's has a leg up on greasy spoons, but isn't quite as good as a full-blown coffee shop.

Special scramble

Nichole's asiago, artichoke heart, spinach, and mushroom scramble was very filling and not at all greasy. She couldn't really taste the asiago; the mix seemed to be heavy on[2] the artichoke hearts and light on the spinach, given the leafy green's propensity to disappear when sauteed. The side of potatoes was unremarkable, though the pepper on the table[6] had an interesting zing (maybe that was just our shaker, though?). Finally, the raisin toast was decent, and only one of about 9 tempting bread choices.

The WorksJM's breakfast was a little overdone. The ham was dry, and the muffin[14] was burned in parts (a generous spread of butter helped.) His pint glass (woo(f)[6]!) of apple juice was tasty. All added up, the flavors were good and the portions were decent-sized.

John's scramble was good as well. It had never occurred to him to melt cream cheese into a scramble, but the cheese tied i(t)[1] all together in a nice way. The sourdough rye toast came well-recommended by the staff.

SCC (Scallion and cream cheese scramble)

Overall, Lazy Jane's felt comfortable but not quite homey; the kitsch was cute but John thought the atmosphere trumped the food. The coziness, decor, efficiency, and general quality[19] were most impressive to us and deserved to be hailed[10]. Likewise the staff were very friendly and there were lots of them - constantly moving bus tubs and washing up dishes (by hand, at the front of the house). A peek into the kitchen showed lots of activity and smiles and maybe even someone JM and John knew from church camp 10 years prior, which just added to the small-world feel of Lazy Jane's as a Madison icon.

Comments

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Isn't "dining" an 8?

Of course it is. The fact that I cannot add should not call into question my abilities as a mathematician.

Not at all, sir.

Just FYI, on a Sunday you'd actually be a good 24 hours early for the sandwiches. On weekends it's brunch-only.

Anyway, one of my favorite places for brunch, was looking forward to your review. Next time try the Seitan Hash, it's superb (I've grown very fond of the vegan version, too, despite not even being vegetarian, myself).

Love it here. Great breakfasts, locals mixed with students, and a surprisingly good reuben on croissant sandwich for lunch. Nice atmosphere as well.

*sigh* I'm solidly in the "love them" camp, but it was also one of the closest restaurants to our apartment. It was the last place I ate at before leaving town, with some extra scones for the car.

The waffles are awesome too; my internal monologue on a Saturday morning usually consisted of "scones and a waffle is too much sugar for me to enjoy. Scone and an SCC? Or a waffle?" The only downside is the potatoes; sometimes not done enough, sometimes burned, sometimes both. Sometimes, perfect, and dusted with salt and ground pepper, but not always.

Regarding parking... I find it so interesting that a city as active as Madison has a hard time walking a block from a parking space... I am generally on Willy St. on foot, but when in a car (between other stops) I have never had to park more than 2 blocks from a Willy St. destination.

Love it. The seitan hash is to DIE FOR when hung-over. Potatoes, red pepper, (mushrooms I think? Maybe not) and marinated seitan (cooked perfectly) all fried up with an egg on top (over easy is best) and two slices of toast (wheat berry toast is AMAZING!) But ya gotta go to the condiment bar thingy and get A1 and hot sauce to really cure the hangover.

The morning buns are amazing! I ate there with my parents and my boyfriend. He was really put off when they yell a name from the kitchen. It didn't bother me or my parents as we are a family of yellers. Wondering if that annoys anyone else too. It could have been just a rough morning; as I recall someone's seiten hash required several shouts.

I really enjoy the vegetarian fritatta with a little of the spicy korean red sauce they have on hand. The cheese with the carmelized onions and red bell peppers are perfect. A side of their potatoes and (I would suggest) the pumpernickel toast... very satisfying. If you have kids the play area upstairs is great (on weekdays).

When I was in grad school, my apartment was a block away from Lazy Jane's and this was the 1st place I ever went to in Madison (it had also just opened apparently). I still have dreams of the scones and always go there when I am in town.

My personal favorite is the grilled cheese and avocado sandwich on sourdough. I ordered it the first time I went there, and it was so good now I can't order anything else. It comes served with a small salad and yummy dressing, also a handful of potato chips. Perfection!

Today was my first trip to Lazy Jane's, thanks to a visit from my mom. She had the buttermilk pancakes off the specials menu. (Really? Pancakes are specials? Whatever.) They were thick, maybe a little spongy, but tasty nonetheless. And very ample.

The chorizo scramble you guys eschewed was amazing. Great flavor from the sausage, egg, and cheese (that asiago again), and just enough flavor from the mushrooms and green peppers. Also a respectable serving size, especially with the potatoes and toast.

And the lemon cream scone? Tremendous.

I worked at LJs as a cook and baker for a couple of years and yeah, the yelling thing can put people off. We tried a PA for a while but that was worse. Try using a fun alias next time - "Stella" or "Marcia" is always fun but you might not be the only one!

I eat at LJ's pretty regularly but had a first-time experience last weekend when mac 'n' cheese PANCAKES were among the specials. Whoa!! Just have them! Tried them sans syrup first, then with - "with" won as it was reminiscent of chicken 'n' waffles (hey Melly Mel's!). Seriously, these pancakes were some of the most glorious food I've ever put in my

I always employed the nom de screech "Cordelia" when at LJ's. Sadly, they've recently resorted to those ubiquitous, horrifying buzzing disks to let you know your food is ready. No fun! I miss hearing "Cordeeeeeeeelllllliaaaaaa" bellowed from the kitchen.

Face. Put in my face. Sorry.

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