In a word: They better take care than many spots we've eaten at here and/or there.
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JM ate the buffalo chicken sandwich with lemonade.
Nichole ate the patty melt with a diet Coke.
The bill was $19, or about $10/person, plus tip.
JM gave Sundown Saloon a B+; Nichole gave Sundown Saloon a B- (see our grading rubric).
Sundown Saloon beckons, somewhat unobtrusively, from Stoughton Road. We've found that Madison's east side still has pockets of bars that feel like they are frequented by blue-collar folks and not effete fixie riders or Epic wonks.
The staff here really do know to take care of you. Our server was personable and friendly, answering questions and giving us just enough time to debate the pros and cons of patty melt vs. burger. Here they manage the bar and prep the food with courtesy and warmth, despite being quite busy even at 1 PM on a Friday.
Nichole ended up getting the patty melt, partly because a colleague of JM's had declared to him that the patty melt is the winner at Sundown. This one had 2 layers of Swiss cheese and beef, plus onions, served on toasted marble rye, and was dang good. JM was even happier with his (very very spicy) buffalo chicken sandwich. He had been offered ranch with it, and got mayo instead, which made him 50% happier. (Seriously, what is with ranch love?)
The fries were nicely prepared and took to ketchup quite well, but could have easily been Ore*Ida. In fact, most everything here is just fine -- not too exciting, but well done with essential ingredients which can add up to hit or miss food. The service is the star and, if there's some hidden highlight on the menu, we can see Sundown being in an East side bar rotation easily.
An added perk, we stopped at the Aunt Millie's Bakery Outlet on Atlas on the way out, not because we were still hungry, but because it was open, and we have ways of disposing of massive bags of mini donuts and vast quantities of raisin bread (as one does).