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Avenue Bar

Update: Avenue Bar is now Avenue Club.

In a word: This winner of multiple fish fry awards deserves them, but we ate on the wrong night.

The specs: #0015
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; official web site; reviews: Dennis Getto, David Helbach, Yelp, hartichoked, In Search Of..., TDPF, Daily Dadio, Madison Fish Fry; Madison Originals profile; Avenue Bar on Urbanspoon

Latest Avenue Bar news and reviews

JM ate the fish sandwich with french fries and a lemonade and worked the December 1983 Atlantic Monthly cryptic crossword.
Nichole ate the fried cod with Avenue fries and a Sprecher root beer and contemplated the letter A restaurants.
Kayla ate the Avenue burger with onion rings and a Pepsi and wrote a letter.
The bill was $35, or $11.67/person, plus tip.
JM and Kayla gave the Avenue Bar a B; Nichole gave the Avenue Bar a B+ (see our grading rubric).

The Avenue is a Madison institution. All the reviews linked above write it up better than we can. Suffice it to say, our Thursday-night meal was good, but we'd developed pretty high expectations, so we were surprised that our meals were just average.

JM thinks he tracked down the reason: if Friday is the big fish fry night, the fry medium is probably on its last legs by Thursday night. This manifested in dark, greasy - well, everything. We all had something fried. The cod and onion rings probably made out best, while the french fries suffered from terminal blandness.

The namesake burger was done to a perfect medium rare, though the untoasted bun got soggy fast. The Avenue fries were like velvety baked potato wedges, but were a little too dark, possibly due to the aforementioned fry medium issue. The dinner rolls were great.

Again, we were too full for dessert, which would have been pie or carrot cake. Tapioca pudding would have been perfect, but you can't always get what you want.


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The WiSJ and Cap Times report on owner Donald "Skip" Zach's passing on Friday, May 20, 2005.

I made the mistake of having my birthday dinner at the Avenue Bar. I have never been so disappointed!! The wait was ridiculous- we had reservations for 7pm and weren't seated until 7:45pm. We ordered promptly and then waited another hour for our food. One of my dining companions received an inedible sandwich. I had the famous fish, which was okay, but not "the best" by a long shot. My fries were too greasy and tasted like they had sat out for awhile. Not worth the hype or the wait!!

The catch 22 of the (tasty) Friday fish fry is that the service is terrible and it's impossible to get a table. That said, the fish BOIL is tremendous on Friday and every other day of the week. Plus it's an extremely healthy option--fish boiled to perfection with carrots and potatoes. Also recommended are their ridiculously hearty Reuben, their onion rings, and the prime rib.

The prime rib is awesome! We had it last Thursday. It was a little fatty, not too bad, but the portion was huge for $16, and came with a potato, salad, and soup. Beware: this place is chock full of old people.

Have to comment on the review at Madison.com, even if it's a little off subject... he refers to Stevens Point as a "small town"... hilarious ! That's central Wisconsin... Stevens Point is one of the region's major metropolis (metropoli ?), in comparison to everything within 50 miles that isn't Wausau. It's got a university, a mall, chain restaurants... if that writer wants to get a better grasp of the definition of a "small town", he should drive around Marquette, Waushara and Adams Counties, or (almost) anything north of Wausau.

As for the Avenue Bar, I suppose one could describe it as being Madison's closest representation of the sort of Friday Fish Fry places that you *do* find in the small towns of Wisconsin, for people who don't want to drive. I sort of imagine though that it's sort of a destination for non-Wisconsinites living in Madison who want to sample quaint Cheesehead culture. Ugh (to that sentiment, not FFF's).

Stevens Point as a metropolis. But do they use canned pineapple on their pizza?


Stevens Point a metropolis, uhhh... is this serious?

We had drinks at 4:15 on a Wednesday. At 6:30 a woman we had not spoken to zipped by at said "you have been here a long time, other people are waiting for your table." Off she went before we could say....well, probably something rude. We saw no one waiting even! I have NEVER EVER in my life been treated that way before! Unbelievable that any establishment could get by with that behavior. This place has been living off it's reputation for years with poor food and cheesey atmosphere, catering to the geriatric crowd. It has a convenient location, but NEVER AGAIN>

TDP is reporting Ave Bar is being bought by Food Fight.

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