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Dotty Dumpling's Dowry

In a word: Overture Center refugee no worse for where.

The specs: #0133
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; reviews at Ultimate Madison Bar Tour, Yelp, Waun-a-Burger, Making it in Madison, Taste Test Madison, QSC, Madison Fish Fry; several mentions in "Madison's Best Burger" thread at madison.com; official web site; Dotty Dumplings Dowry on Urbanspoon

Latest Dotty Dumpling's Dowry news and reviews

JM ate the honey mustard burger and a lemonade.
Nichole ate the buffalo burger and a Fat Squirrel.
We shared a sampler basket.
The bill was $26, or $13/person, plus tip.
JM gave Dotty's an A; Nichole gave Dotty's a B (see our grading rubric).

Dotty Dumpling's Dowry

Long a Madison institution, Dotty's did not disappoint - JM, at least. He found his burger to be tender, juicy, and well-dressed.

We both loved the sampler basket: enough deep-fried cheese curds, mushrooms, onion rings, french fries, and mac-and-cheese wedges (actual globs of box-variety macaroni and cheese, battered into triangular prisms) to feed a crowd, served with notable English garlic sauce (garlic in a mayo base) and nondescript - and nonconsumed - ranch dressing.

As for Nichole's burger, with thanks again to Kate:

  • Bun: delicate, easily overwhelmed by the patty; turned into a soggy mess before long.
  • Meat: Cherokee Bison Farms, grilled, on the rare side of medium; above average.
  • Bun/meat ratio: 2/3; not enough bun.
  • Cheese: Muenster and very shy. Hardly noticed it.
  • Misc.: They got the toppings exactly as she requested them, a rare feat. Still, only about a 6 of 10 overall.

We've noticed that few Madisonians are apathetic about Dotty's - but then, few Madisonians are apathetic about any topic. Nichole will go out on a limb and say they're just a mite overrated, but you won't see JM turning down a trip to Dotty's anytime soon.


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I like them at the new location too, but I dunno...I still remember the original Dotty's.

Always crowded, smelling of meat, the long wooden bar. Yelling your name to come get your food.

The ground-in grease on the griddle surface, too, produced the most delicious burgers I'd ever tasted. The burgers at the new place are good but...it's just not the same.

B+, and right next to the best damn pizza place in town. (Ian's)

I miss the old Dotty's too, and I agree that it's not quite the same now. That said, outside of maybe Tommy's and In-N-Out in L.A., I haven't encountered a better burger than at Dotty's. I like the bun-to-meat ratio -- I hate biting into a burger and just getting a mouthful of chewy bread. Even though it gets super soggy at the end, somehow it just works for me. Maybe because the bun basically disappears right about the time that I normally get sick of eating bun. Bottom line: Dotty's = #1 for bun haters.

I remember Dotty's from waay back before when they used to be on Pinckney St and the new Francis St location just doesn't appeal to me. I think that they've started to lack in the meat department as well. We got charged for our condiments like pickles and onions etc...I thought that was rather a bad move on their part, I don't even remember if they charged before but I guess if you cut out the ambience of the old place and add waitresses, you have to make up for something. I believe many have said that the Plaza Tavern makes the best burger in Madtown, it's worth trying.

Just to clarify on the last post from Craig--Dotty's does not charge for Pickles and Onions etc. Cheese and sauce are a minimal fee but Pickles, onions (raw or fried), lettuce, tomato, relish, mustard, ketchup, horseradish, kraut, banana peppers, hot peppers, mayo are FREE.

i do believe that dottys has the best cheese curds i've had in madison. and i've tried curds at over 25 bars and restaurants over the years. the burgers are hit or miss, depending on how long they've been sitting around before they're cooked and how you have them prepared. medium or medium rare is a must.

the macaroni and cheese wedges are not to be missed! and the beer selection is great!

Well, since my last post to this acct I guess I will have to give it another try, but BTW, I did get charged for my Onions, contrary to what Kelly stated after my comments, they may NOT charge for condiments, but the day I took mine as carry out, they did...: )

Yeah, they charge for everything. They just lie about that stuff at the website and on the menu to create the illusion of good will. Or they poorly train their waitresses. Either way I'm always charged for some condiment that they claim to be free. But the burgers are quite good, if a little bland. The chili is a dark horse, meaty and hearty. And their fried food is usually delicious. They really know how to do sides here. So forget about that extra mystery buck or buck fifty and enjoy a very good quality Spotted Cow, burger, and onion rings.

It's good to see that I'm not wrong about the whole added expense of pickles, and in my case onions, as far as the food goes though, it's still top notch, I found this out after a second try.

In the words of UW Hockey fans... "Over-rated"...

It's impossible for a dotty's employee to charge for something like onions or pickles, when you press the buttons in their computers it doesn't have a price. Check your reciept again Craig and Timmy.
I reccommend not taking Dotty's toGO as it does not travel well. And if you eat your burger upside down it tastes much better and the bun stays together.

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