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Great Dane

In a word: You may have heard of this one.

The specs:
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; reviews at Yelp, Tom Ciccateri, Wisconsin Fish Fry Reviews, Ayos, the Culinary Adventures of Jahboh and Tossy, Madison Beer Blog, QSC on Downtown and Hilldale; Madison Fish Fry on downtown, Fitchburg, Hilldale; photos of food and beer at Taylor Takes a Taste; official web site; Great Dane Pub & Brewing on Urbanspoon

Latest Great Dane news and reviews

JM ate the chicken pot pie with a lemonade.
Nichole ate the fish and chips with an Oktoberfest.
Mel ate the chicken pot pie with an Oktoberfest.
The bill was ??? - thanks, WiSJ!
JM gave the Great Dane a B+; Nichole gave the Great Dane an A- (see our grading rubric).

Sometimes our Eating exploits are totally normal occurrences.  Trips to Cousin's are so routine that our A to Z trip barely caused a blip on personal memory.  The Great Dane-Fitchburg probably would have been one of those trips.  We go there frequently for upscale pub food and decent drinks.  Of course this trip was a little more memorable than usual, which was, all in all, a good thing.

Great Dane fish and chips

Nichole's fish 'n' chips were not quite excellent, but better than very good.  The best part were the condiments: the excellent spicy mayo and the malt vinegar. The beer had a perfect bite for a cool evening. The chips, though lightly cooked, were fairly standard.

Great Dane chicken pot pie

JM's pot pie lacked nuance and the whole thing tasted homogeneous.  The crust was also too crusty: the light flaky quality that he craves in a pot pie was suspiciously absent, though the dish in total was delectable.  His sides, the apple "mess" as he described it, and the dark bread, were not his favorites.  Great Dane does, however, have quite good lemonade.  JM is finding that familiarity may be breeding a small amount of contempt: too many work lunches = lower grade.

All that said: The Great Dane is just that, great.  We were glad to share our experience with Melanie, who's great; we were appreciative of the considerate (if freaked out) waitstaff, who was great; and we were appreciative of the city of Madison - which has embraced us and our crazy quirk and is, of course, great.  Thanks, everybody, and enjoy the Great Dane.


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This refers to the downtown location. Still one of the best places in -Wisconsin- to get a beer. I've also always thoroughly enjoyed the Dane's bar food. Quite a bit more expensive than usual bar fare (usually $8-14 per dish) but historically prepared nicely and in ample portions. Lately, though, the quality of preparation is way down. Three straight visits have produced three mediocre to poor food experiences, with stale bread, old fish, and smaller portion sandwiches. The nachos are still humongous and messy (but curiously missing in beans), but I'd say the Dane has moved from "A" quality bar food to "B-" grade fare in less than 3 months. Still worth coming for a beer and some appetizers but it looks like they've lost their passion for providing the best quality bar food in town.

Agreed with Ben. Their beer is still great; the Dane used to have terrific bar food but for some reason they've given up on being a legit restaurant. It's kind of a big loss for our food scene. I've had recent meals at the downtown Dane that I later referred to as 'disgusting'. Others just OK. They used to be at the top of my list for taking out-of-towners to a 'real Madison' joint. At this point I'd discourage anyone from having a full meal here. Still good for appetizers and having a few beers but probably a C- or D+ an updated Timmy food scale.

I've only eaten there a few times but I've never had a good meal at the Dane. Not crazy about a lot of the beers either. Never understood the hype for the place.

I used to enjoy occasional lunches at the downtown one back when I worked downtown (10 or 12 years ago). Not sure if my taste has become more sophisticated since then or if they've gone downhill, but now I find their food pretty unremarkable. Not awful - but just...meh.

I've dined there twice in the last two months at parties thrown by friends. As a celiac, I doubted I'd be able to find anything that was gluten-free. To my delight, I had two great salads. The Webster Street Chicken salad was the right blend between greens and Other Stuff. The Hail Caesar had a delicate just-right dressing: I suggested they substitute a side of crumbled bacon for the croutons and that is clearly the beginning of a great tradition.

(However, the Capitol location's wheelchair access has dramatically deteriorated; if stairs are not your thing, venture to one of the other locations.)

If I had received a pot pie with a crust that over-done, I would have sent it back and told them to do it right next time. And after looking at the embarrassing attempt at fish 'n chips in the photo, I can only assume that amateurs are staffing the kitchen. Thanks for providing enough advance warning to never eat at this train wreck.

Here's an update. The really weird balls 'o fish are no longer on the menu, their fish is now one of my favorites in the area.

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