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Cloud 9 Grille

Update: Cloud 9 Grille is closed.

In a word: Probably closer to Cloud 6 or 7.

The specs: #0223
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; mixed reviews at Madison Dining Online; reviews at Madison Packard, Isthmus, DL Madison Restaurant Reviews, Insert Pithy Title Here, Lectori Salutem; official web site.

Allen ate the BBQ chicken pizza with a tall Spotted Cow.
Elizabeth ate the fish fry combo with baked and fried cod with a Spotted Cow.
JM ate the shrimp scampi with a lemonade.
John ate the seared salmon with sweet potato fries.
Nichole ate the spicy Italian sausage pasta.
The bill was $80, or $16/person, plus tip.
Allen gave Cloud 9 an A; JM gave Cloud 9 an A-; John gave Cloud 9 a B+; Nichole gave Cloud 9 a B- (see our grading rubric).

Latest Cloud 9 Grille news and reviews

Cloud 9

We made reservations for a Friday night at this slick, newish upscale bar/dining place, and although we were seated a bit late, everything else went smoothly. John and our friends Allen and Liz joined us, and they have the dubious honor of moving backwards in the alphabet with us.

John observed that the atmosphere of the place is somewhat conflicted. The semi-fancy dining room and the bar atmosphere collide in the foyer in an odd way.  Dinner in the dining room is a treat, as the view out the west windows to the Capitol really is spectacular. We brought a board game (Cloud 9, fittingly) to keep busy while we waited. Liz kicked our butts.

Cloud 9 (game)

Dinner started with warm rolls, Cloud 9's "bottomless bread," to which John replied "Where do you put the butter?" thus cementing our dorkiness in the eyes of our server.

Fish fry

Liz appreciated having a combo choice for the Friday night fish fry. The baked cod was far tastier than their fried. The beer cheese potatoes lived up to their description and were quite enjoyable, although she would have preferred a side of cole slaw or veg. Only baked, mashed and cheese potatoes were offered.

Seared ahi with thumb

John found his seared ahi wonderfully tasty, with precisely the right flavors. He thought the portion was a little skimpy. That was mostly overcome, though, by the aforementioned "bottomless" bread and basil butter.

Shrimp scampi

JM was pleased to finally get shrimp scampi that wasn't lost in a sea of noodles, and these were quite good. The capers freaked him out a little, and as much as he loves butter, this dish was swimming in it.

Nichole's spicy Italian sausage pasta was not, really. Well, OK, it had pasta in it. It was a decent value at $12, but the tomato sauce was thin and a tad too acidic. The Italian sausage tasted like ground beef with an uneven dash of spices. The grilled breadsticks were the highlight of her meal.

Allen made the best choice of us all, a zesty BBQ chicken pizza served with panache on its own metal stand. The crust was thin and crisp. The bacon made it extra tasty (for the health-unconscious, not really for the faint of heart) and suited his tastes just fine.

Cloud 9 is a nice (if a little divided) venue for those who live in the area, particularly Cottage Grovers, but is probably not worth a special trip from parts farther away.


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When are you guys going to stop w/this nonsense and get to the real Madison A to Z? Reading every book in every Madison area library.

I don't think that would take you that long.

I'm also betting this is the fifth time someone has used this joke.

But I don't care.

I'll get back to working and listening to the Hold Steady.

Good day ...

Naw, you're the first to make that joke, R(nmrn).

Books, schmooks! I deal with enough of those at work. At night I just want to go out and curl up with a good meal.

We went for after work cocktails, and had a really good time at Cloud 9. It is a really nice space, great views, and really nice service. And perfect for an after-work spot for East-siders! We just had a variety and apps and some beers, then dessert, for happy hour, and everything was good, and great presentation! On the downside I would have to say the menu is a little on the "sports-bar/supper-clubby" side, and not what I expected given the more refined decor. I would ask for a little less fried-food, and a little more creativity. It was all fine---just a tad heavy on the trans fats and of course a good, but ubiquitous, chicken quesadilla, and the portions were a little too big. And I wasn't crazy about the beer-on-tap selection. But I would go again anytime, it was all good, even if the food was a bit unremarkable.(except for the choc. lava cake-that was knock-your-socks-off!)

We visited Cloud 9 on Sunday, March 18th. Weird vibe. The Hopalicious beer was good, but $4.25 a pint? The Bloody Mary was good, but the garnishes were not good: the shrimp was tasteless, the pickled asparagus tasted old. The roasted garlic pizza was good, and the BBQ chicken pizza had way too much barbeque sauce on it and not enough of the toppings. Neither crust was crispy and neither was served very warm. We were overcharged on both pizzas by several dollars each, plus our server brought us the paper change but not the coin change from our payment. When we brought these problems to the manager's attention, he seemed to think he was doing us a favor by giving us the correct change, and then apologized for the incorrect pricing and said that they hadn't updated the menus to reflect the correct pricing yet.

What?!? So you change the prices in your register system BEFORE you change them on your menu? Isn't that, like, against the law or something, not to mention really frickin' rude?

We won't go back.

We went to Cloud 9 for lunch recently, and were less than impressed. Although their website has several menus, our bartender was quite set on giving us only the dinner menu, even after several attempts to score the lunch menu or information about a lunch menu item we had wanted. We were told that if it's not on the menu, then they don't have it. And as noted above, $4.25 a pint is a bit pricey, although Tex Tubb's charges that for a bottle of brew. Unfortunately they had some severe issues with the taps for 2 different brews, which eventually left us with some watered down beverages. The prices were expensive, and the food was minimal. We both had salads, in order to offset the high prices, but the appetizer we had seemed cooked on the outside, but not so much on the inside. It might serve as a nice higher-end evening place, but they seem to have fallen rather short for our attempt at a nice lunch experience.

Went here last night to try out the "Date Night" menu - although we decided to go with something outside of that fixed menu when we got there.
We ordered the homemade potato chips appetizer - which came with cheese sauce, tomato's, and blue cheese. There may have been other ingredients, but I was so happy about the blue cheese that all else was just color on the chip.
For dinner I went for the steak which was wonderful. Cooked just right - and the medium rare was just pink enough. My date did the spagetti and meatballs with a mushroom risoto on the side. I don't eat fungus - but had a taste of the spagetti and that was tasty too.
Service was really friendly - they were having some trouble with the automatic blinds, but that was the only thing we had an issue with. Seemed like every staff member greeted the customers and made sure they were doing alright. I will definitely be back there for dinner again.

Overall, we really enjoyed Cloud 9. However, the first time we went, we called a day ahead to make reservations but were sat downstairs by the noisy bar against a cold window in December. If I would have known we were going to get crappy seats, I wouldn't have specified that we wanted to be seated upstairs.

Looks like Cloud 9 is closed for "re-concepting."


Looks like they are opening again under a new name. There was some funny business with the last few endeavors - I'm skeptical. It says new owners - but I hear that is also not the case.

Here's the Cloud 9 Grille replacement, Jovian Taphaus. http://www.joviantaphaus.com

Some interesting changes and improvements, as highlighted by 77 Square: http://host.madison.com/entertainment/dining/article_c76da034-65c3-5c1c-9298-99557745350c.html

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Listen to The Corner Table podcast "Remembering Restaurants," aired December 24, 2020, where Chris and Lindsay talk with us "about the menus and memories left behind when restaurants go away."

Madison Food coverInfo about our book Madison Food: A History of Capital Cuisine is here, or read it for free thanks to the library - print & ebook.



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