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Update 1/8/2015: Cosi is closed.

In a word: More like Coasti.

The specs: #0225
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; reviews at Isthmus, WiSJ, Yelp, QSC; official web site; Cosi on Urbanspoon

Latest Cosi news and reviews

JM ate the pepperoni pizza and a fountain drink.
Nichole ate the Shanghai chicken salad and a fountain drink.
The bill was $18, or $9/person, plus tip.
JM gave Cosi a B-; Nichole gave Cosi a C (see our grading rubric).

Stripey couch back

We found ourselves back in Greenway Station, this time where the Bear Rock Cafe used to be, to visit Cosi, the newest "premium convenience" franchise in town. This particular flavor of tipless, order-at-the-counter chain struck us as decidedly un-Midwestern. If we'd been standing on State and Johnson deciding between the downtown Cosi and Noodles, Noodles would have won hands-down.


Despite our misgivings, JM found his pizza to be a perfect light snack-pizza, although he'd much rather go elsewhere (oh, like, I dunno, Cafe Porta Alba, on the other end of the scale) to spend his brick-oven-fired 'za allowance. The crust was thin yet tender. The cheese was somewhat sparse and not very flavorful.


Nichole's chicken salad had fresh enough vegetables, and the dressing was good. All the chicken was hidden under the greens, along with a handful of chow mein noodles, but not the bread that should have accompanied the salad.

Still, by the end of the meal, we'd felt like we'd spent a lot of money on a faux-fancy snack.  Cosi's more heavy duty pizzas are kept under wraps until they're certain that it is dinner time and, alas, we went too soon to relish their spinach pizza, among others. 

We would, however, like to apologize to the friendly Cosi staff for dropping about 40% of our meal on the floor.

40% of lunch


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Very nice site you have put together here - some great reviews!

Founder, the Madtown Lounge

After reading the L recap, I have to come here and admit something. I have no idea how to recognize a "coastie." I read that word with more frequency here than anywhere else, and I have never really been sure how to interpret it.

For example, Cosi has a large number of Eastern seaboard locations, but also has quite a few in the Midwest, as well as Florida, Texas and California. Its headquarters are in Deerfield, IL.

Just curious, if you'd be willing to expand a little.

Coastiness in dining establishments is not easy to define. My stab would be:

Places that subjectively seem to have chosen Madison (or Wisconsin) because of its median income and not because of its traditions or environs. These places feel to me to be too expensive for the food served, value style over comfort and make little effort to make the native Wisconsinite feel at home among its offered cuisine.

I'm sure that we've violated this rule as often as it applies, but it give you a sense of what we mean. In addition, Coastie restaruants do often have Coasties in them. These are defined by Nichole as "People who can't dress for winter and don't stay for summer."

This place gets a big "Meh" from me. I stopped there yesterday for a late lunch/early supper. They had a special three cheese and fig compote sandwich advertised. One of the cheeses being bre I was sold.

It arrived in a wrapper, not unlike a hot pocket. I also fear it was microwaved rather than pressed. Rather than an even spread of the ingredients the sandwich was shaped like a recently fed snake - thin on both ends with a giant lump of filler in the middle. Another indicator that this sandwich may have been nuked rather than grilled.

To be honest - three bites and I couldn't eat any more of it. Partially because the compote was overwhelming and the cheese was flavorless. This was bearable until I got to the lump when I had to stop and admit I wasn't going to finish this $8 sandwich and console myself with the 5 small carrots that came with it.

As I look back at this, I have to admit that I would have had a better lunch at Subway (and at a better price).

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