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Update 1/25/08: Houlihan's is closed.

In a word: Better than you'd think.

The specs: #0240
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; official web site.

JM ate the chicken BLT with fries and a lemonade.
Nichole ate the fish tacos with a coffee.
The bill was $22, or $11/person, plus tip.
JM gave Houlihan's an A-; Nichole gave Houlihan's a B (see our grading rubric).

Latest Houlihan's news and reviews


Houlihan's is just inside the Madison city limits. It sits in a business/hotel park that's really nobody's neighborhood, so we figure most of its customers are business travellers and business lunchers. We were surprised to find a Cap Times review from nearly 10 years ago posted in the foyer. The building has aged well and still looks nearly new inside and out.

Houlihan's BLT

JM's chicken BLT on foccacia had a crisp freshness anchored by the flame-broiled chicken. The chicken-bacon interplay was fun on the tongue, though the tomato was a little less than firm.  The fries were skin-on standard restaurant style. The lemonade, however, was truly outstanding. It hit the mouth with a tart punch, then followed up with soothing sweetness. Each glass was served with a juicy half-lemon as a garnish.

The fish tacos fell somewhere between Frida and Tex Tubb's in quality. In quantity they seemed scant at first, but just 2 tacos were so filling Nichole couldn't finish her chips and salsa. (Which was fine - the salsa, while thick, was not hot at all, and was a little heavy on the cilantro.) The tacos were stacked with a tangy carrot, cabbage, and cucumber garnish and sour cream on a hearty flour tortilla.

Altogether, Houlihan's was worth the cost and the trip even though it wasn't something we'd necesssarily go out of our way for. If you have the Applebee's/Chili's itch, go here, spend the extra $5, and enjoy your meal instead.


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Hey there, I take exception to that. You're talking about my neighborhood. :) Or, a few blocks off anyway.

I am also an enjoyer of the Houlihan's. I'm saddened you won't be extending your trip to Middleton, as it'd be excellent to see what you think of the truly terrible 'Cheeseburger in Paradise.' :)


And FWIW, my comment, if updated, would not reflect nearly as well as my original opinion.

Wow. I'm awesome. Totally failed my Spot check. Thanks! :D

I'm found of stopping by during happy hour for their half priced Thai Chile Wings and a mojito (and not a bad mojito for a chain either).

Being a former employee of the Houlihans chain I have to say their food has always been very good. Everything seems to be fresh. There staff is also very knowledgeable, due to the fact you have to eat every item on the menu before you work there. This to me shows a level of consideration for there dinners. Instead of having a wait staff say "I don't know what that tastes like" They can truly recall every dish.

While I really like their food, this location has given me a couple bad experiences, with fruitflies and random bugs interupting my meal, even though I was pretty far from the door; and they seemed to get worse as I got towards the kitchen. Just my two cents!

Houlihan's is awesome. I no longer live near one though. I have a $50 giftcard for sale for $45 obo. [email protected]

Madison A to Z is not responsible for any commercial transactions arranged through its comments. Unless of course we get a cut, then we can talk...

I'll pay $60!

Houlihan's closed.


Thanks for the update! I don't always catch the stuff in the business section.

...wonder if Trezomare will be there when we get to the T's.

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