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McGovern'sIn a word: Really, really old school.

The specs: #0373
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; Doug Moe column on Jerry McGovern; reviews at Madison Fish Fry, collected at del.icio.us; official web site; Mc Govern's Supper Club on Urbanspoon

JM ate the ham and cheese burger with a lemonade.
Nichole ate the chicken soup and toasted cheese with a diet Coke.
The bill was $19, or $9.50/person, plus tip.
JM and Nichole both gave McGovern's a B+ (see our grading rubric).

Latest McGovern's news and reviews

McGovern's is a time warp: the bar/restaurant is in a humble A-frame across the parking lot from the McGovern's Motel on Main Street Sun Prairie. Dim yet not gloomy, the bar area overlooks a dance floor where today an accordion band's gear still sat, ready to polka. In the wallpapered women's room, there were wall-mounted metal ashtrays. Nichole wouldn't have been surprised to run into Mrs. Robinson straightening her stockings.

We took a seat on the windswept, shady patio and sipped our slightly watery soft drinks while perusing the menu. It was one laminated page crammed front and back with hearty entrees (steaks, seafood, crab legs, scallops) and sandwiches (burgers, PBJs for a buck, chicken and tuna salad, hot dogs, even braunschweiger). The salad bar at McGovern's is classic supper club, though we didn't avail ourselves of it today.

Nichole took forever to settle on soup and grilled cheese, to which our friendly waitress said, incredulous, "Really?" But as it turned out, this was a perfectly fine meal.

Chicken soupThe chicken noodle soup was the star of the show. It was homemade (with possibly storebought noodles), with a flavorful broth full of tender dark meat, lots of a wide variety of vegetables, including a couple of lima beans. The unseasonably cool wind might have had time to chill a less lovable soup, but not this dish, which Nichole polished off with gusto.

LunchJM's ham and cheese burger (#38) was quite good. It was pretty greasy, which was to be expected. The ham had a good smoky flavor, and the lettuce was nice and fresh. The hamburger patty was good, not great, and the fries just Ore-Ida.

Grilled cheeseTo be honest, the toasted cheese sandwich was a revelation. Well served by the creamy Wunderbar (a cheddarlike brick cheese that lives up to its name) as well as the dark rye, it was not too greasy in the mouth though it left the paper basket liner translucent with yumminess.

We can't see making a special trip to McGovern's, and to be frank it is pretty divey, what with Sun Prairie's lack of care for diners' lungs. But it's homey and real and not something you see a lot of in the more urbane parts of Dane County.


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