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Mildred's Sandwich Shop

Mildred'sUpdate: Mildred's is closed.

In a word: The best ingredients sandwiched on Johnson.

The specs: #0386
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; reviews at Yelp, Dane101, Isthmus, 77 Square; menu at Menupix; official web site; Mildred's Sandwich Shop on Urbanspoon

Latest Mildred's Sandwich Shop news and reviews

JM ate the Salazar with a root beer.
Nichole ate the Salina and a cup of split pea soup.
Trish ate the Good Question with potato salad and a diet Pepsi.
The bill was $24, or $8/person, plus tip.
JM and Nichole gave Mildred's Sandwich Shop an A; Trish gave Mildred's Sandwich Shop an A- (see our grading rubric).

We are so, so sorry. To Mildred's Sandwich Shop and all its loyal fans over the 30 years it's been in business, we have to apologize in advance. Just in case our double A curse sentences this fabulous sandwich joint to an untimely end.

OK, we're exaggerating our own fatalism here. But it seems the combination of business smarts and culinary aptitude is a rare one. Perhaps it's Mildred's simplicity that deserves credit for the shop's longevity in this particularly tricky business corridor on East Johnson. They pretty much just do sandwiches and soups, with a green salad and a hummus plate thrown in for good measure, plus microbrews and the best combination of sodas (to these reviewers at least, i.e., regular Coke and diet Pepsi).

Order windowThere is a menu of seventeen specialty sandwiches with catchy names. You can also build your own. The pricing seems to be calculated using a combination of base costs, volume discounting and a little bit of black magic, as each price ends with some random number of cents. (It was too many equations with too many variables even for JM to compute.) 

We ordered at the counter and sat down to enjoy a neon changing light show in the simple wood booths while our sandwiches were assembled. It wasn't long before we were called to get our grub.

Even if it had been ages, these sandwiches are worth a wait. Each of our choices had a great balance of flavors and textures. Each was warmed just right. The pitas were soft and pillowy, which can be a surprise if you're more used to toasted bread or panini, but here it works very well.

Trish's Good Question was comprised of pastrami, aged cheddar, lettuce and tomato with mayo and Dijon on pumpernickel. The aged cheese was really flavorful, though the pastrami was a touch too salty. The potato salad was a little acidic at first bite but the flavor grew on her quickly.

Nichole got the Salina, a roast beef and Swiss with pickled sweet red pepper and tomato with mayo and Dijon on a pita (white as written, but they let her sub wheat). The pickled sweet red pepper was a real stroke of genius and added a not-overstated tart note. The pea soup on the side was textbook, straight out of Better Homes & Gardens, with a pleasant bouquet of herbs.

JM's Salazar included the usual suspects plus turkey, veggies and mayo on a whole wheat pita. He ate it in two shakes and summed it all up noting that each bite was a warm little mouthful of sandwich perfection. All in all, three solid and enjoyable experiences.

Dinner

Comments

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I don't know. I used to live by Mildred's and the two times I ate there I walked away thinking it was overrated. The sandwich was good, but expensive. It didn't seem like anything that I couldn't have easily made at home (and probably better). Sorry. IMO I'd probably give it a B.

Mildred's is a Madison tradition, but I agree with the previous review that the sandwiches are occasionally uninspired. The key is just knowing what to get on the menu. Their leadbedder sandwich really needs some more life. It tastes like a big sprout. And their tuna sandwich is a must-avoid. However, their Saturday Special is among the best sandwiches in the city and the Gramsci, named after the Italian Marxist, is a revolution. Definitely worth visiting for a quick sandwich on the near-east side.

Our family has eaten there for well over a decade and never been disappointed. Even the peanut butter and honey sandwich is above average. The gazpacho (summer only) is a work of art and the potato salad and soups are year round pleasures. The prices are completely in line with any other handmade sandwich shop and the neighborhood is...well...a real neighborhood. Enjoy.

Mmm, yes - this remains my favorite place to get a sandwich in Madison. Did you guys try out the heavenly cookies they make there? It's always extremely sad when they're out.

I am one of the four employees at Mildred's, and I was very disappointed that I missed you guys coming in. I have been waiting for months for you to reach the M's, and now I find out that you came in a mere few hours after my shift was over?! Damn.

But anyway, thanks for the great review. Sorry about the slow service - the girl (assuming you had her) is new. If you had come in during my shift, you would have had your sandwiches in 10 seconds flat.

Oh, and the prices are seemingly random to make all the sandwiches come out to an even number with taxes. It took a team of scientists and 10 years to do the math, but we think it was worth it.

Among the best lunches I have ever had in my life is the gramsci and a cup of their fantastic veggie chili. They even keep saltines by the front. Yum-E.

Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Love Mildred's. Good potato salad, fantastic sandwiches.

for 5 years, my wife and i lived in the green and yellow house a few doors down from Mildred's. we've lived in chicago for 5 years since. to this day the Saturday Special is my main man and i get one pronto every time we visit friends on the isthmus. my runner up is the Good Question, whereas my wife always does the Ledbedder, no sprouts.

The gazpacho is dream-worthy.

Mildred's rocks! What more could you ask for.....simplicity, great food, good prices, fun art, and the beer prices are amazing!

First trip to Mildred's today. Nichole, you and I always seem to order the same thing in situtions like these. My Salinas (to-go) was a bit messy, but quite good. The mayo (which I almost always order to be applied lightly, but not today) was tamped down just enough by the peppers, as you so astutely mentioned.

The mint walnut chocolate chip cookie trod awfully close to the spearminty/toothpastey line, but didn't cross over it.

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