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Ironworks Cafe

In a word: Puts the good in Goodman.

The specs: #0430
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; profiles at Wisconsin State Journal and The Daily Buzz (video); reviews at 77 Square, Isthmus, Decider, Yelp, Bike It, "Guerilla Cuisine" (Kyle Nabilcy's profile of Underground Food Collective), World of Flavors; official web site, Ironworks Cafe on Urbanspoon

Latest Ironworks news and reviews

JM ate the tomato, cheese & pesto sandwich.
Nichole ate the banana sandwich with coffee and a cookie.
The bill was $15, or $7.50/person (thanks, Kirsten!).
JM gave Ironworks Cafe an A-; Nichole gave Ironworks Cafe an A (see our grading rubric).

Ironworks Cafe at the Goodman Community Center is a program where community youth work and learn, and serve up really good food to boot. Full disclosure: Nichole probably would eat twigs in bug sauce if Underground Food Collective et al. made it.

Coffee and cookie

A light, sweet Meyer lemon shortbread cookie didn't make it to dessert time. While surpassingly buttery, the lemon was barely detectable. The coffee, dark and rich.

PBHB (pecan butter, honey and banana)

The pecan butter/honey/banana sandwich made Nichole remember the best parts of being 8 years old again. The lightly toasted sunflower seed bread held up under a light coating of coarsely ground nut butter, and the fruit was perfect.

Pesto sandwich and zucchini

JM's tomato, pesto and Swiss sandwich wasn't bad, which for a man who artificially limits his choices at places like these is high praise. It had a good mouthfeel and the hard Swiss called out from the middle, not overwhelmed by garlicky pesto. The zucchini benefited from oodles of butter and bread crumbs, rendering a stereotypically bland vegetable outstanding.

We haven't ventured to try weekend brunch yet but we hear it's both crowded and excellent. Get there early, be patient, and enjoy.


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Coffee: quite good. Bacon sweet roll: tasty, if a little too citrusy. (I guess later versions were less so, and I wish I'd been in town to eat them!) Blue corn pancakes with caramelized bananas, candied walnuts and syrup: not nearly as cavity- or diabetes-inducing as you'd think. Really great. Tofu scramble: they aren't kidding with the tofu. Close to a whole block of it. Damn. Maybe a little muchy afte a while. And there was something in the salsa verde that I didn't care for. An herbal element.

Fun, great atmosphere, generally really good food. Recommended. Booyah.

Love it! I went yesterday morning and got a blueberry muffin and coffee. The coffee is good and there are free refills. The muffin looked and tasted like something I might have made at home - but I mean that in a good way. It was soft and buttery - a comfort foody kind of thing.

I returned for lunch today with a friend and my 12-year old niece. We all got sandwiches which came with a salad - my salad consisted of spring mix, diced beets, feta cheese, and sunflower seeds. My friend and I shared our sandwiches - a pastrami reuben and a grilled chicken dijon with gruyere cheese. Both were excellent. My niece gave her grilled cheese a big thumbs up ("a 10!", she said).

They have a small menu which changes every day. We'll be back again and again. The food is really good, and I like supporting the East High School students who work there.

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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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