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Orpheum Lobby Restaurant

Update: Orpheum Lobby Restaurant is closed.

In a word: Tasty eats, bizarre service.

The specs: #0447 
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; reviews at Wisconsin Fish Fry, Madison Fish Fry, Yelp, Ultimate Madison Bar TourSomething Else to Do...; official web site.Orpheum Lobby Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Latest Orpheum Lobby Restaurant news and reviews

Alan ate the salmon and asparagus.
JM ate the pork sandwich.
Mallory ate the salmon sandwich.
Nichole ate the beef skewer.
The bill was about $45, or $11.25/person, plus tip. (corrected - ed.)
JM gave Orpheum Lobby Restaurant a B+; Nichole gave Orpheum Lobby Restaurant a B (see our grading rubric).

Orpheum Lobby Restaurant is a Madison landmark, if not an institution. Alan observed that the venue might be trying to be too many things - a restaurant, movie theatre, and live music venue - and excelling at none. That said, the menu is small and interesting, particularly the sandwiches, and we appreciated noshing on the mussels and good cheese from the happy hour spread. Alan and Mallory were brave to eat with us considering the circumstances of our meeting at the Dan Potacke Show.

Pulled pork sandwichWhat our server may have lacked in experience and polish, he made up for in over-enthusiasm. He cheered JM's choice of the pork sandwich as a popular one. It came with a purple, vinegary slaw. This iteration of the Carolina pork sandwich was tasty and filling served nicely on a soft bun, but it was not best in its class and was a little on the small side.

Beef skewersNichole's beef skewers were seared on the outside and perfectly rare inside, steeped in a simple balsamic marinade. The vegetables were good but the quantity was more for show than for nutrition. The tambour of wild and basmati rice was very flavorful and studded with bits of carrot and celery.

Salmon sandwich

Mallory's salmon sandwich had an interesting combination of ingredients - fried egg, bacon, cucumber dill sauce, tomato, lettuce and, of course, salmon. The sum of the parts were quite good. A dash of lemon brightened it up, and the side of matchstick potatoes were fun.

Alan's salmon was prepared differently than the filet that had gone into the sandwich. His portion had a great texture, though the flavor was overpowered by a too salty spice coating. The asparagus spears were tasty but a bit undercooked; the whole dish was supported by a not-too-greasy potato pancake.

The most memorable part of the meal, however, was the service. Basing things solely on shallow appearances, we couldn't help but theorize that the entire staff was selected by FOX executives for their sit-com about life in the restaurant business. After the meal, our server came and asked if we were on one check or if he could "deuce it up" for us. When he returned, he stood at arm's length, looked at the checks, looked at the table, exclaimed "[Expletive (hint: anagrams to this)]!" and walked away. Another first for Madison A to Z.


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The bill was about ????
Sounds like an entertaining dining experience.
Did those matchstick fries taste as good as they looked???

Have you tried their Sunday brunch? I went this weekend for the first time. The food was delicious, but I totally agree about the service being weird.

Haha, I'm sure I know which server you got!

Brett...I wonder if we're thinking of the same person.


Yeah, service is a little strange. We were there a couple weeks ago for dinner and a movie. No mention of the free happy hour munchies at all. Potato pancakes were good but a little underdone. Entrees took forever - it seemed like the cooks were focused on restocking the free happy hour munchies rather than making the entrees we were paying for. Pretty good once they arrived, but nothing special. And what's up with showing Star Trek in the Stage Door? Really? That utility closet, and having us pay full price? Really?

Chris and i stopped in tonight because our first choice of Cooper's Tavern had a 1 hr wait. We ate inside because outside was full. The smell that hit us when we went inside was...well...both of us used the same word--horrendous. Chris thought uncleaned fish tank, I thought dank, musty dishwasher. Based in my drink, i was right. It tasted like the place smelled and was a little sudsy. Eww. Then i was chastised by the waitress for getting a new one from the bar. My burger was good. I wish it was served ANYWHERE else.

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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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