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Parkway Family Restaurant

Soup and saladIn a word: Comfort, served warm and cheap.

The specs: #0473 
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; reviews at Parkway Family Restaurant on Urbanspoon, Yelp, EatDrinkMadison listing.

Latest Parkway news and reviews

Alan ate the fish fry.
JM ate the mac and cheese with Polish sausage and a lemonade.
Mallory ate the Greek omelet and a soda.
Nichole ate the chicken noodle soup, a Monte Cristo and coffee.
We split some tapioca pudding and a slice of lemon meringue pie.
The bill was $46, or $11.50/person, plus tip.
JM gave Parkway Family Restaurant an B+ ; Nichole gave Parkway Family Restaurant an A (see our grading rubric).

Monte cristo

With the economic times what they are, Parkway has recently garnered some attention as a place for a good bargain on homestyle food, but that's not news. Parkway was one of the places Nichole and JM went during their first summer in Madison; back then, they were still easily charmed by smoother faces and Parkway seemed shabby, almost something to be ashamed of feeling affection toward. In contrast to a Food Fight joint, where $4 got you a fake smile and a side of mashed yams, at Parkway Nichole's cashier pay easily afforded a plate of scallops (nevermind if they really were) and a side of Brewtown nostalgia. Today a meal will run you more like $7 or $8 but the place is still real. We think it's too bad it's taken harder times for Parkway to get what recognition it deserves, but we're glad it's starting to happen.

Anyway. Of the Monte Cristo:

Bread: The French toast was made from very eggy, thick cut white bread. The top was soggier than the bottom.

Meat: The ham and turkey were warmed through, medium-thick cut.

Cheese: Swiss, exceedingly goopy and generous, but possibly processed versus the harder stuff.

Construction/presentation: The flavors were balanced, but the sandwich was basically too big and heavy to finish. Maple syrup was provided on request. About a 6 of 10 overall.

Greek omeletMallory got her usual, the Greek omelet; we gather she could have said "the usual" to our server and she would have gotten the right thing. It's that kind of place. The omelet spilled off the plate and was cooked perfectly, with fresh tomatoes, feta, and peppers. The side of hashbrowns were lightly cooked and not too greasy.

Fish fryAlan's fish fry included a trip to the salad bar, which offered a few dozen choices of toppings and standard sides like cottage cheese, radishes, carrots, nuts, etc. The fish itself was better than average, flaky and hot, with a light breading and a baked potato with the trimmings on the side.

Mac and cheese and polish sausage

JM gave in to his heart and got the mac and cheese. A big serving of elbow macaroni, garnished with parsley, in a cheesy sauce with many visible bits of carrots and onion. While this execution was neither as tasty nor as memorable as the one at the Old Fashioned, it was perfect comfort food at a very comfortable price. Warm and satisfying, even the Polish sausage implied "home" to JM, nevermind that he didn't grow up eating it split and fried in this particular way.

DessertNo dinner at a family restaurant is complete without something from the rotating display case and/or tapioca/jello. The serving of pudding was presented prettily, and about twice the portion as usual. The pudding was light on tapioca pearls and had a good vanilla flavor. The lemon meringue pie was very good and zesty.

Yes, friends, the Parkway is not a place to go in order to "be seen" in the right place. It is not where you go when you want to "wow" a first date. But for good food at a price you can live with, Parkway is way towards the top.


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I always thought this place would do so well if it could get a little closer to campus. Stoned and/or poor students would really appreciate a place like this.

As a high school kid in Milwaukee, there were many Greek-owned, family-style restaurants. You always got a lot of food for your money. The quality was better than Perkins/Denny's. I missed those kind of places when I move to Madison for college.

This just shows that you know nothing about food or dining in general. You need to stop what you're doing and stop appreciating frozen food. The old fashioned is gross. I worked in the kitchen there and it is the lowest grade of food you can possibly serve. The meat is so bad that's why they torch it on that wood fire grill to try to hide the fact that it's dog food. They buy the lowest grade product available. By the way, nice picture of your burnt omelet. THE OMELET IS BURNT YOU IDIOTS. YOU GUYS WOULDN'T KNOW IF I SERVED YOU HORSE IN YOUR BURGER. YOU'RE PARAGRAPH TALKING ABOUT SCALLOPS AND WHATEVER ELSE WITH YOU'RE RUNNING SENTENCES MAKES ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE. YOU DON'T HAVE A LITERARY EDUCATION OR A CULINARY BACKGROUND. What makes you think that you know enough to do write-ups on restaurants.

Robert, are you looking for the post about Old Fashioned? It's over here. We're always open to instruction from expert writer-uppers on restaurants. We'd love to see your work.

Also, are you seriously accusing us of having no literary education when you used the wrong "your"?


I nominate Robert for post of the year, probably written by a manager at the crab shack.

Or maybe the boyfriend of the chick who shoved you at Grid Iron.

Hmmm - I haven't been to this place in several years (10 or more) because I thought at the time it was pretty meh. Guess it's time to give it another chance!

I'm very sorry. I should have used "you're" correctly, as I will display you right now. You're an idiot.

Fastest running sentences in town. Probably all the horse meat.

ahahahahahahah! well said Jason. Reading through this blog and comments felt like a tasty meal itself, peppered with some healthy chuckles and a few snorts for that unique texture.

Great place for breakfast or lunch. They serve breakfast all day. Anything I've ever ordered at the Parkway has been fresh and well cooked. Always a great choice of several lunch specials. They used to have a feta burger on the menu that I really liked. When I didn't see it on the menu, I asked for it and they were happy to make it. Highly recommended. Check out the steak sandwich for under $10 and the BLT is excellent. My wife ordered a malted after dinner one night. It was very much an old fashion malt and the perfect size. Not too big after a good sized meal and priced at only about $2.50.

"The old fashioned is gross. I worked in the kitchen there"

And probably would still be if you could have just gotten those plates a little cleaner, which I'm guessing may be the reason for your tirade against the wrong restaurant?

I disagree with this post about Parkway. My partner and I went there for an early morning breakfast because the Cap Times had a decent write-up about it.

We thought the food was disgusting. The hashbrowns were really undercooked and the omelets were meh. Plus, neither of us thought the service was very good. The prices were also not as cheap as they could be.

You guys should try the Pine Cone in DeForest for a good, greasy spoon :)

I know it's funny, but you should just delete posts like Robert's. It's your blog, thus your perogative, but posts like that detract from your original post (plus I end up thinking there are several comments about the restaurant - rather than a troll. Of course, I am now adding to the length of comments with a non-restaurant related thought). So, thank you for the review, I drive by this place every day and recently thougt that it must be at least okay because even during the downward economc swing, the parking lot has several cars all the time.

I remember having really good meatloaf at the Parkway, but it was years ago. Maybe time for another try.

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