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Plaza Tavern & Grill

In a word: Clean, iconic, quite Teutonic, got that burger so Platonic.

The specs: #0491 
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; reviews at Yelp, City Dictionary, TownMeArtorama, Wauna-burger, Taste Test Madison, AV Club, listing at Eat Drink Madison; official web site, Plaza Tavern & Grill Incorporated on Urbanspoon

Latest Plaza news and reviews

JM ate the Plaza Burger and a lemonade.
Nichole ate the Reuben and two Optimators.
We split some cheddar rounds.
The bill was $22.50, or $11.25/person, plus tip.
JM and Nichole both gave the Plaza an A- (see our grading rubric).

We went to the Plaza on the Tuesday of the Perennial-Annual End Of The World As We Know It As If We Didn't Live In Wisconsin BlizzardTM. Thinking ahead for once, we called to make sure they were open and got some sense talked at us: "Uh, we don't close for weather."


The classic Wisconsin dive bar atmosphere is well-preserved here despite the 21st century juke box, flat screen TVs, and large dance floor. There were a few regulars at the bar but we were the only ones eating.

Nichole was no cheap date tonight. She got the priciest item on the menu, the reuben, for $5.25. It was extremely tidy. The sauerkraut had been expertly pressed to remove excess juice, and nothing spilled over the edges of the buttery grilled caraway rye. The Swiss cheese had totally melted and the components had achieved a sublime state of sandwich fusion.

The cheddar rounds were typical bar nuggets of potato bound together with cheese.  They were hot and the breading had a refreshing snap. 

JM's famous Plaza burger, according to Kate's burger rating guide.

  • Bun: toasted, buttered wheat. A little flat and definitely mass-produced, but in a good way.
  • Meat: standard, well-prepared and tasty.
  • Bun/meat ratio: the bun was a little small, but the toppings made up for this.
  • Cheese: we don't believe there was cheese, but this turned out to be okay.
  • Misc.: the burger is small but priced right. The famous secret sauce appears to be based on ranch dressing, though it is a little zippier. About 8.75 of 10 overall.


Quite good!


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That meal sounds awesome. I'm totally going there. Mmmmm.

I love the Plaza burger. So delish! And I'll always hold a special place in my heart for my old college hangout.

I have yet to tackle the legendary Haus of Plaza (ahem, Nichole), but this does make me really want to.

Thanks for explaining the cheese round. Apparently I'm not hanging out in enough bars.

Please tell me that "In a Word" is sung to the tune of Lady GaGa.

It's just chance.

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