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"P" is for Please (and Thank You)

The end of the P's brought us to the threshold of 500 restaurants and also coincided with the end of the Oughts. Such landmarks inspire reflection and gratitude, so here are some pleases and thanks, dear readers.

Please keep sharing your experiences. It's especially cool to read comments from a unique perspective, say vegan or gluten-free, and/or to learn about a menu's hidden gems. Since we're just two people with our own proclivities and no particular dietary needs, we're not qualified on the basis of one visit to speak to all the facets of a restaurant.

Thank you for remembering we don't get paid for this.* We can't afford the time or money for do-overs, and that's another reason we love your comments. Just don't insist that we go back because we missed the best thing about a place. That makes us sad, which makes those less charitable among us feel schadenfreude and/or ressentiment, for which they will be damned to a lonely, tormented perdition of their own making. Nobody wants that. So thanks for understanding that we can't do repeats. ("You missed the XYZ? How could you? You must go back and try it." = bad. "I have eaten the XYZ many times and it is awesome!" = better.)

Thank you for voting Eating in Madison A to Z your favorite local blog. We had no idea that anyone would want to read anything we wrote -- which may explain the lack of detail in any post numbered 50 or less -- let alone keep reading almost six years later. With over 150 places still to go on the list as it stands today, we're still looking at a long climb ahead. Which leads to: Please don't tell us your favorite restaurant starts with S or T. We'll get there soon, we promise.

Most importantly, Madison:

Please don't let another minority-run business go under. During our pass through the alphabet, we've seen plenty of restaurants close for plenty of different reasons. However, we're not the only ones who have noticed a pattern of neighborhood complaints shutting down places run by or for people of color (the most recent being Africana, but similar sanctions have troubled A Place For Friends, Con Safos, and the Goodman Center's youth events).

For the record, we don't visit many places when they are in party mode. However, the only place we have ever encountered serious misbehavior was at Grid Iron after a home football game, when a white female Badger fan apparently wanted a piece of Nichole. Don't be like that, Madison. Please keep the civil and positive dialog about concert venue best practices going, eschew double standards, and educate yourselves. Dane101's ALRC reporting and Emily's Post are great places to start.

Thank you for keeping this blog lively. Finishing the P's may have felt like hitting a double, but we know we were born on second. Madison and its environs is a great place to eat. We've said it before, but for that, we're very grateful. 

Our favorite P's were:
Breakfast: Pat O'Malley's Jet Room
Lunch: People's Bakery & Lebanese Cuisine
Dinner: Plaza Tavern & Grill

Our grades thus far:


Nichole JM
A 213
43%
196
39%
B 210
42%
255
51%
C 62
12%
45
9%
D 12
3%
3
1%
F 2
0%
0
0%

GPA by first letter:


1st Pass Cumulative
A 3.11 3.30
B 3.15 3.18
C 3.25 3.25
D 3.20 3.29
E 3.03 3.06
F 3.24 3.25
G 3.21 3.28
H 3.16 3.23
I 3.40 3.48
J 3.13 3.12
K 3.08 3.09
L 3.23 3.27
M 3.32 3.29
N 3.15 3.15
O 3.23 3.23
P 3.09 n/a

*The fine print, because the FTC, Jay Rath, and Robert Sietsema are watching: in 2009 we took up with Google and Amazon ads and have earned about $25 after one year. Since the inception of the project, we've had a few pieces published in local papers for about $150 total. Publishers occasionally and inexplicably send us free cookbooks. Often a companion picks up the tab or shares a coupon, for which we give thanks in the specs. We have had nothing comped except for two desserts and a cup of ginger juice, both unsolicited, and have not once sent a dish back to the kitchen. If we're forgetting something, and you find it in one of our posts, we owe you a soda.

Comments

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I get updates of this blog in my feed reader, but I don't often post.

I was wondering if you guys keep a running list of places that have closed. If so, would you be willing to post it? I'm curious as to how many places have closed in the past 5 years of living here. I'd also be interested in those that have opened, should you have access to that information as well.

I'm not expecting you guys to do any work here - you already do enough! But if you happen to have this information, I know I'd love to see it.

Just a clarification--to my knowledge, Africana is still open (although I could be wrong). I live in the area, and believe me, I won't be happy if they close--that corner was empty for years, and people were pleased when Africana opened up. But the police have been called multiple times, and that's a problem. My understanding is that the restaurant has become much more nightclub-oriented in the past few years, since you've been there. ATwood is a great area for an ethnic restaurant. For a nightclub? Not so much.

Also, I don't think Goodman Ctr has stopped having youth events. What they did was institute requirements for those events, so they can't be over a certain decibel level--plus, if kids have been drinking, they kick them out. Most of the neighbors are in favor of having safe places for teens to go for music and to hang out--but we shouldn't be able to hear the bass from their shows a block away, w/ the storm windows up, in the middle of winter.

So I guess my point is that there may be a pattern of closures among minority-owned restaurants, but you picked some bad examples.

Africana is still open, I'm fairly certain. However, the police are exploring new options on how to deal with the DJ parties that spring up after dinner hours. According to the police department they've had meetings with the owners and the neighborhood to address the issues, but the problems persist. I think the next step will likely be suspending the restaurants liquor license.

Erin: here's a list">http://www.madisonatoz.com/closed.html">list of what has closed since we started.

First of all, thanks for all you do with this blog. I know I've referred to it several times to get dining ideas, and have also recommended it to several friends. Much obliged.

Secondly, thanks for the shout out! :)

I love it when you guys use this word schadenfreude

Thanks for your 500 restaurant reviews. Often if I comment saying "You should go back!' It's not to guilt you, but just a form of conversation. I'm not actually demanding you go back, but moreso saying "it's worth it!"

I just read through the closed list you read and it made me quite sad...

I'd be interested to know what was your favorite restaurant that has closed? I know mine, no question-- Jada's Soul Food. I loved that place.

That was another minority owned business that wasn't able to break out into mainstream success, even though they had some of the finest soul food I've ever had.

Good question Keith
Going ONLY by the closed list, I would say Irish Waters. Grew up going to that place with good friends that now live overseas. Food was always good, salad dressing dad had there the last time was awesome [wish I had the recipe]. Also, it had billiards tables and served bottled root beer in frosty mugs. I would say the memories are what push it over the edge, though the food/service were above average anyway.

All time favorite Madison restaurant that closed, was China International Gourmet [original name], which became Peking Palace [Chinese restaurant behind Hilldale Mall right next to where Hilldale Theater was located.

Had one of the best buffets in the city and went there almost weekly. Frankly we went there so long that I think all the wait staff started after we were already going there, so kind of like family. Especially sucked that the last I saw, it was still just a hole in the ground [since economy tanked after someone already bought the property]. At least owners made it out at the right time.

Just curious, what happened to Q through Z? Did I miss something?

JJ -- Restaurants Q through Z either haven't been reviewed yet [list is done in alphabetical order] or they have been reviewed so recently that none of them have closed yet.

The post that we're all commenting on is the summary of the P section of the alphabet. Summaries are posted when letters are finished. Then the make-ups, in--

You know, the What is it? link way at the top really does explain the site quite well.

Sure, assuming it is a "ghost writer" position, where I answer the emails, but your names are used. LOL

Possible "P" place next time you catch up on newer restaurants... Palmyra is a Greek/Middle Eastern restaurant on Century Avenue in Middleton, in the Middleton Hills shopping plaza across from Copps. It's pretty good. Excellent desert cookies and such too.

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NEWS

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."

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