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FIB's (cart)

In a word: Let's be frank, this is the wurst cart.

The specs: #0568  
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; reviews at Althouse, AV Club; profile at Wisconsin State Journal.

Latest FIBs news and reviews

JM ate the Milwaukee dog, the chili dog, and a lemonade.
Nichole ate the Italian beef, hot and wet.
The bill was $14, or $7/person, plus tip.
JM gave FIB's a B+; Nichole gave FIB's an A- (see our grading rubric).

FIB's is a cart worth a trip. It serves a food perfectly suited to the street food milieu, namely eminently portable hot Italian beef, Italian sausage, brats and hot dogs. It's attractive and clean, kitschy but not over the top. Sinatra tunes (the universal shorthand for Big City) wafted from the screened order window and a flyer featuring Mayor Soglin trivia was on hand. 

There are only a handful of items on the menu, but it still took us longer to decide what to order than it took them to prep our stuff. We could have taken the scenic-kraut and walked around with our styro trays, but instead sat on a bench outside the Starbucks on the Square and dog in.

The beef was on an excellent roll, with a great ratio of bread to tender meat. The giardiniera and jus mingled in a lip-tingling way that suggested the jus itself had some spice to it.

FIBs sausages

Both of JM's hot dogs were served on steamed poppyseed buns. The chili dog was one of the tidier, more pleasant ones he's had. A couple tablespoons of meaty chili was rich with a broad, not piquant, heat, and soft, inoffensive beans, which for JM is sayin' somethin'. Diced onion (on the bland side) and a Pick-Up-Sticks-evoking pinch of shredded orange cheese topped it off.

The Milwaukee dog was dressed with average kraut and yellow mustard. If the mustard had been a good brown or even beer variety, JM would have no reservations about giving FIB's an A-. French's Yellow is fine but seems careless on a dog named after the beer capital of the world, like putting bell peppers on an Italian beef. We don't know of a FIB that would stand for that.

In other words (with apologies to John Sams) we could even say that we never sausage a thing.


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GROAN. Loved the review, but the puns really made me smile. Thanks!

Scenic-kraut?! Hardy har har. I am now completely fixated on how soon I can get an Italian Beef from that cart. This always happens when I read your blog!

Order the Chicago dog with everything!

I eat here periodically when downtown. Overall in my opinion this is one of the best carts. It's not perfect, but the Italian Beef really tastes like an Italian Beef you may find in Chicago. The sausages are also pretty good. My only qualm is that serving sizes here are smaller than you'd find in Chicago for a higher price. Upwards of $7 for a sandwich seems steep, but at least the sandwich will be good.

i've researched opening a cart (LY) and the red tape is enormous. where does he do his prep, because you can't cook food on the spot from a cart in madison....you have to do it at a commissary or some other commercially licensed establishment......????

That food cart red tape was my first clue that the whole “Madison is unfriendly to business” line was more than just empty rhetoric. There really are a lot of stupid, archaic, or otherwise confounding ordinances and regulations here that make it very difficult to open and operate a normal business. I’d love to see more food trucks (and on-site preparation) but I doubt very much that that’s going to happen unless the city changes its attitude.

Thanks for eating at Fib's.
We now have a second cart and a second location in McFarland on Hwy 51 in the Maple Tree supper club parking lot Mon - Sat from 11:00 - 2:00

I had heard there was a Fib's cart at the Maple Tree in McFarland, but I went there intending to try a sandwich on Monday 2/11/13 at 11:30 am, and there was no cart to found.

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