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In a word: For wand o' a better beer selection...

The specs: #0731  
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; reviews at Yelp, Trip Advisor, The Sconz, Dane 101, Taylor Takes a Taste, madisonfishfry, Daily Dadio, Eat Drink Madison; Facebook, official web site, Wando's on Urbanspoon

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JM ate the nachos with beef plus a lemonade.
Nichole ate the Wando burger with a diet Pepsi.
The bill was $23, or $11.50/person, plus tip (minus $10, thanks to Groupon).
JM and Nichole gave Wando's a C+ (see our grading rubric).

Penny hockeyBars with dress codes and Badger paraphernalia are not generally our thing, but the food at Wando's was better than we expected. We also had fun playing penny tabletop hockey.

The service was excellent and we wanted for nothing other than a decent beverage. They serve Pepsi, and except for Vermont microbrew Magic Hat (which we guessed was on tap thanks to a recent League of Libations event) everything on the beer list would make Motion 414 backers happy. We also decided not to get a fishbowl. You dragged it out of us, the lemonade was fine.

Wando burger

If the sweet, floppy "honey" bacon on the buffalo-style Wando burger is the same bacon they serve on Tuesday for Bacon Night, heckz yeah. Let's see how it does on Accidental Hedonist's burger rubric:

  • Bun: very lightly - almost indetectably - toasted white bakery roll. Sturdy.
  • Meat: thick patty of hand-formed, finely ground beef. Ordered medium rare, but had to get to the middle to see pink. Not particularly moist, but sauce made up for it.
  • Bun/meat ratio: perfect.
  • Cheese (i.e., sauce): Light, thin bleu cheese dressing that melded with Tabasco well.
  • Misc.: a few nicely salty, thin onion straws were a welcome sight - we were dreading a massive, over-breaded onion ring or a mountain of overdone fryer crumbles. Served with eschewable lettuce, pale tomato slice, and a pickle spear. About a 7 of 10 for its style.


Here's where JM's nacho kick ends. Triangles of corn chips, iceberg lettuce, shredded cheddar and jack cheeses at varying degrees of meltiness, and diced tomato (hold the olives, pick off the jalapeños) made for two meals. There's a choice of beef or chicken for an upcharge, and JM opted for beef. He thought it tasted akin to crumbled Sysco-standard, though it was very lean and had some chili, onion powder and garlic-type seasoning to add interest.

The house mild salsa was the best part - chunky, fresh red tomatoes, white onion and cilantro with chili powder & cumin and a dash of citrus, maybe, was as good as homemade.

They've got free wifi, are AC'd to death for those who like it cold, and though the interior is barnlike, we've seen the lines outside at night so obviously Wando's can fill up.

Bottom line: Wando's is a perfect example of what we'd call a C+. They're better than average at being what they are, we wouldn't deny a friend a trip there if that's what they really wanted to do, but there's nothing outstanding at Wando's to bring us back on our own, especially sans decent beer.


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I have been to Wando's only once in the ten years I've lived in Madison. I asked for a medium-rare burger and got a hockey puck on a bun instead. In a city that prides itself on its beer-snobbery, a lack of choice in even decent beers always stands out in my mind. I love bacon, and this is the one thing Wando's does well. But, without any good beer to wash it down with, what's the point?!

It's worth noting that Wando's is proudly and vocally engaged in what appears to be some Jim Crow era racial discrimination with its new, unevenly enforced "drivers license or passport only" ID policy, discussed in more detail here:


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