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Zuzu Cafe

Fish wallZuzu CafeZuzu Cafe

In a word: It's a long way, but it's worth it.

The specs: #0779  
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; reviews at Yelp, Brownies and Zucchini; official web site, Zuzu Cafe on Urbanspoon

Latest Zuzu Cafe news and reviews

JM ate the Jefferson breakfast sandwich with a lemonade while working Todd McClary's Cryptic #1 in the April 2012 issue of GAMES magazine. The lid of his Nantucket Nectars said "The most famous of Nantucket's hidden forests is off of Polpi's Road."
Nichole ate the lablabi with a coffee while reading Studs Terkel's Working: a graphic adaptation by Harvey Pekar et al.
The bill was $10, or $5/person, plus tip.
JM gave Zuzu Cafe an A-; Nichole gave Zuzu Cafe an A (see our grading rubric).

Drinks at ZuzuSo this is it! Wow. We ended like we started, just us. And one of Nichole's oldest "friends."

Outside, Zuzu Cafe is a cornershop with ample bike racks and a tiny parking lot full of out-of-state license plates (good news gets around?). Inside, it's relaxed, funky, and clean, and very kid-friendly. We played with the plastic gear table and Duplos for as long as we thought we could get away with in public.

Coffee at Zuzu is Alterra. Today they had Sumatran dark and a lighter roast on, and the dark roast was poifect. There's also wine and beer galore, and Nantucket Nectars for lemonade.

It was a breakfasty/brunchy day (a Friday, we were fortunate to be able to take the day off work to properly comemmorate and send off ~eight years of this) so, of course, JM got a beef sandwich and Nichole got a spicy bean stew. With an egg on it = brunch.


The sandwiches are named for presidents and other neighborhood heroes: for example, JM's "Jefferson" was roast beef, Italian relish, and mozzarella on a grill-pressed pita. It was probably as good a deal as the Louisiana Purchase.

The lablabi special was described as a North African stew of chickpeas, carrots, cumin, caraway, coriander, and olive oil, with a gently fried egg on top. It was so filling, so fresh, so tasty, and so unexpected - so wonderful.

Our last advice to ourselves: keep learning. Keep growing.

Plant scope


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Congratulations! Can't weight to get back to Madison and try some new places!

Congratulations! I love this project and have enjoyed reading your reviews over the years. I hope you both are well!

Congrats. Great Blog - fun, informative.

Congratulations on getting through it! Hope to read more from you all. P.S. Lablabi is one of my favorite foods ever - now I know where to get it in Madison!

Wow! In some ways, it seems like you just started this project. (Probably because I didn't have to do any writing or organizing or whatnot, just read.) Glad your "last meal" was a good one!

Thank you both! I have been a loyal reader for some time and feel a poignant sense of completion. Congratulations on the accomplishment, seeing this project through is truly something of which to be proud!

Congrats on finishing the blog! It's been a treat to read - thank you so much.

Congratulations on coming to the end of this road! Your reviews have helped steer me and my group of dining friends to some great meals for our monthly excursions. I wish you nothing but success in where ever life leads you next - I only hope you will take us along for the ride.

Congratulations on finishing the list! Your blog has been a treat to read (and a great set of suggestions for the next interesting restaurant to try). Thanks!

Congratulations! What a fun feat of accomplishment. *blows horn*


And now you can go back to eating just for the biological sustenance of it all!

HUGE mega-congratulations on the end of this particular journey! And thanks for letting us all watch as your marathon was run! I can't imagine anyone in Madison's history has eaten at every restaurant in the area. At least not in the last 100 years, when there were more than just a few...

Congratulations! I totally remember you telling me about this project when we were at the SLIS library processing books for JLG. That was a long time ago! Way to stick with it! And thanks for all of the restaurant recommendations/cautions.

Yeah for MadisonAtoZ!! What an acoomplishment. This last post reminded me about driving past ZuZu's and always wanting to find out what was the food was like in there. I will have to stop! Thanks for all your great reviews and good luck with whatever project you start next.

Congrats. An interesting concept: a finite blog. Don't despair, you can review something else, or take a series of photos of ham sandwiches just for old times sake.

You both deserve a standing ovation for really sticking with this through thick and thin.

While a finite blog's a fine idea, I think a fair number of us would appreciate it if you wrote up new restaurants as they emerged. I know I've come to trust what you say about any restaurant––and so far, you've never led me astray. (Whenever I'm thinking about trying a place I've never been to, I look at what you've posted about it.) But I do understand if you don't want to.

I'm bereft.

CONGRATULATIONS on "finishing" what you started!!!! :-D

There are VERY few people in this world that have completed an 8 year project like you have!!!! Thanks for bringing "us" along for the ride, can't tell you how often I have read your reviews before going to a new restaurant [and re-read your reviews & comments]. This site is a treasure trove of info, both current & historical.

Regardless what the future holds for your online endeavors I only have ONE request. PLEASE keep this site up, don't want to wake up some day and get a 401 error message!!!! :(

As a long time ~5 year reader / follower of your site I am speechless. I always knew in the back of my mind this day would come, but part of me hoped it never would. I have grown fond of your reviews, how they have evolved, how the Madison food scene has changed, and have used your reviews when deciding where to go, etc.

I know you have ideas for various future online endeavors and wish you nothing but the best. I also would recommend taking a month or two break, so you can unwind, take a step back, and hopefully then see more clearly how to proceed online.

That being said, I know there are MANY of US -- both commentators & just readers -- that wish you would continue to do "make up letters" on Madison restaurants in the future, maybe on a semi-annual basis [2x year]. After all you already did the "amazing" part of getting through them the first time, so keeping up should be far easier!!! LOL

However we can't forget YOU TWO are the ones doing the "hard work", so at the end of the day it isn't what WE the readers want, but what you want that will determine the future success of your online endeavors, both with this blog and any other project(s) you work on. After all if you don't like what you are doing, especially in creative endeavors like this, it WILL show in your work. [While you had some tough patches in getting through the AtoZ list, it at least appears from your blog, that you regained the "fun" aspect of it by the last part of the letters!!!]

Thanks again SO much for your OUTSTANDING blog,

Don't forget that ZuZu Cafe sponsors an open mic every Saturday evening. This event is also teen and kid-friendly.

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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."

Madison Food coverInfo about our book Madison Food: A History of Capital Cuisine is here, or read it for free thanks to the library - print & ebook.



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