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Saturday, October 25, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 68.0° F  A Few Clouds
The Daily
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Final rankings for Madison food carts from 2004-2009
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Credit:Linda Falkenstein

Each year at the end of September, a panel of 20-some volunteer tasters eats at every Mall-Concourse food vendor, a number that usually runs to thirty or more. The testers have six days to complete the eat. (Note: The tasting panel does not include the same people every year.)

Testers score the stands on food taste and quality (40%), cart appearance and presentation (40%) and originality of menu items (20%). Added onto that score is years of seniority -- years the cart has been operating, with the number of years capped at seven so as not to give stands that have been in operation for two decades or more an unfair advantage over newcomers. Lastly, any demerits for violations (such as absence of gloves while food is being served) are subtracted from the total. It's interesting to note the fluctuations from year to year.

Here's a list of the complete cart rankings from 2009 and preceeding years, going back to 2004. The numbers in parentheses following the overall cart score are a) the taste-panel score; b) years of seniority; and c) any demerits received.


2009

  1. Kakilima: 97.00 (91.00, 6, 0)
  2. Athens Gyros: 95.48 (95.48, 0, 0)
  3. Johnson Brothers Coffee: 95.45 (88.45, 7, 0)
  4. Curt's Gourmet Popcorn: 93.86 (86.86, 7, 0)
  5. El Burrito Loco: 93.00 (87.00, 7, 1)
  6. Ingrid's Lunch Box: 92.82 (86.82, 6, 0)
  7. Zen Sushi: 91.86 (84.86, 7, 0)
  8. Santa Fe Trailer: (91.09) 89.09 2 0)
  9. Fruit Stand, The: 90.33 (83.33, 7, 0)
  10. Buraka East African Cuisine: 90.21 (83.21, 7, 0)
  11. Wei's Food to Go: 89.48 (85.48, 5, 1)
  12. Hibachi Hut: 89.36 (88.36, 2, 1)
  13. FIB'S: 89.10 (87.10, 2, 0)
  14. Loose Juice: 88.90 (81.90, 7, 0)
  15. Taste of Jamaica (Jamerica): 88.64 (82.64, 7, 1)
  16. Dandelion Vegetarian Foods: 88.31 (86.31, 2, 0)
  17. Steep & Brew: 87.95 (80.95, 7, 0)
  18. Fresh Cool Drinks: 87.67 (80.67, 7, 0)
  19. For Crepe Sake: 87.32 (87.32, 0, 0)
  20. Electric Earth Café: 87.27 (87.27, 0, 0)
  21. King of Falafel: 86.75 (86.75, 0, 0)
  22. Natural Juice: 86.14 (79.14, 7, 0)
  23. Spice Yatra: 85.86 (84.86, 2, 1)
  24. Madison Sourdough: 85.76 (85.76, 0, 0)
  25. Comfort Food Cart: 85.18 (85.18, 0 0)
  26. Taste of Mexico: 85.05 (81.05, 5, 1)
  27. LMNO'Pies: 85.00 (85.00, 1, 1)
  28. Ernie's Kettle Korn: 83.90 (76.90, 7, 0)
  29. Bluefin Sushi 83.59 (79.59, 5, 1)
  30. Africana Les Merveilles de Canan: 83.00 (83.00, 0, 0)
  31. Bonne Journee: 82.78 (82.78, 0, 0)
  32. Coconates Trattoria: 82.39 (82.39, 0, 0)
  33. Capitol Kettle Corn: 80.28 (79.28, 1, 0)
  34. Café Costa Rica: 80.17 (80.17, 1, 1)
  35. Sabores Latinos: 79.59 (77.59, 2, 0)
  36. China Cottage: 77.77 (71.77, 7, 1)
  37. Thai's Cuisine: 73.62 (67.62, 7, 1)
  38. Tropical Drinks: 72.50 (66.50, 7, 1)

2008

  1. Curt's Gourmet Popcorn: 96.56 (89.56, 7, 0)
  2. Johnson Brothers Coffee : 95.12 (88.12,7, 0)
  3. Fruit Stand, The: 95.08 (88.08, 7, 0)
  4. Taste of Jamaica (Jamerica): 93.32 (86.32, 7, 0)
  5. Ingrid's Lunch Box: 92.00 (87.00, 5, 0)
  6. FIB'S: 91.28 (90.28, 1, 0)
  7. Loose Juice: 91.08 (84.08, 7, 0)
  8. Santa Fe Trailer: 91.00 (90.00, 1, 0)
  9. El Burrito Loco: 90.88 (86.88, 7, 3)
  10. Kakilima: 89.91 (84.91, 5, 0)
  11. Zen Sushi: 88.32 (82.32, 6, 0)
  12. Taste of Mexico: 88.17 (84.17, 4, 0)
  13. Hibachi Hut: 87.12 (87.12, 1, 1)
  14. Fresh Cool Drinks: 86.73 (79.73, 7, 0)
  15. Buraka: 86.23 (82.23, 7, 3)
  16. Capitol Kettle Corn: 86.12 (86.12, 0, 0)
  17. Dandelion Vegetarian Foods: 85.96 (84.96, 1, 0)
  18. Natural Juice: 85.58 (78.58, 7, 0)
  19. Mad Dogs One: 85.25 (84.25, 1, 0)
  20. Taste of Persia: 85.19 (85.19, 0, 0)
  21. Madison Sourdough: 85.08 (82.08, 3, 0)
  22. Wei's Food to Go: 84.69 (80.69, 4, 0)
  23. Ernie's Kettle Korn: 84.56 (78.56, 6, 0)
  24. China Cottage: 84.32 (77.32, 7, 0)
  25. Spice Yatra: 84.31 (84.31, 1, 1)
  26. LMN O'Pies: 83.96 (83.96, 0, 0)
  27. Local Stanley, The: 83.46 (86.46, 2, 5)
  28. Steep & Brew: 83.32 (76.32, 7, 0)
  29. Bluefin Sushi: 82.12 (81.12, 4, 3)
  30. Café Costa Rica: 80.88 (80.88, 0, 0)
  31. Sabores Latinos: 79.28 (78.28, 1, 0)
  32. Tropical Drinks: 78.32 (72.32, 7, 1)
  33. Thai's Cuisine: 76.50 (69.50, 7, 0)

2007

  1. Johnson Brothers Coffee:99.19 (92.19, 7, 0)
  2. Buraka: 98.13 (91.13, 7, 0)
  3. Kakilima: 96.30 (92.30, 4, 0)
  4. Fruit Stand, The:96.13 (89.13, 7, 0)
  5. Zen Sushi: 95.67 (90.67, 5, 0)
  6. Loose Juice: 94.94 (87.94, 7, 0)
  7. El Burrito Loco: 93.75 (89.75, 6, 2)
  8. Santa Fe Trailer: 93.63 (93.63, 0, 0)
  9. FIB'S: 93.31 (93.31, 0, 0)
  10. Hibachi Hut: 92.00 (92.00, 0, 0)
  11. Ingrid's Lunch Box: 91.60 (87.60, 4, 0)
  12. Taste of Mexico: 91.47 (87.47, 4, 0)
  13. Spice Yatra: 91.25 (91.25, 0, 0)
  14. Senor Peppers: 91.20 (89.20, 3, 1)
  15. Ernie's Kettle Korn: 90.27 (85.27, 5, 0)
  16. Mad Dog's One:90.00 (90.00, 0, 0)
  17. Natural Juice: 89.69 (83.69, 6, 0)
  18. Taste of Jamaica (Jamerica): 89.47 (82.47, 7, 0)
  19. Local Stanley, The: 89.36 (88.36, 1, 0)
  20. Mad Dog's Two: 88.33 (88.33, 0, 0)
  21. Wei's Food to Go: 87.87 (84.87, 3, 0)
  22. Steep & Brew: 87.75 (80.75, 7, 0)
  23. China Cottage: 85.38 (79.38, 7, 1)
  24. Fresh Cool Drinks: 85.18 (78.18, 7, 0)
  25. Madison Sourdough: 85.00 (83.00, 2, 0)
  26. Bluefin Sushi: 85.00 (84.00, 3, 2)
  27. Mango Man: 84.06 (84.06, 0, 0)
  28. Dandelion Vegetarian Foods: 83.07 (83.07, 0, 0)
  29. Sabores Latinos: 83.06 (83.06, 0, 0)
  30. Curt's Gourmet Popcorn: 81.75 (79.75, 7, 5)
  31. I'm Here: 79.69 (73.69, 7, 1)
  32. Tropical Drinks: 79.25 (73.25, 7, 1)
  33. Silky's, Too: 78.50 (78.50, 1, 1)
  34. Govinda's Vegetarian Cuisine: 76.19 (76.19, 0, 0)

2006

  1. Fruit Stand, The: 99.82 (92.82, 7, 0)
  2. Johnson Brothers Coffee: 98.59 (92.59, 7, 1)
  3. Sukhothai: 95.69 (88.69, 7, 0)
  4. Loose Juice: 95.65 (89.65, 7, 1)
  5. Kakilima: (92.59, 3, 0)
  6. El Burrito Loco: 95.12 (91.12, 5, 1)
  7. Buraka: 94.71 (87.71, 7, 0)
  8. Zen Sushi: 93.71 (90.71, 4, 1)
  9. Local Stanley, The: 93.29 (93.29, 0, 0)
  10. Taste of Jamaica (Jamerica): 93.12 (87.12, 7, 1)
  11. Ernie & Roger's Kettle Korn: 92.73 (88.73, 4, 0)
  12. Ingrid's Lunch Box: 92.24 (90.24, 3, 1)
  13. Amazin' Asian: 91.64 (87.64, 4, 0)
  14. Steep & Brew: 91.06 (84.06, 7, 0)
  15. Natural Juice: 89.56 (84.56, 5, 0)
  16. Taste of Mexico: 89.41 (87.41, 2, 0)
  17. China Cottage: 89.29 (82.29, 7, 0)
  18. Curt's Gourmet Popcorn: 89.18 (82.18, 7, 0)
  19. Madison Sourdough: 89.00 (88.00, 1, 0)
  20. Silky's, Too: 88.94 (88.94, 0, 0)
  21. Bluefin: 88.12 (88.12, 2, 2)
  22. Palmas, Las: 87.53 (86.53, 2, 1)
  23. Senor Peppers: 86.76 (86.76, 2, 2)
  24. Fresh Cool Drinks: 85.73 (78.73, 7, 0)
  25. Tropical Drinks: 85.12 (79.12, 7, 1)
  26. Wei's Food to Go: 81.38 (80.38, 2, 1)
  27. I'm Here : 78.94 (73.94, 7, 2)
  28. JD's Express: 72.00 (70.00, 2, 0)

2005

  1. Athenian Garden: 100.13 (95.13, 5, 0)
  2. Johnson Brothers Coffee: 98.80 (91.80, 7, 0)
  3. Thai House: 98.07 (91.07, 7, 0)
  4. Fruit Stand, The: 97.33 (90.33, 7, 0)
  5. Serene Dreams: 95.60 (95.60, 0, 0)
  6. Buraka: 94.43 (87.43, 7, 0)
  7. Loose Juice: 93.29 (86.29, 7, 0)
  8. Sukhothai: 93.00 (86.00, 7, 0)
  9. Taste of Jamaica (Jamerica) 92.73 (86.73, 7, 1)
  10. Kakilima: 91.47 (90.47, 2, 1)
  11. Natural Juice: 90.27 (86.27, 4, 0)
  12. Madison Sourdough: 90.20 (90.20, 0, 0)
  13. Guantanamera: 89.80 (82.80, 7, 0)
  14. Steep & Brew: 89.53 (82.53 7 0)
  15. China Cottage: 89.47 (2.47, 7, 0)
  16. Zen Sushi: 89.33 (87.33, 3, 1)
  17. El Burrito Loco: 88.79 (84.79, 4, 0)
  18. Ingrid's Lunch Box: 88.38 (87.38, 2, 1)
  19. Mango Man: 88.00 (87.00, 1, 0)
  20. Bluefin: 86.79 (86.79, 1, 1)
  21. Taste of Mexico : 86.36 (85.36, 1, 0)
  22. Tropical Drinks: 85.29 (78.29, 7, 0)
  23. Ernie & Roger's Kettle Korn 85.08 (82.08, 3, 0)
  24. Curt's Gourmet Popcorn: 84.62 (77.62, 7, 0)
  25. Senor Pepper: 84.40 (84.40, 1, 1)
  26. Tibet Kitchen: 84.27 (84.27, 0, 0)
  27. Wei's Food to Go: 82.14 (81.14, 1, 0)
  28. Fresh Cool Drinks:82.00 (75.00, 7, 0)
  29. Amazin' Asian: 81.57 (79.57, 3, 1)
  30. I'm Here: 79.80 (72.80, 7, 0)
  31. A La Carte: 79.31 (78.31, 1, 0)
  32. JD's Express: 73.13 (72.13, 1, 0)

2004

  1. Johnson Brothers Coffee: 100.33 (93.33, 7, 0)
  2. Thai House: 98.75 (91.75, 7, 0)
  3. Athenian Garden: 98.69 (94.69, 4, 0)
  4. Fruit Stand, The: 97.93 (90.93, 7, 0)
  5. Buraka: 95.40 (88.40, 7, 0)
  6. Bread Barn, The : 94.29 (89.29, 5, 0)
  7. Steep & Brew: 94.14 (87.14, 7, 0)
  8. Taste of Jamaica (Jamerica) : 93.19 (87.19, 6, 0)
  9. Loose Juice: 93.06 (86.06, 7, 0)
  10. Sukhothai : 91.07 (84.07, 7, 0)
  11. Kakilima: 90.88 (89.88, 1, 0)
  12. Ernie & Roger's Kettle Korn: 90.50 (88.50, 2, 0)
  13. Guantanamera: 90.19 (84.19, 6, 0)
  14. Senor Pepper: 89.75 (89.75, 0, 0)
  15. Zen Sushi: 89.69 (87.69, 2, 0)
  16. Val's Southern Cuisine: 89.60 (84.60, 5, 0)
  17. Ingrid's Lunch Box: 89.44 (88.44, 1, 0)
  18. Taste of Mexico: 89.06 (89.06, 0, 0)
  19. El Burrito Loco: 88.56 (85.56, 3, 0)
  20. Curt's Gourmet Popcorn: 88.53 (81.53, 7, 0)
  21. Mango Man: 88.44 (88.44, 0, 0)
  22. Bluefin : 88.19 (88.19, 0, 0)
  23. Bill's Orange Juice: 87.90 (80.90, 7, 0)
  24. Soup Factory: 86.69 (86.69, 0, 0)
  25. Natural Juice: 86.06 (83.06, 3, 0)
  26. China Cottage: 85.81 (78.81, 7, 0)
  27. Amazin' Asian: 84.75 (82.75, 2, 0)
  28. A La Carte: 83.94 (83.94, 0, 0)
  29. Wei's Food to Go: 83.43 (83.43, 0, 0)
  30. Tropical Drinks: 83.13 (76.13, 7, 0)
  31. Palmas, Las: 80.81 (80.81, 0, 0)
  32. I'm Here: 78.56 (71.56, 7, 0)
  33. Fresh Cool Drinks: 77.81 (70.81, 7, 0)

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