Downtown Madison just keeps on adding restaurants. State Street, the Square, University Avenue and the Bassett Neighborhood are all getting new venues. If you haven't been keeping track, here's a rundown.
- Coming to 430 State Street: Taste of Tibet. The sign in the window bills it as Madison's first Tibetan restaurant, which is true, if Chautara and Himal Chuli are seen as strictly Nepali. Taste of Tibet will feature three flavors of momo (dumplings) and a full range of vegetarian and non-vegetarian entrees.
- Coming to the corner of S. Pinckney and E. Doty Street, former home of Extra Bold Portfolio School: Honest Foods. This establishment is described on its liquor license application as an urban cafe, grocery and bar serving food from breakfast until late night. According to the application, there are also plans to feature acoustic music and jazz.
- Jo's Tazzina at 45 S. Bassett St. has changed ownership. New owner Tom Baertschy has taken over operations and for the time being, the menu remains pretty much the same while an expansion is completed. The new name will be 8 Seasons Grille.
"It's not a full kitchen right now," says Baertschy, so from-scratch soups and panini have been the focus. Currently a big range with a hood is being installed. An oak bar and bistro tables are being added; the aim is to have an open kitchen. Local and fresh ingredients and from-scratch cooking will form the heart of the menu, Baertschy says, with a full range of entrees but a "lot of vegetarian and vegan" as well as fish, meat and poultry.
A light breakfast, lunch and dinner will be served. Baertschy hopes the build-out will be completed and the new opening will take place in about a month, although there will be a period of about ten days when the business will be closed. "I just want to have a place that's affordable and has quality food where you can take a few friends to dinner and not break the bank," Baertschy says. "We're excited to be a part of the neighborhood."
- The Taco Shop is now open at 604 University Ave., next to A-8 China. The menu includes the standard nachos, tacos, tostadas, burritos, chimichangas, quesadillas and taco salad. Fillings include ground beef, shredded beef, shredded chicken, chili verde, or veggies. The chain has other locations in Amsterdam and Copenhagen, where it began about a decade ago.
- A little farther east than downtown Madison: Madison Sourdough will be moving from its west side headquarters to more spacious digs at 916 Williamson St. Breakfast, lunch, fair-trade coffee will be served, too.