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Texas institution Fuzzy's Taco Shop opens in Madison
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Credit:Linda Falkenstein

Fuzzy's Taco Shop has some two dozen locations across Texas and now, one in Wisconsin, in Madison, at 3519 University Ave. There's also a new one in Norman, Oklahoma. Why the odd distribution?

All it takes is two old friends from Pardeeville, Wis., one who moved to Texas and the other who stayed in Wisconsin and started running restaurants.

Kevin Bostad, the franchise owner, moved to Arlington, Tex., about 18 years ago, says Fuzzy's owner-operator Blake Radtke. "He found himself going to Fuzzy's, and liked it, and wanted to bring Tex-Mex to Wisconsin."

The Texas chain specializes in Baja-style tacos, with tempura-battered or grilled fish or shrimp, topped with cilantro, feta cheese and garlic sauce. Tacos also come in shredded beef and pork, grilled chicken or veggie, or ground beef. (Enchiladas, burritos, salads and the like are also on the menu.) "We make our own enchilada sauce, pico de gallo, and guacamole," says Radtke. "It's quick but fresh food, and that appealed to me."

Radtke previously ran Tru Tavern and Mill on Main, in Cambridge, restaurants that were casual "on the edge of fine dining. This eliminates servers and waiting time, but there's still quality food."

The University Avenue construction has been hard on Fuzzy's since it opened Oct. 13, but Radtke hopes that when that's finally finished (in a couple of weeks, and all of Madison will breathe a sigh of relief) things will pick up.

The eatery shares a building with a Starbucks, and has a modern, sports-pub feel to it (and several wide flat screens), yet Fuzzy's is also open for breakfast, which is available all day. Egg-filled burritos and tacos (with add-ons of potatoes, cheese, chorizo, bacon and shrimp) form the basis of breakfast, with huevos rancheros, migas, and chilaquiles available as platters with Latin fried potatoes and refried beans.

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