Eating on Monona Bay, minutes from downtown, with outdoor seating options including cafe tables, chaise lounges, hammocks, and even vintage metal chairs right on the dock... no, you're not dreaming.
Madison's lakeside lounging quotient went way up with the introduction of Brittingham Boats last summer. This summer, the cafe/boat rental concession at the long-underused Brittingham beach house, 701 W. Brittingham Place, is back, with Wi-Fi, French press coffee, iced coffee, a breakfast sandwich, and a small menu of specialty grilled cheese sandwiches.
These include a classic, with American and Cheddar; the namesake Brittingham, with provolone, Swiss, red onions, bacon and slices of Granny Smith apples; and the Olin, with cheddar, pepper jack, tomatoes, pesto, and more Granny Smith. You might also run into a daily special like a panini-style BLT that comes with plenty of bacon. Ice cream and other snacks are also on hand.
Owners Tyler Leeper and Stephan Reinke renovated the city-owned building last summer. In addition to being a great place to sit and stare at the lake, Brittingham Boats hosts yoga classes and movie nights and other events as well as renting canoes, kayaks, paddle boats, stand-up paddle boards and dog-friendly stand-up paddle boards.
Hours are 6:30 a.m.-8 p.m. daily -- the kitchen may shut down about fifteen minutes before close, and the last boat rental is at 7 p.m. More info is available via the menu or call 608-250-2555.