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Tuesday, January 27, 2015 |  Madison, WI: 25.0° F  Fog/Mist
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Craig and Chad Boyer
The Village Green

Credit:Susan Kepecs

Occupation: Owners. "We do everything."

Where: The Village Green, 7508 Hubbard Ave., Middleton

Why you should go: For the comfort of knowing that in increasingly cosmo downtown Middleton, there's still a Cheers-like place where you can get a piping-hot bowl of chili con carne, there's Capital Brewery suds on tap, and everybody knows your name.

Does your name come from the pickle-green exterior paint on this place?

Craig: We do have a logo, a cross-eyed face on a cross-section of a whole dill. It comes from our dad,
who still owns this place with us. Years ago he ran a restaurant with a Pickle Pete trademark. Around here Pete comes and goes. He's like a ghost. Sometimes he's our logo. He's been on our T-shirts, but right now he's not.

Chad: But the name Village Green goes way back to the days when family and friends used to get together in little town squares. There's no old-fashioned park right here, but this is the heart of Middleton. Our place used to be a four-lane bowling alley - that's why it's so long and skinny. My dad bought the place in '76. It was a little rundown bar. The lanes were still here, and there was no kitchen. Little by little he developed it, starting with burgers and brats. He didn't even have a deep fryer for a long time.

Craig: I was 5 and Chad was 8 when our dad bought the place. We were in middle school when we started working here. Dad called us bus boys. He's semi-retired now, but Mom still works here. We're a real mom-and-pop place. We're a dying breed.

Okay, I'll bite - what's in a road kill burrito?

Chad: Ha - it tastes like chicken. It's wrapped in a burrito so you can't see it. It's very popular and tasty. It's got sour cream, lettuce, cheese and super-secret seasonings. It's a collaboration that's developed over the years. It changes a little from week to week.

What's your culinary philosophy?

Chad: We've been making the same chili since the start. We learned Dad's recipe when we were young, and we've made it his way ever since. We're also known for our bacon cheeseburgers and corned beef Reubens. We're venturing into gourmet salads. We're doing one with pepper-crusted steak, and we've got Asian and Cajun chicken salads. It's our latest attempt at driving ourselves nuts, but they're really very good.

Craig: We don't do anything "cheffy" - we're just two damn good cooks. You have to see us in action. We've been doing it for a long time - we both have over 20 years of experience in that kitchen. We don't try to be anything we're not. That's why we've been around such a long time. It's nothin' fancy, it's all just good.

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