Why you should go: This classic spot should never be too far below your radar.
What was this place before Jane Capito took over? I didn't grow up in Madison, but I know this was Mother's Pub for a while. When I came to town in 2001 it was already Lazy Jane's. I fell in love with it. I said "I'm a cook, hire me." I always look for small, eclectic places and bug the owner till I get a job. Janie hired me to cook, and I worked my way up. I have a lot of responsibility now - it makes it easier for her to get away. I feel like this is my place too. I love it, it's a huge part of my life.
How'd you become a cook? When I was still in high school I had a couple of buddies who got me a job in a restaurant kitchen in Eau Claire. I never knew I liked food so much till all of a sudden it hit me, wow, food! Cooking was easy for me. It's fast-paced, and a lot of times I've been the only girl in the kitchen. This is my first kitchen with a heavy female staff, which is great. When I got out of high school I went out west. I've been all over the place and I've always been able to get a cooking job. I'd find a funky place on the road when I needed cash and say, hire me, I'm your man.
I worked a place in South Dakota, Sanford's Grub n' Pub. Our big season was the Sturgis motorcycle rally, and it was insane. I was 19. I worked crazy hours with rough-and-tumble characters. It was a wild time out in the Black Hills. Another time I was just traveling and ended up in Las Cruces, New Mexico, at the Golden Bull. The owner was a big, bald dude, crazy as a loon, singin' all the time. I kept pushing him to give me a job, and he finally did.
I'm 30 now, I've got a 3-year-old daughter, Valentine, and I'm pretty much settled in. I've learned so much from Jane. She taught me a lot about the restaurant business and about myself. She taught me how to be wrong. It opened my mind. It's made me happier.
Can you be lazy and still bake like crazy? Not me! I can cook anything, anywhere, but I can barely follow the recipe off a Toll House cookie bag. We have some extremely talented bakers. They get here real early, or late, depending on your perspective. The scones are these lovely things - you come in in the morning and there's this glorified wall of bakery stuff. Janie still loves to bake. She's thrilled to death when she has a good baking day, especially when she does croissants. She doesn't do it as often as she used to, but she'll fill in when someone needs time off.
Your favorite treat? Let me think - I love, love, love our Reuben. It's made of really wonderful stuff, on thick slices of seeded sourdough rye, with our own Thousand Island dressing, mmmm, delicious.
Got a great story?We get a lot of bands that come through town. You can spot 'em right away - they have a look, road-torn and weary. Once Jared Leto stopped in, you know, the actor and musician from the band 30 Seconds to Mars. I recognized him right away. There's this group of girls behind him, their faces were lit up like "oh my god." I tried to be cool as a cucumber, I didn't say anything. The band wanted breakfast. It was way, way late, but we made 'em breakfast. When they left, the groupie girls all screamed. It was funny and fun. I'm so thrilled to be here. I hope this place keeps rockin.'