I never hung at the neighborhood tavern they owned (and for which Rick Richards never forgave them for closing) that became Antonio's, but was impressed with their courage to close a tavern and go into the restaurant business. And liked the food although it was a tad dark.
I was further impressed when I realized it was the same family that opened Cafe Continental when King Street was still mistakenly known for hooker bars and strip joints (and the legislators who hung there). The Fess Hotel and Botticelli's were exceptions that didn't survive after years of struggle in that market. I loved their brunch after Farmer's Market and was disappointed the seasons when they didn't serve brunch on Saturdays.
I again admired their courage when they tried with the Majestic. This couple has done a lot for the Madison food scene and we're going to miss them. There's nothing like having Rose Marie greet you at the door and be in complete command of the chaos that a busy restaurant can be. I remember an incident last summer where she was opening a bottle at the bar with her teeth, looked up with that huge smile and said "I shouldn't be doing that, my teeth cost more than a car!"
It seems like it's becoming a regular ritual to have one last meal at one of Madison's iconic, better restaurants. Peppino's, the original L'Etoile and now Cafe Continental, all in ten months.