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June 2012 food news: Nettie's Cafe, Karben4 Brewing, Buck and Badger
Breakfast at the cafe, picnic on the farm

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Nettie's Cafe is now open at 1325 Greenway Cross (608-819-6606,, in a completely revamped space formerly occupied by Taquería Marimar. Nettie's is open Monday-Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., but focuses on a breakfast- and lunch-style menu. Even so, it's less diner than contemporary coffeeshop, emphasizing fresh and nutritious, though not entirely without carb-comfort.

The small menu changes every three or four days; check the website to see what's on offer. A recent day's picks included biscuits and homemade sausage gravy, strawberry or pecan waffles, and four sandwiches: roast beef with cheese and mustard aioli; a chevre grilled cheese; hummus on pita; and a hot ham and cheese.

As the new headquarters for Ale Asylum gets to look more like a completed building (from the outside), plans are coming together for a new brewpub to occupy its original digs at 3698 Kinsman Blvd. Karben4 Brewing has filed documents with the city to establish a brewing/taproom operation similar to what Ale Asylum has. The trio behind Karben4 are Alex Evans and Zak Koga, both of Madison, and the brewmaster Ryan Koga, currently of Yellowstone Valley Brewing in Billings, Mont.

Zak Koga says that Karben4's lease starts Oct. 1, and they are targeting that date to have permits in place. If all goes according to plan, that's when brewing would start; actually being open as a pub would come a little later. As for whether they'll shoot for a full lineup of brews or just a couple, to start, that's still up in the air, says Koga. The plan is for simple food, as there is no onsite kitchen. They will also serve coffee, targeting the nearby student population at Madison College's Truax campus.

"The Buck and Badger Northwoods Lodge" will be the new restaurant at 115 State St. (formerly Ian's, now at 100 State). Applications with the city describe a family-friendly restaurant serving lunch and dinner - casual fare in a cabin-like interior including a "large stone fireplace." Items from the sample menu include Norwegian meatballs, walleye sandwich, fish boil and booyah, a chicken-and-beef stew. Owner/managers Jonathan and Julie Sosnowski also operate the Ivory Room and the Capital Tap Haus in the same block.

Chef Dan Fox, whose interest in heritage pork is obvious from his two over-the-top SlowPig events (one in Madison last fall and one in Milwaukee last spring), will be slow-cooking a pig at Cress Springs, Jeff Ford's bakery outside of Blue Mounds, in Ford's renowned brick oven. "Picnic on the Farm" is an Edible Madison event to benefit the REAP Food Group, June 24 at 4:30 p.m. at the Cress Springs Farm. More info at REAP would also like to see you at its "Day on the Farm" event at the Crossroads Community Farm outside of Cross Plains on July 15 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Learn about sustainable farming and enjoy a picnic made by local chefs. More info: or 608-310-7832.

"Summer Indulgence," a week of food events from Vom Fass, 3248 University Ave., kicks off June 17 with mobile wood-fired oven La Fortuna Pizza on hand to make pies ($8). On June 19, there's barbecue at lunch and dinner (pulled pork sliders, buckwheat gouda vegetarian burgers, grilled vegetables and more sides ($8). Cupcakes and ice cream on June 20 is followed by "Mad City Mix-Off" (at the Madison Club) on June 21; this is a ticketed event ($35 for drinks and appetizers). June 22 it's a Scotch whiskey tutorial and June 23 is a wine, cheese and chocolate pairing (ticketed event, $25). Full schedule at

Batch Bakehouse has resumed its regular business hours after having been smashed into by a car last week.

A recent Food News item stated incorrect hours for Banzo's food service at the East Side Club on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It is serving from 5 to 8 p.m.

[Ed. note: The story has been corrected to reflect the days Nettie's Cafe is open.]

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