try the fried cheese curds.

in wisconsin, there is nothing more essential than madison and fried cheese. here is the best of both.

cheese has been produced in wisconsin since 1840, and now, the dairyland exports over two billion pounds of cheese each year. that’s almost 350 pounds of cheese for each person living in wisconsin. five establishments, all with spectacular views of wisconsin’s state capitol building, serve up some of madison's best fried cheese curds. so try one, or try them all. You will know exactly why wisconsinites are so proud of their cheese.

curd girl

these battered cheese curds are so delicious, they have an entire food cart devoted to them. large curds of cheese are hand-battered in a light, crunchy batter and served up hot and fresh. several sauce options switched out each week make it fun to return and try them all. the colorful, retro cart is easy to spot in the crowds at the dane county farmer’s market.

the old fashioned

the cheese curds at the old fashioned are arguably the most beloved in all of madison. each basket contains dozens of tiny cheese curds with a tasty beer-batter. although i find them overrated, the cheese curds are quite good and well worth getting before your meal. the old fashioned is a terrific atmosphere for almost any group.

graze

the cheese curds at graze were the first cheese curds i fell in love with in madison. the thick batter and the squeaky cheese are a match made in heaven. what they lack in sauce options, they make up for in taste. the fresh, rich flavors that make graze one of the best restaurants in madison are on full display in their cheese curds.

tipsy cow

spotted cow, from the new glarus brewery located near madison, is considered a staple wisconsin beer. the tipsy cow beer batter is made with spotted cow and small curds of cheese. they are a terrific pair with the famous burgers and sandwiches and the goat cheese option is well worth the extra money.

merchant

merchant is known for having terrific cocktails, and they don’t disappoint. so whether you head there for happy hour, dinner, or a late-night dj set, their tasty cheese curds are a good choice. they even offer a buffalo cheese curd option, doused in a buffalo sauce, for an extra kick. this is one of the few restaurants in madison that takes reservations, which makes it ideal for large groups.

curd girl

hand-battered, wisconsin fried cheese curds

CONTACT. curdgirl@gmail.com

PRICE. $6.00

LOCATION. capitol square (during the dane county farmer's market) and at other pop-up locations

come for the cheese curds, stay for... the terrific sauce options!

the old fashioned

no. 13: house-made fresh wisconsin beer battered cheese curds

CONTACT. (608) 310-4545

PRICE. $7.00

ATMOSPHERE. casual

LOCATION. 23 north pickney street

RESERVATIONS? not accepted

come for the cheese curds, stay for... the old fashioneds, of course!

graze

fried cesar's cheese curds with vodka batter

CONTACT. (608) 251-2700

PRICE. $9.00

ATMOSPHERE. trendy

LOCATION. 1 south pickney street

RESERVATIONS? not accepted

come for the cheese curds, stay for... the local, farm-fresh food!

tipsy cow

spotted cow battered cheese curds

CONTACT. (608) 287-1455

PRICE. $7.00

ATMOSPHERE. casual

LOCATION. 102 king street

RESERVATIONS? not accepted

come for the cheese curds, stay for... the burgers and sandwiches!

merchant

fried local cheese curds

CONTACT. (608) 259-9799

PRICE. $8.00

ATMOSPHERE. hipster

LOCATION. 121 south pickney street

RESERVATIONS? accepted

come for the cheese curds, stay for... the top-notch craft cocktails!