By Morgan Dorfman
Let’s face it, living in Madison, Wis., while being in college can be a tease. The city offers the opportunity to try many different, amazingly delicious restaurants and bars, but it can be difficult to afford them all.
A little trick that many college students might not know is that a great way to eat and drink while out with friends is to order off the kid’s menu (something that I am completely notorious for). It might seem a little silly asking for a kid’s menu while ordering an alcoholic, adult drink, but it is a great way to have a little bit of yummy food while cutting cost.
Here are a few popular restaurants in Madison that offer some great options for kid’s meals and adult drinks:
The Coopers Tavern
Located on the Capitol Square, this tavern is known as a pub that serves quality food. Their kid’s menu is $4.95, which includes sides of a fruit cup, baby carrots and two percent milk. For entree, you have the option of choosing between chicken skewers, mac n’ cheese (such a classic), a wee cheeseburger or a grilled cheese. This is such a deal and it’s also nice to know that you are getting food that is fresh and locally sourced. As far as drinks go, The Coopers Tavern does not have drink specials, but they do have a great selection of drinks and beers that they rotate through their bar. Although the restaurants and bars near the Capitol cater fresh foods from around the area, they tend to be a little pricey. Reduce how much you spend by ordering a kid’s meal and treat yourself to a specialty drink.
Located near campus, the Nitty is known as the official birthday place. At the kid’s table, a meal is only $5.50 and includes a side choice of fries, applesauce, steamed veggies or mandarin oranges. All meals also include carrots, a dill spear, milk or a soft drink and the world’s smallest, chocolate sundae. You’ll find the classic childhood foods on their menu of grilled cheese, chicken strips, hot dogs and mini corn dogs. And if you want a smaller portion of breakfast foods on Saturday or Sunday, the Nitty offers a kid’s brunch for $5.99. The Nitty has drink specials from 9 p.m. to close every night of the week and also has power hour every night of the week, starting at 10 p.m. When you need to spend money on buying your friend a drink on their 21st, try ordering a kid’s meal and a drink that is on special for yourself, for a cheaper night out.
This relatively new restaurant is located at Hilldale Mall and is known for their biers. On their kid’s menu, they offer entrees for $5.95, a brunch for $4.95 and a “blunch” for $5.95. For the kid’s entrees, they offer meals like turkey burgers, BBQ boar sandwiches, meatloaf with mashed potatoes and gravy, pasta, burgers and chicken tenders. All entrees are served with fresh fruit and veggies with dip and you are allowed to substitute the frites that come with some of the meals for a small salad at no charge. The brunch is offered all week long at specific times and allows you to choose from waffles, pancakes, French toast or the Americana, which includes eggs, toast, potatoes and the choice of bacon, sausage or ham. The “blunch” is offered on the weekends and consists of some of the items on the entree menu. Similarly to Coopers Tavern, Cafe Hollander does not offer drink specials but they do have the selection of 38 draft beers and 400 bottled beers.
Next time you get invited out to dinner and drinks with friends, don’t worry about having to choose between food and drinks. Have both by ordering off the kid’s menu.