Pay closer attention to the food scene in Fitchburg and you’ll discover a deliciously diverse collection of restaurants. Depending on what mood you’re in, what time of day it is, and what kind of experience you’re looking for, there’s a spot in Fitchburg that’s just right.
European Baked Goods and Specialty Cakes
For many of us, the term “spotted cow” brings to mind a favorite beer, but Rolling Pin Bakery offers an even better excuse to get your carbs: Spotted Cow cakes. An original flavor since they opened in December 2002, the cakes pay homage to Wisconsin on the inside--with an abundance of dairy in the rich buttercream and moist vanilla and chocolate cake layers--and on the outside--resembling the state’s favorite farm animal with chocolate ganache cow spots.
A sweet white chocolate raspberry mousse cake also hits the spot, with decadent raspberry mousse and raspberry puree layered between vanilla cake, covered in white chocolate mousse frosting and white chocolate curls that both crunch and melt in your mouth.
Co-owners Tanya Laiter and Bill McKlight share a love of creating and both hold art degrees. “We decided to start making edible art, doing trendy creations for customers,” says Laiter.
The rotating selection of cakes available daily are a work of art and flavor. The Rolling Pin Bakeshop has become the Fitchburg/Madison area favorite for beautiful wedding, birthday, and all celebrations that are marked with joyous pastry.
Rolling Pin also has a wide variety of sweets including cookies, donuts, breads, and pies. They also offer a cozy cafe setting where you can enjoy your sweet treat, or stay for breakfast or lunch. A homemade Belgian waffle topped with fresh fruit and whipped cream or the Quiche du Jour are just a couple of breakfast options and the lunch menu offers several different sandwiches like Bill’s Italian, Cuban press, and a New Orleans-style muffaletta. When you have a taste for home cooked goodness and baked goods that hail from another time and place check out the Rolling Pin Bakeshop.
BBQ and Beer
Although Dane County can’t tout as many barbecue joints as Texas or Kansas City, we certainly have a number of places that are doing it right. The Thirsty Goat is Fitchburg’s latest rising star in the barbecue department.
Owner Dave Schutz and general manager Caroline Clanton ran The Dry Bean (also in Fitchburg) for 14 years before it closed, so their restaurant experience is respectable. With a smokehouse and broaster fryer on site, The Thirsty Goat offers a range of meats by the pound, as well as barbecue specialties. “Everything’s homemade,” says Clanton. “The smokehouse is the big thing.”
Pulled pork, brisket, chicken, duck breast, homemade sausage, and baby back ribs are all smoked to perfection in the smokehouse. Don’t skip the brisket, which is tender, juicy, flavorful--all the things you want to experience when you eat brisket. This smokehouse favorite is also featured in The Thirsty Goat’s chili, nachos, tacos, sliders and a sandwich.
The atmosphere at The Thirsty Goat is also notable. Set up on a hill, the building overlooks a pond and green-space which diners can gaze out at from large windows. In warmer weather, the outside deck is the place to take it all in. With local beer on tap and live music on many of the weekends, The Thirsty Goat satisfies the need for a good ‘ole night out.
Friday Fish Fry (We are in Wisconsin, after all…
Locals know Quivey’s Grove as an establishment for Friday fish fry, and it’s evident in the fact that, every Friday, the bar area is filled to capacity with hungry diners awaiting their turn to sit in the cozy restaurant space and indulge.
You cannot go wrong with the beer-battered fish fry, tender pieces of cod enveloped in a crispy, flavorful breading, accompanied with homemade tartar sauce. For your side, choose the parmesan potato. This delightful square of potato casserole is creamy on the inside, with a crunchy layer of parmesan cheese on top.
The restaurant atmosphere definitely adds to the experience, whether you choose the intimate Stone House or the cozy Stable Grill. Both buildings date back to the mid-1800s, when they actually functioned as a stable and a mansion. The hardwood floors, brick walls, and charming layout will transport you to another time, when life moved at a slower pace and conversation actually happened at the dinner table.
If you can’t wait for Friday night, Quivey’s Grove also serves their famous fish fry on Wednesdays and during Friday lunch service.
Sopes, Tacos and Tostadas
For many of us, Mexican cuisine has become a staple of comfort food that’s always dependable, delicious, fast, and filling. The most recent addition to Fitchburg’s food scene, Tapatios, is no exception.
Owners Leticia and Daniel Hernandez started the Cali Fresh cart in 2015 and they launched their sit-down restaurant, Tapatios in 2018. With a comfortable atmosphere and additional menu items representative of Daniel’s native Guadalajara, the capital and largest city in Jalisco, Mexico.
"We think we are really authentic with Jalisco, and we want to be able to offer that," says Daniel. "We truly do it with our hearts."
Choose from sizzling fajitas, char-grilled carne asada, a variety of enchilada styles, or many different varieties of tacos. For a real treat, order the sopes. A crisp, fluffy, handmade cornmeal shell comes topped with your choice of meat (the pastor--slow-cooked, flavorful shredded pork--is a good option), refried pinto beans, cilantro, onions, queso fresco and sour cream. Wash it down with an horchata, an authentic beverage consisting of rice, milk, vanilla, and cinnamon, and you might think you’ve been transported to Mexico.
Curry And Noodles
Curry in the Box is a great spot to discover the flavors of Thailand. With two locations, we feel lucky to have the Fitchburg location since 2006. “Curry in the Box is a Thai fast casual restaurant which makes us unique,” says owner Anne Santipiromkul. “We offer a high quality traditional curry meal with great value.”
Every meal is prepared with heart and soul. The restaurant was conceived in honor of Anne’s mother-in-law, who developed many of the dishes and enjoyed prepping food daily before
returning to Thailand. Anne’s mother, Wilai Pratoomtong, manages the Fitchburg location and loves getting to know her customers; she knows many of them by name.
Traditional favorites like pad Thai, tom kha soup, and cashew chicken are on the menu, but to truly experience the highlights of the kitchen, make sure to sample one of their signature curry dishes. You can choose from classics like chicken tikka masala and squash curry to more inventive dishes like Japanese pan curry and envy green curry. The panang curry is a delight, with tender pieces of chicken, large cubes of butternut squash, a slightly-spicy, slightly-sweet yellow peanut sauce, and generous amounts of carrot and broccoli. The portions are perfect, leaving you satisfied, but not overly full. Curry in the Box is a most perfect place to warm you up on a winter day.