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Madison’s Café: Where great food and good conversation meet

Homemade soup is a favorite menu item at Madison’s Café as the days get cooler.

Homemade soup is a favorite menu item at Madison’s Café as the days get cooler.

Founding father James Madison and his wife, Dolly, knew good food and conversation made great memories. Tom and Julie Kuhn understand those same principles of entertaining and put them into play at Madison’s Café, where the atmosphere and food fosters good times and good conversation.’

“We do say don’t be afraid to discuss politics and religion over a good meal,” Julie said, smiling. She explained how Dolly Madison knew that no matter how touchy the subject of conversation, a good dinner made the gathering a success.

“Madison’s Café began in Jefferson City almost 31 years ago and was named in honor of President Madison and its location on Madison Street,” Julie said. “We’re no longer part of the Jefferson City operation and have been at this location (Hwy. K at N) off the Page extension for 18 years. We’ve been blessed with great clientele and have found many friendships.

“We’ve been part of many of our customers’ life events – wedding showers, baby showers, rehearsal dinners, birthday celebrations – occasions now celebrated outside of the home that they come here to enjoy. It’s a win-win since we can do all the preparation and the cleanup. We can even arrange for linens and fresh flowers. It’s an out-of-home experience that seems like home.”

Madison’s Café’s comfortable in-house parties and off-site catering reflects its service and a menu that accents a variety of family specialties and classic recipes.

Developed exclusively by Madison’s Café chefs, its menu features favorites such as the Burnt Sandwich, a big seller that was the result of a dissatisfied customer who sent his steak back to the kitchen.

“The Burnt Sandwich was a mistake that happened in Jefferson City. When a steak was sent back one of the cooks asked if he could play around with it. He topped the tenderloin with sautéed mushrooms, onions and provel cheese. Everyone went crazy over it. It went on the menu as a special then became part of the regular menu.”

Pair the Burnt Sandwich with the Combination Salad, Madison’s Café take on the Italian salad mix of iceberg, red onions, provel, tomato, black olive and pepperoncini tossed with their own creamy Italian dressing. It’s a natural accompaniment for any of the 29 different pasta preparations on the menu.

“We’re known for our pastas,” said Julie, naming Pasta with Broccoli and Baked Mostaccioli as top sellers. “We also serve up a dynamite Tortellini in-house along with Rigatoni Carbonara and Baked Chicken Carbonara.”

Pasta lovers wanting to lessen the calorie load can celebrate. Madison’s “Lite Fare” pasta selections are tossed with lighter sauces or virgin olive oil with fresh herbs. Pasta Sidney, linguine with fresh asparagus and chicken tossed with a virgin olive oil, white wine, parmigiano and a hint of garlic butter has been a hit since its menu debut.

Rounding out the menu are dinner entrée specials featuring beef, veal, chicken and seafood in addition to appetizers, desserts and soups, which include the unusual Clam Bisque. During cooler months look for more specialty soups to appear, including Ham and Bean Soup with Deer Camp Cornbread.

“It’s a recipe from Tom’s late mother, Beatrice, which is featured on Thursdays through the winter. It’s made with real salt pork just the way Beatrice made it.”

Such family and house recipes contribute to the overall dining experience at Madison’s Café – an experience the Kuhns worked hard to create.

Madison’s Café 2974 Hwy. K • O’Fallon (636) 978-7355 11 a.m.- 9 p.m., Monday-Friday Noon-9 p.m., Saturday and Sunday www.madisonsofallon.com
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