Restaurateurs Tom and Julie Kuhn, owners of Madison’s Café, know a restaurant’s longevity depends on good food, great service and variety. The winning trifecta has allowed Madison Café to flourish for 23 years.
“We opened here in 1997. Before that we were off Hwy. 94 for 18 years,” Kuhn said. “We have items you aren’t going to see anywhere else.”
Two of those items – Clam Bisque and Seafood Bisque – are truly unique, especially the Seafood Bisque. “It’s made with a creamy red (tomato) base and filled with baby shrimp, scallops and Norwegian cod. It’s super flavorful,” Kuhn said.
Both bisques are made fresh daily along with a chef’s choice soup, which on Thursdays during the winter months is always Ham and Beans. Pair any soup with a house or combination salad tossed with Madison’s signature creamy Italian dressing. Madison’s Café’s dressing recipe has evolved over the past 35 years and become a hit with customers who order it to carry home.
“Our dressing is our signature item. We couldn’t survive without it. I think it’s the most popular item in the building,” Kuhn said.
While the salad dressing and soups are favorites, Madison’s’ menu is an overall standout delivering what many restaurateurs promise but few deliver – something for everyone. Beginning with imaginative appetizers such as Shrimp Katherine, hearty jumbo shrimp sauced with a garlic cream. On the more traditional side, Madison’s has classic Toasted Ravioli, Chicken Wings and hand-breaded Zucchini Sticks. Those classics are featured during Madison’s’ Happy Hour, Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. to closing.
“If we’re open, it’s happy hour,” Kuhn said.
Pasta lovers can indulge in 30-plus pastas, including originals such as Chicken Bruschetta Pasta and Pasta Sydney. The latter is a lighter pasta featuring fresh asparagus, chicken and Parmesan tossed with olive oil, white wine and garlic butter. Pastas are served with a house salad, as are the entrees, which also include a side of cavatelli.
Chicken, veal, seafood and beef are counted among the dinner specials. A top chicken pick is Chicken Oreganato, a lightly breaded and sautéed chicken breast garnished with mushrooms and green peppers and topped with a red wine sauce. Craving beef but looking for something a little different? Try Beef Vernaise, a filet and shrimp combo that is a different take on surf and turf. It starts with filet mignon alongside gulf shrimp served in a white wine, lemon and butter sauce then finished with a draping of provel cheese and a side of broccoli.
“I personally hand cut all our steaks and our 8-ounce burgers are all hand-pattied and charbroiled just like our steaks. Charbroiling has an unmistakable flavor that’s wonderful,” Kuhn said.
Customers are encourage to order those charbroiled burgers and steaks anyway you want, even burnt, which brings one to the story of the Burnt Sandwich. One night a customer returned a filet to the kitchen as “burnt.” According to Kuhn, the chef asked if he could keep it to use for his supper. The chef took the “burnt” filet, butterflied and grilled it; then, he topped it with sauteed mushrooms, onions and provel cheese. The Burnt Sandwich was born. Try it medium-rare.
Stop by any evening for great food and happy hours.
|2974 Hwy. K · O’Fallon · (636) 978-7355 · madisonsofallon.com |
Hours: 4-8 p.m., Monday-Thursday; 4-9 p.m., Fridays; noon-9 p.m., Saturdays; closed on Sundays