By Corinne Burgermeister, Lifestyle Editor
Born in Milwaukee, Fat Tuesday has always meant one thing for me: paczkis (poonch-kis). Each year my mom wakes us up with a box of fresh doughnuts for breakfast to start our day. Aside from eating a sugary meal, that is usually the extent of my celebration of Mardi Gras. But, since living in Madison I’ve realized I was missing out on a lot of NOLA culture (read: food and drink) that can make the day more enjoyable. For many, the variety of establishments make Madison, Wis. the next best thing to actually being on Bourbon St. Okay, while that may not be true, Madison is still a great place to celebrate almost any occasion, and Mardi Gras is no different. Although many held celebrations over the past weekend, there are a handful of places going all out for Fat Tuesday. Here are our top picks that will give you your own taste of down south.
New Orleans Take-Out | 1517 Monroe St.
With the slogan “Eat Mo’ Bettah!” this New Orleans style restaurant is the go-to place for a quick, and affordable Cajun and creole food to go. Meals are offered in two portion sizes, which is ideal for those looking to try new food and those who want to order a few items. Their menu features a variety po’ boy sandwiches and tons of fried food, perfect for Fat Tuesday. Tuesday’s special, the jambalaya of the day promises to be peppery, not hot and is a favorite among newbies to this style of food. View the full menu here.
The Bayou | 117 s. Butler St.
Known as downtown Madison’s New Orleans style tavern, the Bayou opens at 11 a.m. and continues their special Fat Tuesday menu through the evening. Stop in for their “quick lunch,” featuring soups, salads, po’ boy sandwiches and other favorites like jambalaya, creole and gumbo. The Bayou also offers half price taps, wine, rails and domestics during their happy hour from 4-7 pm. Try their voodoo juice or signature NOLA cola as you enjoy the sounds of live New Orleans style music late into the night. View the full menu here .
Whiskey Jack’s Saloon | 552 State St.
While Whiskey Jack’s isn’t traditionally known for their New Orleans flair, their third annual Fat Tuesday bash is not something to miss. Starting at 9 pm, Whiskey Jack’s will feature $2 tallboys, $3 Soco Hurricanes and $4 Crown Royal, Devils Cut and Jameson drinks, in addition to handing out tons of beads. Spend your night dancing near the stage or … sumo wrestling. No matter what you choose to do, this will be a party to remember.
And as always, Diego’s, Madhatter’s and Wando’s will hold their regular Tuesday night specials, ensuring that no matter where you go, there will be plenty of good deals and great fun. Let us know in the comments what your plans are!